Three subtle ways to wreck a budding relationship

Morning Darling Lovelies! Today’s topic, is relationships. New relationships, and by this I mean any kind: romantic, platonic or professional, are fragile. The smallest thing can plant seeds of doubts in someone’s mind, and the older we get, the more wary we are of new people and the more we watch for old patterns that we’ve disliked in the past. So I guess you can think of these as a list of “don’ts” for brand new connections – universally hated things that show you’re not really there to listen to the other person.

Three subtle ways to wreck a budding relationship - Darling Lovely Life - sheep on dartmoor wistmans wood black and white

I couldn’t find a suitable pic for this post – so here are some sheep.

Talking over somebody

Sometimes a new dynamic can take time to work out. Especially over the phone where you can’t see the other person and suss out their body language to gauge when they would like to speak or continue speaking. It’s normal for two people to accidentally talk at once and then urge the other to go on, but what’s not normal is persistently talking over the other person. I’ve known people to almost shout when they do this in order to prevent anyone else from steering the conversation. It’s not only jarring and hard work, but it shows that your new friend genuinely doesn’t care what you have to say – you’re just the audience.

Repeatedly getting your name wrong

My name is Sara. The S is soft. It’s not Zara. The “ar” rhymes with “car”. It’s not Sarah. The “ar” doesn’t rhyme with “air”. I can see how it could be confusing, given the variations on my name that are possible, but actually it’s not a hard one to pronounce once you’ve been to (unless you’re American, apparently, the “ar” seems to be a harder sound to make – they pronounce it like the “a” in “angry”, which is marginally more acceptable to me).

There are people I’ve known casually since I was an infant, who still pronounce my name Zara or Sarah. They’re not friends of mine. Why? Because despite having been corrected a zillion times, despite me deliberately engineering ways to use my name in front of them to give them a gentle heads up, they still insist on getting it wrong.

Ignoring someone’s real name in favour of something you concocted in your head looks like the ultimate display of arrogance and disregard. To skim over something so fundamental as your name with almost wilful ignorance is a sure way to kill a new relationship. It’s OK to ask if you’re getting the pronunciation right, it’s better than getting it wrong over and over.

Three subtle ways to wreck a budding relationship - Darling Lovely Life - pink peony heart shaped box full of petals

At first, hold something back – an open heart is great, an open mouth is less great

Talking about yourself

You want to slash that new relationship? Talk about yourself. The whole time. A good dynamic means a back and forth, you talk, they talk, you ask, they ask. You talk about common-ground things, you reveal bits about yourself, but don’t dominate the conversation with your whole life story. First of all, it’s nice to save some mystery – but it also makes the other person feel talked at. Never good.

If in doubt, ask questions. Listen, be engaged and remember details for later on. Listen the first time somebody tells you their name, and if you forget, ask again. Then you can relax and enjoy your budding new friendship.

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