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Friday, July 1, 2011

Take 2: Bridge Over Troubled Water #TR30Days

Conclusion of "Before He Cheats" and "Here Without You"

So I tried to write this earlier -and did, I guess... but, it just wasn't ME. Too sterile, I think... educational (1) and not 'Crystalized.' :) Look I'm not a Counselor; and clearly I don't have all the answers on how to make a relationship perfect. I can say, "Logically, this makes sense to me" - but the execution of the logic doesn't always play out. So, consider "Here Without You" my dress rehearsal... much like the Simon & Garfunkel video I put above... you don't get a winner the first time out of the gate every time.

But it IS an important topic; one worth trying on again. What do you do when you see the ship isn't sailing on calm waters anymore? When your employee is disengaged or your significant other is clearly detached. We've all gone through both sides of it professionally, I think; in the not-too-distant past, I went through this with what is now my ex-boyfriend. A lot of a relationship should be private; so, I'm not going to be hashing out our disagreements on here. The individual disagreements aren't what sunk us, anyway- but, what I think DID is something that is applicable to all your relationships: Communication.

Funny, isn't it? I blog, I talk and make a living out of leveraging relational networks I build.. you think I'd have this communication thing nailed, right? Um, yeah... not so much. I may have book smarts; but I'm far from perfect! Truth be told? I detest conflict. So, I'll stuff something down for AGES & try to Pollyanna it (2) until I just can't do it anymore. Then, I'll have half-conversations and read a bunch of books trying to figure out how to fix the problem without rocking the boat too much. Professionally, for me it's easier because I can tell myself that if I avoid necessary conflict then I'm doing a disservice to my employer. I'm not doing a good job by sidestepping anything that might make my company more functional, or better. So, why am I more loyal to my employer than I am myself or someone I care about?

The answer is fear of the unknown. Dealing with a derailing relationship? That can be a little scary- I don't necessarily know the why... and what if I'm not prepared to? Because what if it's something I can't fix, or change??? Or wouldn't want to because I felt like I had given up enough of what I liked & enjoyed already?? (3) From what I read over the years, I'm not alone in that feeling... and it kind of makes sense. So, you might think, "What if my employee is interviewing elsewhere because they don't like the way I manage them?? I'm not prepared to change my management style.. I don't even KNOW another management style!! " OR "I know they're looking because I can't give them a raise. There's a budget freeze; there's nothing I can do... so why bring it up??"

Because if you don't? There's better than even money that your employee or partner will think you not only KNOW what's bothering them; they're going to think you don't care. And I think that's worse than dealing with it. For me personally, I saw the signs building up; I saw it coming, but I couldn't figure out what had happened to cause it. All I knew is that we both felt unappreciated, misunderstood, & not listened to. But, honestly? We hadn't had a complete conversation about it, either. I knew it, but let it go. Part of me wondered if his issues were shallow ones; I kind of knew better... but was pretty sure if that WAS something like 'I wasn't cute enough after he lost weight' or 'jeans & sweatshirts just didn't cut it?' I'd likely take a boot to his head. And truthfully? I knew it'd really hurt - because something like that? Shouldn't mean more than all the little things, the important things, the effort that I put into our relationship day in, day out. But, of course, it wasn't anything like that... I don't think, anyway.

That's not much different than the way one might feel in a working relationship... those doubts work on pretty much any level. Feeling unappreciated, misunderstood, and not listened to? That's a universal problem - and if your employees feel that way? You NEED to step back. Yes, it'd be nice if they came to you - but leadership dictates if you see the problem? Take the lead. BE OPEN - to communication, to new perspectives, to change - to the important stuff. Because you don't want to look back later and wonder "what if" when you lose the employee you REALLY wanted to keep.

With my ex? We never really did go through all our issues. Because we let them all build up; it was EXHAUSTING. Like, I need a vacation from my relationship kind of exhausting. Like if it were work, I'd be using a some PT time to reset... I'm sure he felt the same way - actually, I know he did. For not being a tumultuous relationship; I think we had more issues than any other relationship I've ever had. The first time we completely hashed out an issue was the week that we broke up. Why? Because we? Are Geniuses. (4) Had we tried it from the get-go; would the outcome have been different? Probably not, but we'll never know for sure because we never really tried. But one thing I do know for certain; we'd have known where we stood with each other a whole lot sooner.

And that alone might be worth it; I think. Even if you follow all the steps in the earlier blog and it doesn't work out; at least you a) know where you stand and b) that you tried. You'll know the direction you need to take next to get back to calmer seas. And that? Is a bridge over troubled water that even 25 years later? Is worth singing about.

(1) Thanks Lisa, for pointing out what I had been feeling.
(2) You know, always find the silver lining in the most ridiculous stuff?? :)
(3) Forget the fact that most of it wasn't asked for... but I knew it was needed for the greater good *rollin' eyes*
(4) Or slightly emotionally stunted... take your pick, lol...

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