Top Tip #7

Tip: Don’t stress or ruin your relationships: instead, get along with people by training yourself in the life skill of SOCIAL INTELLIGENCE.

LEVEL 1 – The technique

You have two categories of relationships to think about: inter-personal with people in your life and intra-personal refers to the relationship you have with yourself. There are many aspects to the life skill of social intelligence. One important aspect is to get along with people as best you can, including your self, by giving pleasure and avoid giving pain.

LEVEL 2 – The training tool template

Make a chart with three vertical columns. Label the left hand column as Persons in my Life, the middle column as Pleasures I give them, and the right hand column as Pain I give. Give it a lot of honest thought that you might not ordinarily think about. One example might be things you do often in your relationships that may not be that bad, but that others get sick and tired of, or fed up with, even if they don’t say so.

There may be pleasures you give you don’t see that way. Keep the chart and try to shift the pains you give out to pleasures.

LEVEL 3 – Try a trial test and see what happens

Consider applying this life skill to a relationship that is going well, and to another that is not, and see what happens. Also, try it in the relationship you are having with your self.

LEVEL 4 – The target

The target, if you wish, is to do your best to get along with everyone as best you can, including your self, in order to do better in your life with the people in it.

LEVEL 5 – Typical cases in point

Many of my patients struggle with stress stemming from conflicts in which they are engaged in their interpersonal and intrapersonal relationships. From the point of view of stress management, my longitudinal observation over years is that conflict, regardless of the reason, is painful and harmful for everyone involved, especially in the long run, winners and losers all included. The option of switching from trying to apply unwelcome force on others to trying to get along by giving pleasure and avoiding giving pain is always worth serious consideration.

LEVEL 6 – The theory

Consider the question: what is the point of any and all of your relationships? If you think about it, you may come to realize that the best point would be to get along together in order for us all to get through life in the best way possible. On the other hand, it is best if the point is not for you to be right or better, to engage in control and power issues, to try to fix or change each other, to fight, to use or abuse, and so on, which you can see in so many relationships.

In reality, not everyone will like you and you won’t like everyone either. It is all too easy to engage in conflict with people you don’t like, especially if you think you will win. Another option, which I think is better, is to try to avoid conflict and try to get along as much as possible.

If getting along is the point, then giving pleasure and avoiding giving pain is the way to go. Further, if it becomes reciprocal, the relationship is likely to be beneficial to all and endure well through time.

By nature, in the base of things, people, including yourself, tend to seek pleasure and avoid pain. I think it is a primitive survival instinct. Therefore, if you give pain to people, they likely will not like the pain or you and this often sets up a vicious cycle of conflict by exchanging escalating amounts of pain and hurt in the form of revenge, getting even, give back (what pain others dish out and more on top), payback and so on. On the other hand, if you give pleasure to people, they will more likely tend to like the pleasure and you. Although it seems superficial, it appears that this is what people want in relationships, more than other things you might think, like being told “the truth,” or how you really feel, or constructive criticisms, all of which can be experienced by them as pain. Sometimes after a long and good relationship, being offensive just once, can damage or even ruin it. You might metaphorically win a battle or have the pleasure of getting things off your chest, and lose the relationship. Like many things, including order itself, good relationships are fragile: hard to make and easy to break.

It is usually not that difficult to figure out what is a pleasure or pain to people. Almost everyone, including you, would like others to be cheerful, strong, complimentary, generous, helpful, considerate, entertaining, and cooperative, all of which makes people a pleasure and attractive to be with. Giving pleasure in a personal way such as a gift of baking you have made yourself often works well.

You can figure out what people would tend to dislike as pain from you: all forms of hurt, criticism, greed, demands, contempt, bragging, negativity, irritability, helplessness, conflict, competitiveness, aggressiveness, threats, withdrawal, silence, passive- aggressiveness, complaints and complaining, making people feel used and abused or neglected, unappreciated, and so on.

In a way, it’s simple: if you want to be loved, be loveable, and relate to people who are loveable and also have the capacity to love. Even this approach may not always work the way you would like (which would be a pleasure if it works, a pain if it doesn’t), but I think you will find it works better than anything else in most relationships. The same principles apply to having a good relationship with your self.

In general it seems to work in your own best interest to give pleasure and avoid giving pain. There are too many people on earth to think that you can get away with being aggressive without reprisal that will likely exceed your aggressiveness. At the same time, as a check and balance, you should be assertive about not allowing abuse from others (life skill #3).

LEVEL 7 – Try more tests and trials

You can try this life skill with everyone, even people you don’t like and/or they don’t seem to like you. Getting along with everyone as best you can by always giving pleasure and never giving pain no matter what, is a good strategy for your relationships.

LEVEL 8 – Tracking your progress

Remember, all you can control is yourself. In this life skill, you independently and consistently give pleasure and avoid giving pain no matter what other people do. The progress I recommend you track is your own skilled behavior, not how people react or behave. Theoretically, as your skill improves, so should your relationships, especially if you are dealing with reasonable people. A progress measurement you can track is the pleasure / pain ratio you transmit to any given person or people in general.

LEVEL 9 – Take off

Use this life skill to launch yourself away from the problems it can help you solve or resolve and to go on to a better way of living in which you can feel good and function well. Make an extensive list of the specific problems and issues this life skill empowers you to rise above and leave behind. Visualize yourself doing so.

LEVEL 10 – Texts for this topic

I have not yet written any book specifically on this subject. The books I have written so far are indirectly applicable.

Please note: Books are not available at this time.