Here is a list of important relationship skills that we all need to master. This list is based on an excellent little book called 1,000 Ways to Say I Love You. I suggest you review each of these skills and give your self a grade from A to F.

These skills apply to romantic relationships, but many of them also apply to other kinds of relationships, too.

 

You can use these guidelines for rating yourself:

A -- Passionate, exciting, not perfect, but clearly excellent.

B -- Very good, better than most, improving, solid.

C -- Ok, ho-himm, adequate.

D -- Bad, but not hopeless.

F --Tried everything. It didn't work.

 

OK here are the "skills."  You may want to do some soul-searching. Rate yourself on each of these items. In doing this, it may help to think of a current or past relationship.

 

Relationship "Skills"


1. Affectionate

2. Arguing skills.

3. Attitude

4. Commitment

5. Communication

6. Considerate

7. Creativity

8. Empathy (being able to work a mile in the other person's shoes.)

9. Flexibility

10. Friendship

11. Generosity

12. Gift giving skills

13. Honesty

14. Listening

15. Love Making

16 Patience

17. Playfulness

18. Romance

19. Self-awareness

20. Self-esteem

21. Sense of Humor

22. Sensitivity

23. Spontaneity

24. Tolerance

 

How did you do? If you score was low on some items, you may want to target those items for improvement. By doing this exercise you have probably already improved your grade on number 19!

I won't tell you my exact grades on all items; that's too personal. But I will tell you what I really need to improve on:

 

I Need to Improve On...


Arguing Skills -- I get too hot headed sometimes and don't listen well.

Communication -- I need to confirm that the other person has understood what I've said.

Gift Giving -- Small surprise gifts. I need to offer more of those.

Playfulness -- sometimes I'm just too serious.

Self-awareness -- I need to improve, but this exercise is helping a lot.

 

My Plan for improvement

 

Arguing. The next time I catch myself in an argument, I'll stop and really listen to the other person and try to put myself in the other person's shoes. I'll refrain on insisting that I am right (even if I think I am. :)

Communication. I'll confirm all important decisions in writing and with voice communication, not relying on one or the other.

Gift Giving. I'll give at least one small surprise gift every two weeks. 

Playfulness -- this is a hard one. It seems it needs to come naturally. I'm not sure how to improve this one except just have a general goal of being more playful. Maybe I can add a plan for improving on this this later.

Self-awareness. Once a month I'll review this blog post and rate myself again. 

 

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Comment by Jennifer Adams on September 8, 2011 at 9:01am
Wow, this is a very solid list. I have a lot to improve on however. Thanks for this list Phil! From the looks of it, I think I may be a C. Gotta improve on being spontaneous, tolerant, flexible, ... I have to be more considerate and self-aware. I'd like to think I have hope. :)
Comment by Nancy Olson on February 9, 2011 at 9:33am

Arguing is a competitive action:  One thing I have learned along the way...most people continue to argue about the same subject repetitiously; throughout time...neither person "hears" the other. 

The one action that has worked for me...is to have each person write their argument down on paper, then switch the write-ups (he has mine, I have his)...then take turns in reading-each paper, aloud.  Not only does it lighten-up the argument, but, as each person reads the other's complaint, each partner begins to understand the problem the other person is having with the pertinent issue.  Soon, you'll find you'll be sharing laughter, tears of joy, and a thorough conversation; solving the problemmatic issue(s) on the same level.   

Comment by Sandra Lee on February 9, 2011 at 7:47am
This is excellent. Self-awareness. I find that I have developed (or lost the ability) to be a good listener.  That is where I need improvement, so am definitely working on it.  Once a month I plan to also review this blog post and rate myself against your list.  However, despite the fact that I am perfect in every other way (just kidding) I have no relationship in my life...could that be why?  (lol)
Comment by Josh Wallman on February 9, 2011 at 1:22am
I am sure we can all be better lovers, but for me, like you Phil, playfulness is a weak area. I would add sense of humor to my list. I can tease with the best but I need to be a lot more fun. I am far too serious most of the time. Communication and gift giving have never been a problem. If anything, both are viewed as effeminate traits. It's no wonder we have such a cold world.

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