Can too much of a good thing can be counterproductive?

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April 1, 2021
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Can too much of a good thing can be counterproductive?

Our personal relationships are one of our most important assets. The past year has seen us weathering so many unexpected twists and turns. Many people are feeling stretched, isolated and disconnected because of social distancing and working from home. Over the last few weeks, I’ve been using the word RELATIONSHIPS’ as an acronym to share ways we can nurture our relationships. So far, we’ve and worked on being REAL, adding EXCITEMENT, LAUGHING together, showing genuine APPRECIATION, building TRUST and fostering INTIMACY and OPEN COMMUNICATION so we can take care of each other’s NEEDS. You can click here to look back over previous articles.
This week we are going to add some final Key Steps so that together we can…

‘be the difference that makes the difference.’

  1. S – Support. Support each other’s goals and dreams. Be willing to pursue your own interests and passions, support your partner in theirs and create new ones together. Two heads really can be better than one so make sure you have common goals. It will be difficult to keep your bond intact if your dreams, views and values don’t intersect and connect in some way. A word of caution though… Can too much of a good thing can be counterproductive? The answer seems to be “yes.” A study conducted in the United States and reported in the journal of Psychological Science, shows that the more supportive a partner is, the more the other person relies on them. By doing so, they often then make less of an effort themselves. This doesn’t mean that we should stop supporting each other but does suggest that we must ensure that we do not fall into the trap if rescuing and allow others to take responsibility for themselves and take steps to reach their own goals.
  2. H – Honesty. Don’t lie, hide things or even evade the truth (especially when it comes to your needs or deeply important feelings). The problem will only get bigger. Speak up (in a constructive way of course) about the awkward stuff as soon as it arises, like money, children, sex, priorities, and so on. Naturally, if you are feeling very angry, you might want to take a ‘time out’ break to get your emotions in check before discussing the issue or you might even want to get the support of a counsellor or therapist if problems run deep and you are struggling to resolve them on your own. Asking for help is the clever thing to do and the earlier you deal with important things the better. There is much wisdom in the proverb… A stitch in time, saves nine.
  3. I – Identity. Maintain your personal identity. Remember that is why your partner fell in love with you. It is healthy to have some separate interests. Remaining a whole and complete individual enhances your personal sense of wellbeing and adds a richness to your relationship.
  4. P – Priority. Make your relationship a priority. It’s too easy to get into the habit of prioritising clients, children, friends, family, and so on, and forget to prioritise each other. And if one of you says something is important, then it is! Prioritising each other need not feel like another big demand on your time. The research of John Gottman, a relationship expert, shows that all we need is 20 min a day of genuine connection. The start and end of the day are especially important so we need to prioritise a loving ‘hello’ in the morning, a genuine wish ‘good night’ (this will likely include a hug or kiss) and then spend about 15 minutes genuinely enquiring into the other’s wellbeing and sharing about our day. This needs to be connected conversation with the absence of technology and plenty of eye contact.
  5. S – Say sorry. Be willing to be wrong and know that you won’t always get your relationship ‘right.’ It is important that we can say a sincere sorry and ask the other how we can put it right. Then give them time to accept our apology. In turn, we need to learn to forgive and move forward into your relationship’s future so we can…

‘be the difference that makes the difference’.

: The information in my blog may be freely shared and re-used in any online or offline publication, provided it is accompanied by the following credit line: This was written by Dr Sharon King Gabrielides, and originally appeared in her free weekly  ‘Key Steps Food for Thought Blog’ available on the Key Steps website.

Dr Sharon King Gabrielides

About Dr Sharon King Gabrielides

Sharon is a dynamic facilitator, speaker and executive coach with over 20 years’ experience in leadership and organisational development and transformation. She is a registered Education, Training and Development Practitioner (ETDP), holds an Honours degree in Psychology and practices as an NLP master practitioner. She is also one of only three women in South Africa to hold the title of Certified Speaking Professional (CSP) – it’s the Oscar of the speaking business.

Sharon’s PhD thesis contributed a framework for holistic and sustainable leadership development that has been published by Rutgers University in the USA. She is faculty of Henley Business School and highly sought-after by leading corporates because she works hand-in-hand with them to create sustainable results and long-term success. Sharon has become known for her practical approach, useful tools and genuinely caring manner. She is really looking forward to working with you and taking Key Steps to ‘be the difference that makes the difference.’


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