Find Mediators Near You:

5 Ways to Ruin Your Relationships

Ugh…relationships… who needs them? They are so needy! Your coworker always wants to go out for a beer after work, your partner wants to spend time with you, your friend keeps calling you up to come see your new house. Who has time for all this? It’s probably better just to get rid of them all. So here’s 5 things you can do to ruin any relationship in your life; work, home, friends, even acquaintances. Do all 5, or even do 1…it’s pretty much guaranteed to work.

1. Never Address Your Feelings

That’s right, stuff them way down into the pit of your stomach. Never admit when you’re angry, sad, happy or overjoyed. The second you get a feeling coming up, grab that feeling and tell it that it’s not welcome here. Throw it out to the side of the road on garbage day and just get rid of it. Get the urge to compliment someone? Run for the door before you can’t control that urge. Something someone did bothering you? Never say it to them! If you’re lucky, one day when you’re pushing all those negative feelings down the garbage chute, they’ll probably boil over the top and you’ll explode on the person. Bonus points if it’s over something small like getting asked to vacuum the living room or submitting your monthly invoice. That’ll show ‘em.

2. Never Take Responsibility

You made a mistake on the report that your team was doing for a big presentation. Couldn’t have been your fault right? It’s probably another member of the groups problem, they made you make that mistake. It’s not your fault. Or maybe you said something off the cuff to a friend that really hurt their feelings. How can you be blamed for that? It’s not your fault they can’t handle a critique. If you really want to take this one to the next level, while you’re avoiding taking responsibility for something that you clearly didn’t do, blame them for your part as well. I mean…how could you make a mistake? You’re perfect right?

3. Interrupt Constantly

Your boss is talking to you about a serious incident that is happening in your department, but you don’t need the full story! Interrupt him and say that you’ve got this. Don’t even let him finish, you can probably read his mind about what he’s going to say right? Or your partner is telling you about something important that happened in her life today, but you don’t really want to hear that do you? Interrupt her and let her know that you don’t have time for that right now. Bonus points if you completely change the subject and start talking about the awesome vacation you just went on.

4. Think You’re The Most Important Person in the Room

Actually, scratch that. Don’t just think you’re the most important person in the room, you ARE the most important person in the room. Don’t take interest in others…they don’t really have anything that they want to say, they only want to hear from you! After all, you’re the one with all the knowledge and wisdom. What could they possibly say or do to contribute to any meaningful interaction?

5. Never Be Positive

Positivity is over-rated. They say you catch more bees with honey than vinegar…which is great, but the vinegar will kill them faster. No one wants the optimistic, “everything’s going to be ok” kind of mentality. Never walk anywhere with a smile, never laugh, it’s a sign of weakness and people might mistaken you for someone who might care. Wouldn’t that be detrimental to your character! Humph. Don’t say hi to folks, and when they ask you how your day is going always reply, “it’s none of your damn business” and then stomp off.

There you have it. Want to ruin a relationship in your life today? Do just one of these things with any consistency and you’ll find yourself more isolated and alone then ever before. Do all five and you probably won’t even get a birthday wish. Mission Accomplished.


Jason Dykstra

Jason is a Conflict Management Specialist who is helping organizations and congregations move from conflict situations to creative solutions. He specializes in relational and communication issues and uses his experience and training in mediation, group facilitation, conflict management coaching, speaking and teaching to aid you and your surroundings to better… MORE >

Featured Mediators

View all

Read these next


Innocents Pleading Guilty

ADR Prof Blog by Andrea Schneider, Michael Moffitt, Sarah Cole,Art Hinshaw, Jill Gross and Cynthia Alkon. How many innocent defendants plead guilty? Is it common, or is it just an...

By Cynthia Alkon

Ellen Pao: Reddit has Stopped Negotiating Initial Salaries

Indisputably The Wall Street Journal ran an interview with Ellen Pao yesterday. She discusses many things, but her quote regarding salary negotiations really hit a nerve: “Men negotiate harder than...

By Kelly Browe Olson

A Rewarding Response

A year or so ago I received an email from Kudrat Dev, Founder and CEO of YCM of India.  YCM is an acronym for Youth Conflict Management.  Kudrat asked me...

By Charlie Young