Improve difficult relationships

A new way of understanding which can improve difficult relationships.

The following steps can help improve difficult relationships with someone you have a problem with.

The exercise is in two parts. The first involves you drawing with coloured pens . In the second part you need help from a someone you trust.

We all have to deal with difficult people at different times both in work and in our personal lives and below is a very different but also very effective method of resolving these situations and improving difficult relationships. I have run sessions for many years using this method and it’s amazing what the change in attitude can be after it has been completed.

Drawing can be a very effective way of beginning to improve difficult relationships, change a situation with a difficult person. By drawing we use the creative right side of the brain rather than the logical left side.

How do you see the situation?

Take a piece of blank paper and if possible some coloured pens. 

Draw a picture of yourself and the person you have a problem with. It doesn’t matter how skilled or otherwise you are at drawing, it is the intent that matters. 

Complete your drawing before reading any further.

Interpret your drawing.

Look at your picture. 

  • Have you drawn the two of you the height you both actually are, or have you made one of you larger or taller? If there is a difference, who have you drawn larger, yourself or the other person? Is this in fact the case? If you have drawn the sizes inaccurately this is how you see the relationship, with one of you more powerful that the other. 
  • Have you used the same colour for both figures? If not, which is the brighter, or more powerful colour? Again this relates to how you compare the two of you.
  • Are the two figures facing each other? If not who is looking away? It is very difficult to communicate with someone it you are not facing them. (Sometimes people say that the reason their figures are both facing the front is because they can’t draw profiles.) However, I have found that we draw what our subconscious wants us to draw and there is a reason why we don’t draw the two figures facing each other. 
  • Do both your figures have eyes? If eyes are missing it is very difficult to see the other person’s point of view. 
  • Do they both have ears? Without ears, someone is not listened to what is being said, and it is no excuse to say the ears are under the hair! 
  • Do they both have a mouth? This is necessary in order to communicate. 
  • Is there hair on both heads, assuming that neither person  involved is not bald? Hair represents personal power, and without it the power is weakened. 
  • Do both figures have feet? If there are no feet, then the individuals are not really grounded in their belief that there is a problem; it may be in their imagination alone.

Having analysed your drawing - and its interpretation, you may now have a better understanding of where you need to make changes to improve difficult relationships with the other person: 

  • do you have to listen more? 
  • give them more attention? 

Take careful note of where changes need to be made, and try them.

Step into the other person's shoes

The next step after completing the drawing is to work with another person. 

  • Explain to them the problem and situation you are in with the other person. You do not necessarily need to tell them the other person’s name, just the general situation.
  • Ask them to play the role of yourself.
  • You now step into the physical position of the person you have a problem with.
  • Stand in the positions and with the postures you drew, including position of head, arms, legs and feet. Were you side by side, or back to back?
  • Ask you partner to begin role-playing you, while you take on the other position. 
  • Have a conversation. 
  • Feel how they feel. 
  • How they react to your words. 
  • Begin to understand where they are coming from, and the impact your attitude or words could be having on them. 

Next time you meet the person or people with whom you want to improve difficult relationships think about this exercise and observe if you feel differently.

Some amazing understandings have occurred as a result of doing this exercise. Give it a go.

If you found improve difficult relationships interesting link to successfully assertive.

Return to interpersonal relationships for more pages.