Do You Have the "I Want-They Want" Balance in Relationships?

Communication in relationships is key 

The way you communicate in relationships impacts your interactions with others and how close you feel to the people who are important to you.

Being passive may feel safe... 

Passive people tend to give in to the needs of others because it feels safe.  They avoid conflict because arguing or disagreeing triggers a fear that others will leave them.  Passive communicators may be people pleasers and tend to give in rather than say anything that could be upsetting.

What happens, though, is that these behaviors often lead to your own needs being unmet or others never fully knowing WHO you are because you've always gone along with everyone else.  

Ultimately passivity leads to big blow outs or completely shutting down because you begin to resent other people for not understanding you or giving you what you need.

Aggressive communication may feel "right" or justified... 

Aggressive communication often comes from thinking that things "should" be a certain way.  This may spring from your values or upbringing, but dictating how others should or need to behave can destroy your relationships with them.

You may also feel a need to control how others around you behave or interact.  Your anger may drive you lash out at others which pushes them away.  You may feel justified in this interaction thinking that you needed to "teach them a lesson."

Being passive OR aggressive is destructive 

Both extremes in communication push people away and destroy relationships.  Both extremes come from a need to control others -- either by compromising your own needs to keep them around, or by insisting that they behave a certain way to meet your own expectations.

Assertiveness is the balance you need 

When you assert yourself, you find the "I want/you want" balance that you need.  Using DBT Interpersonal Effectiveness Skills is the best way to find the middle ground.

How can you start finding balance?  It starts by getting crystal clear on what YOU want and learning how to communicate these needs in relationships in a calm and collaborative way.  (Here's where your DEAR MAN skill becomes so important!)

You'll also want to practice skillfully listening and negotiating conflicts.  This may include learning to say no when necessary and to stick to your values to preserve your self-respect in relationships too.