The Recipe for Delicious Friendships | Handel Group

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The Recipe for Delicious Friendships

Now here’s a line I’m sure you’ve heard (or said) before: “If it weren’t for people, I’d get a lot more done.”

Okay, it’s pretty clear to most of us how sound that statement seems, but how about how miserly, mischievous, and borderline-mean it actually is? Especially for us “enLIGHTened” folk.

As co-president of HG Life and a life coach, as you can imagine, people are my people. I’ve not only coached thousands of them, but I manage a bunch of them, am married to one of them, and come home to a brood of them.

So if just one of ‘em decides to draw outside my lines and rile me, be rude, or request too much of me, etc. … my whole day could be shot.

I am betting that you also feel a bit less focused, less effective, and less happy when there is discord in any of your relationships. Wouldn’t it help if you trusted yourself to have hard conversations with the people in your life whenever a situation arose instead of ignoring it or pretending an issue didn’t happen? Or worse, talking to your most trusted coach (yourself) about it some more? Wouldn’t you feel confident and free if you knew you’d always be able to resolve any problem you have with the people around you?

The answer is YES. And, yes, I know it can be scary.

People tell me all the time about the things they are afraid to say or believe they SHOULD NOT say to someone. Or there are people they believe they COULD NEVER tell the truth to. Well, I have witnessed countless success stories of people learning to speak up, and boy, the intimacy and benefits they experienced by having the difficult conversation were far beyond what they ever expected.

Having tough conversations is a skill. It has helped me so much in my life that I do not know what I would do without it. I’ve had difficult conversations with everyone in my life from my boss to my best friend, and each time it elevated the level of intimacy between us.

I want to give you a few tips on how to make your relationships with your people much more effective and delicious.

Yes, delicious.

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Declare It
Tell the people in your life you want an honest relationship in which you both tell each other how you think and feel, even when it’s not pretty. Promise them and ask in return for their promise to put the sanctity of the relationship above the momentary fear of what might happen if you talk about real things that may be uncomfortable to discuss.

This tactic works in business relationships, too––you just have to frame it a little differently. Fact is, everything that isn’t being said still gets played out. If you are angry or upset with a person in your head, they will feel it, even if what is coming out of your mouth is nice. They may hear sweet, but, trust me, they feel the ‘upset’.

You would have a lot more power and a lot less drama if you decided the policy is always to bring things up before they ever fester. At HG, we have something called the 3-grumble rule. If you grumble in your head about someone more than 3-times, you must go and talk to the person about it. It’s a good rule to have, it’ll keep you communicating and discussing the ‘unsaid’ with the people in your life.

Practice Grace
This means giving people the choice of when and how they want to have tough conversations. You ask permission, setting aside time and framing the conversation in a way that takes care of the other person. You always remind the other person of the positive reasons for talking and are clear that you know your perspective is only a perspective, not the truth.

Practice Wisdom
Sometimes we are “too nice” when having a difficult conversation and don’t end up saying what’s really bothering us. Promise yourself from now on you will tell people how you really feel and what is really going on for you. Also, you need to share with them what you need from them, so they know. Otherwise, they are guessing. Without this pledge, you won’t ever really get what you want. It is actually everything you are NOT saying that is getting in the way of all the right lessons, growth opportunities, and successes for which you are waiting. How exciting!

Now, it may not always be pretty at first. You will definitely have to change how you communicate and it will potentially stir up others, but if you make expressing yourself and telling your truth a policy, then your life will start to align with your dreams very quickly!


P.S. Ready to start being real with the people in your life? Register for my one-hour BFF: Building Fearless Friendships Tele-Talk on Thursday, October 26 OR join me at next month’s BFF: Building Fearless Friendships 2-hour live event in NYC on Nov. 7. You’ll learn how to design your friendships and get the tools necessary to create a culture of honesty and intimacy with your people.