Love And Life Toolbox

The Power of Behavior in Relationships

From the time we are born, relationships are one of the most important things to all of us.  Consider how much infants need their parents or primary caregivers.  The need to attach to others is there from birth. Our behavior has the power to either bring people closer to us – or push them away. Consider for a moment the people in your life; your family, friends and intimate partnerships. What is the quality of relationship you have with them? Are there people in your life who are behaving in a way towards you that causes distress, sadness, confusion or anger? Is there not a shred of evidence to support the possibility that they take responsibility for this and/or willing to make changes for the sake of the relationship? Ask yourself whether this works for you. On the flip side – do you have a trail of destroyed relationships behind you? Do you put up walls or other blocks to intimacy and human connection? Are you giving out what you want back?  Are you authentic with others or presenting a mask of what you’d like them to see – rather than what you are?  Ask yourself if the end result of this has brought you joy – or emptiness?

Behavior That Draws Others In:

  • Eye contact
  • Listening
  • Kindness
  • Reliability
  • Physical Touch

Behavior That Pushes Others Away:

  • Dismissiveness
  • Inconsistency
  • Criticism
  • Dishonesty
  • Arrogance

Many people don’t understand the power of behavior to hurt others, that they have a choice not to accept another’s damaging behavior – or a choice to put an end to theirs. Our behavior shapes the quality of our relationships so it’s an important element to consider. There are many reasons why people behave in the way they do including experiences with important earlier relationships (family of origin), defense mechanisms, how one feels about themselves and general lack of awareness. The important thing is that everyone is responsible for their actions, regardless of “why” they might behave the way they do. Take an inventory of your life and examine if there’s anything that could benefit from change in the area of your behavior – or accepting other’s behavior. Consider making adjustments if need be. If you determine that you have healthy relationships with others and there is no need for any change – good for you! Consider yourself very fortunate – and tell one of these people how much you appreciate them tomorrow.

Lisa Brookes Kift, MFT

Lisa Brookes Kift, MFT

Lisa Brookes Kift, MFT is the creator of with emotional and relationship health articles, guides, courses and other tools for individuals and couples. She is a frequent consultant for the media having appeared in,, and others. Lisa has a private practice in Marin County, CA and offers Emotional Health and Relationship Consultations via email, phone or video conference.

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