Keeping is healthy

by Rod Smith

The Mercury / Monday

Simple ways to improve all relationships:

• Discuss expectations no matter how casual or intimate any relationship is. The more you ignore and leave unsaid the more you leave to misinterpretation.

• If it sounds too good to be true it almost always is. Avoiding due diligence may lead you away from immediate disappointment but, if it is too good to be true you’re going to discover it sooner or later.

• Talk about the money. If it’s as close and long-lasting as marriage, or so casual and impersonal as wanting to make a buck mowing your lawn, talk about the money. Don’t leave things “up in the air” for either party. Talk about when, how, and the how much, no matter how brief or intimate the commitment. Conversations about money may, of course, be inappropriate during a first job interview but be sure you have it before contracts are signed. Clarity trumps avoidance, always.

• Healthy relationships are mutual, respectful, and equal. If it is as permanent as marriage or as temporary as installing your new dishwasher. Avoid all other varieties.

• Talk about fish if something smells fishy. If you have a hunch that something is not quite honest (you have never met his children after dating for a year, she disappears for weeks and re-enters when needing money) then, talk about it. Silence may buy you “helpful” denial but it will cost you in the end.

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