You’re hardwired to be accepted and receive praise from those closest to you. You want the people around you to notice when you get a new haircut, outfit, or car. It’s natural to conform yourself to a manner that you feel will be accepted by everyone. But authenticity in relationships is also a critical factor in making them last.
Thus, there’s a big issue with striving for approval and accepting superficial praise to stroke your ego. When it comes to relationships, you find yourself in the same situation. Meeting someone new can be intimidating, and you want this person to like you, so you change to make yourself more attractive.
Authenticity in relationships is a huge problem. If you’re dating someone you feel is outside of your caliber, you may lie to keep this person interested. For instance, one of the classic examples is someone who says they’re a fuel pump technician, but they are a clerk at a gas station.
Be careful when selecting your words and dressing or acting differently, as you can give off a whole other persona. What happens when the person you’re dating finds out you lied to them? Dishonesty can ruin your entire relationship, as no one wants to be with someone who is deceptive.
Twelve Ways to Create Authenticity in Relationships
Honesty is always the best policy, and how can you build a relationship when you’re starting on the shaky ground of deceit? Here are some habits and ways to increase relationships’ authenticity to make them last.
1. Be Vulnerable
If you want a deep connection, you’re going to have to be vulnerable. Whether the relationship is romantic or platonic doesn’t matter; a certain level of realism is needed. Your time on planet Earth will give you a lot of experience with things from pleasure to pain.
Sharing these experiences with people and not leaving out anything is valuable. Both parties need to be vulnerable to increase authenticity.
2. Never Judge
If you want to have friends and be loved, you must avoid pointing the finger. Don’t judge people or be pretentious, as it’s never desirable. Why do people judge you on your clothes, where you live, what kind of car you drive, and how much money you make?
All these superficial things don’t matter. It’s what’s on the inside that truly counts, and you’re not going to see these beautiful things if you don’t stop looking at the exterior. A classic instance of this is people who struggle with obesity.
Your parents told you never to judge a book by its cover, but those who have a weight issue say they’re prejudged before anyone gets to know them. According to Harvard Health, there are many reasons why someone might be obese, and they don’t always involve overeating.
If you’re quick to judge someone’s exterior without knowing the story, you might miss out on some of the most extraordinary relationships. Authenticity in relationships takes the good and evil and loves anyway.
You do things you’re not proud of because you’re human. Be eager to forgive others when they fail, as you are not the moral compass for society. When you forgive others, you release good karma into the atmosphere, and others will forgive you.
The next time you look at yourself in the mirror, you want to see someone who has made many mistakes but never let the insane world get to them. Choose to forgive not only others but also yourself.
4. Embrace Differences
Similar to finding common ground, you want to embrace the diversity among you. Wouldn’t the world be boring if everyone thought and acted like you?
You need different points of view and life experiences to make for a good conversation. Plus, when there are differences, you push one another to try new things and experience fun times you never thought possible. Bringing people who differ from you to the table helps push the boundaries of self-growth.
5. Admire One Another
No one likes a “brown noser,” but you do like someone who notices the good things about you. If you want authenticity in relationships, then try complimenting them. Take notice of the good stuff, and don’t focus on the wrong things.
Mark Twain wrote about the power of praise by saying he could feast for two months off just one nice compliment. It gives you a boost in your esteem that you need to keep going.
6. Be Trustworthy
No matter how juicy the gossip your partner or friend tells you, being trustworthy is one of the fundamentals that will make or break your union. If you want your relationship to last, you must use trust as one of your building blocks.
When you can’t trust one another, you will examine and possibly doubt every word. Should this person confide secrets in you they don’t want the world to know, don’t repeat them. If you tell even one person, you’ve betrayed their trust.
While some folks are eager to forgive such a trespass, others will cut you off for treason.
7. Find Common Ground
While the old saying states that opposites attract, you must have some common ground to lay your foundation. It will become apparent if you have nothing in common with your partner but more with others. Don’t fixate on all your differences; you need to focus on the similarities.
8. Learn Effective Communication
Do you classify yourself as a good listener? You can distinguish good listeners by the number of people who call to tell them your problems. In a relationship, you must listen and concentrate on the other person.
Don’t overanalyze everything they say or interject your feelings. People usually talk because they want someone to listen to them. Being a good conversationalist is an integral part of a relationship because you will have difficulty without communication.
9. Give With Nothing Expected in Return
It’s always more blessed to give than to receive. Never share with the expectation of getting something in return, as this defeats the whole purpose of charity. Giving someone something with no strings attached gives you a warm and fuzzy feeling that you’ve done right by humanity.
Your partner or friend should know that you’re always there for them. Remember the old passages that say if you have two shirts, give your neighbor one? Well, remember that “sharing is caring,” and when you share with others, you’re showing how much you care.
10. Be Present
Being present is a big issue with so many folks today. Assume you go out on a date with your partner. They don’t put their phone down for five minutes the entire time you’re at dinner. They’re answering calls, texting, and responding to emails.
In the two hours you were in this restaurant, you did nothing but watch them on their phone. You two didn’t talk much, and you didn’t spend any particular time together. While it’s going to be a challenge, turn off or silence your phone.
Your partner deserves your undivided attention, even if it’s only for an hour. Would you please allow them to answer their questions rather than text messages? According to Fatherly, cell phone addiction can destroy a relationship as quickly as infidelity.
Apparently, “phone snubbing “is getting out of control, but is it worth losing someone you love?
11. Don’t Strive for Perfection
You’re not perfect, so why do you expect those around you to be? If you want authenticity in relationships, then allow your friends and partner to be authentic.
12. Be More Open to Suggestions and Compromises
Is it your way or the highway? You won’t gather many friends if you have an attitude that you’re always right. You must be open to the suggestions of others and eager to compromise.
Your opinion matters too, but you need to be open to hear other points of view. Not only will it help to brighten your horizons, but it allows the other person to feel they’re listened to.
Final Thoughts on Authenticity in Relationships
Relationships are a challenge. Whether you’re looking for your forever partner or your best friend to share your secrets with, there’s a level of authenticity in relationships that’s required. It would help if you had good communication, never to point the finger of judgment, and were eager to show your failures as well as your successes.
Karen L. Rancourt, Ph.D., has researched the building blocks of relationships. She’s compiled a list of what a healthy relationship needs, such as values, commitment, appreciation, honesty, and accommodation. When you find a friend or lover who will stick beside you for life, you don’t want to lose them because you’re unauthentic.
Strive each day to tell someone something nice, spend time with them, put down the cell phone, and give them your undivided attention. Relationships take work, and you must be willing to get your hands dirty to help yours blossom.