Creating Authentic Relationships


For the most part, people take relationships for granted. We assume we know what the other person wants and needs, and they assume we know what we need. The main source of relationship breakdown is because we assume that they should know how we want to be treated. In order to have authentic relationships, it helps immensely to design them, both in the beginning and throughout. It doesn’t work to leave relationships to chance. When we design our relationships, we ask our friends, family, co-workers, superiors, subordinates, and community at large who they need us to be; what we need from them; what to expect from us; and what we can expect from them. This alliance creates the foundation for an authentic, real ongoing relationship. It gives the relationship freedom, responsibility, and commitment. It gives both people the freedom to speak to whatever is needed in the moment and to ask for what is wanted 100% of the time. It empowers both people to take responsibility for honoring the relationship, its growth, upkeep, and cleanliness. It asks that both people not skip over hard-truths, and that they wake up when they’ve gone unconscious. Finally, it creates a commitment not to tolerate or endure; to tell the truth; and to tap into and speak from authenticity without filtering.

It may seem a bit artificial, at first, to sit down with someone in the beginning or even in the middle of an ongoing relationship, however, the results are powerful, magical, and pivotal to a powerful and enduring relationships. People with emotional intelligence naturally do this. They also understand that once this conversation has ended, that the design is never over. In order for relationships to endure and for both people to experience one another in new and fresh ways, relationships are constantly being redesigned. In other words, the design doesn’t end after the first conversation. It is constantly being re-negotiated. That way relationship remain flexible.

Below are some questions that may give you a sense of how to design an alliance in your life.

1. What exactly do you need and want from our friendship, in our working relationship, and/or from this project(s)? What I need and want is… 2. How do you want me to be with you when you’re shut down, hurt, angry, and/or sad? How I want you to be is… 3. How do you do with saying, “no?” How I do at saying, “no” is… 4. What will really support you? What will really support me is… 5. How do you want me to handle you when you have taken a risk and failed? How I want you to handle me when I have taken a risk and failed is… 6. If our relationship were to have a huge impact in your life-personal and/or professional- what would it look like? What it would look like to me is… 7. What do you want contribute to our personal/professional relationship that is unique? What I want to contribute is…. 8. How do you get evasive? How do you want me to be when you do? How I get evasive is... How I want you to be when I do get evasive is… 9. How are you about doing what you say you will do? How I am is… 10. Where do you usually get stuck? When you are stuck, what can I say that will return you to action? Where I usually get stuck is… What you can say to return me to action is…

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