What I Want My Daughters To Know About Relationships

Sometimes you have an amazing mentor in your life that reminds you to always move on, be the first to say sorry, and not hold on to grudges. They remind you that it really doesn’t matter and to give a situation time and space and eventually it will fall back into wherever it needs to be (not always the same place, but perhaps a safe place). That mentor for me has been my mother. I’ve seen her be the first to forgive, the fastest to forget, and the friend who lasts forever.

As my daughters grow older, I think about my own mentorship. I think about what I want them to know about relationships and how to remain grounded even while trying to maneuver in a tumultuous storm.

I’ve thought about a few things I want to remind my daughters as they begin to form relationships in life:

1.  Don’t ever become the bully.
Never be “that mean girl” and play games with people you care about. Either be brave enough to talk things over or stay silent. Playing games and hurting someone’s feelings is the first and foremost way to break hearts. Don’t be passive, and never ever be aggressive. You have to remain true to who you are, and playing games with people only pushes you away from your authentic self.

2.  Know when to walk away.
Often times you hear people say they hate conflict and confrontations. Sometimes, no matter how much you are dreading a conflict, a conversation is necessary to move forward. However, I want my girls to know that when you have given it your all and things still seem to be a mess, it is time to hang up your hat and be willing to walk away. Not every relationship is meant to last forever, and not every situation is mendable.

3.  Be willing to take the blame for your faults.
You made a mistake. Maybe you didn’t intentionally mean to harm someone, maybe you didn’t think you were doing anything wrong—but hurt is involved. Don’t ever be arrogant and please don’t make excuses. Own up to your mistakes, apologize with sincerity, and wait for the outcome. Be mindfully aware that the person you hurt may not be willing to move on and that will be something you will have to accept. Carry that with you in future relationships and make that part of the “troubleshooting” section of your handbook.

4.  No matter what, don’t lie.
A lie will only last so long. After a while you will find it start to unravel into the truth; leaving you exposed and flustered. Understand that the truth will feel painful at first, like the prick of a needle, scary and daunting. But from the truth you can always find a way to recover. If you care about a relationship, you will always be honest.

5.   Remember that relationships are complicated.
It may seem as though all your close relationships are natural, almost automatic like breathing. They keep flowing without the slightest bit of effort on your part. Then one day you realize you may not be giving a relationship what it needs to flourish. Maybe you need to create space, come slightly closer, or maybe the relationship has exhausted its sustenance. Just remember the bonds you build take work. Be selfless, be kind, and most importantly be sincere in every relationship you form.