The ones we love are the closest to us; they see us at our best, our worst and everywhere in between. Relationships can be complicated and, at times, can bring stress into our lives, whether it’s your BFF or BF. When tempers flare, or you reach a roadblock with someone you care about, take a deep breath and follow these 10 steps. Remember: they’re worth it!
1 Define the problem
The best place to start is at the very beginning, so dig deep to find the root of your stress. Knowing where it begins is always the key to knowing how to end it. If you can pinpoint an event, a feeling or a moment when the stress started to build, you will be able to isolate that incident from your overall icky feeling.
2 Open up
Sometimes it seems easier to avoid the problem or the person causing you stress. Although it may be awkward, there is no way you can put your stress in the past without talking it out. Set a specific time to chat, and make sure that both of your sides are heard and respected. It can help to write down your issues ahead of time to ensure you stay on track.
3 Focus on the positive
Stress can paint everything with a negative brush. Take a few moments to sit quietly and list your loved one’s good qualities, as well as the positive things they bring to your life. This will remind you why they are by your side to begin with and refocus your energy toward healing and reconciliation.
4 Get a second opinion
The building stress inside of you can make it hard to see the big picture. Expressing your feelings to a trusted yet neutral person like a parent or another friend will help you see beyond your emotions and attack the issue from another perspective.
5 Get back to basics
Take a break from a stressful situation with your friend, girlfriend or boyfriend and do something together that reminds you of a better time: hit up your favourite restaurant, share an activity you both love or watch the first movie you ever saw together. Bonding over a pleasant past experience may be all you need to melt the stress away.
6 Take some time apart
Not avoiding the problem, but accepting that a cooling-off period might be necessary could do wonders for a stressedout relationship. Like they say, absence makes the heart grow fonder! But if life seems enormously more relaxed, normal or happy without them in your life, it could be time to re-evaluate if this is a relationship worth having.
7 Don’t shut them out
Make sure that you are constantly communicating, even if it is to say that you need a break. Knowing where you stand with each other can alleviate stress on both sides, giving your relationship the best chance to recover down the road. Being honest about your stress will also save you both from hurt feelings in the end.
8 Take on a new challenge
You may be dealing with a major issue—betrayal, disloyalty, dishonesty—but try your very best to put it aside for a day or night to attack a new challenge together. Trying something new like rock-climbing, Thai cooking or downhill skiing will force you to work together and recognize each other’s strengths once again.
9 What do you need?
Sit down and make a list of all the things you feel you need to move forward with the relationship—whether it is space, reassurance, a promise—and share these lists with each other. Respect each other’s needs and try your best to follow through.
You don’t necessarily have to forget, but forgiveness is the only way to truly move forward and feel stressfree once again. Decide that your relationship is too important to hold on to hurt feelings and truly give that person a do-over. If you can’t let it go, you may have to repeat these steps. If that doesn’t work, then it’s time to be real about what this relationship brings to your life.
“WALKING WITH A FRIEND IN THE DARK IS BETTER THAN WALKING ALONE IN THE LIGHT.”
– Helen Keller
10 great dates to melt the stress away
1. Pack a picnic and enjoy the outdoors.
2. Let out your inner chef and try a bake-off.
3. For a retro night, head down to the local bowling alley.
4. Whether mountains or stairs, take a hike and explore together.
5. Spend an afternoon under the sea at an aquarium.
6. Be a tourist in your own city: hop a bus and check out the sites.
7. There’s nothing more romantic or hilarious than ice or roller skating.
8. Take the dollar store shopping challenge: set a price limit and find the funniest item you can.
9. Every town has its share of fairs and festivals: find out what’s happening near you!
10. Get all cultured and intellectual at your local museum or art gallery.
Photos by Faze intern Steven Edmonds