Recently I  was in a conversation with one of my grandchildren about perceived actions not taken on his behalf. Frustrated and angry by lack of action and tired of talking about it, our conversation ground to a halt. I fully recognized now was NOT the time to pursue this line of thought. Remaining as neutral as I could in the moment, I acknowledged as much, leaving an opening to talk later if he desired.

When conversation shuts down and it feels like there is no opening, it’s better to take a minute, respect that person’s feelings and “allow the air in”. Be your own PAL and the PAL of your counterpart: Pause, Allow, Listen. Even if it means listening to the silence. That’s often where the answers are.

By our next encounter, as we rode in the car together toward school, conversation opened up as did more detail. Bottomline, there were some assumptions made about actions taken or not taken. We talked a bit about how easy it is to assume outcomes without fully digging down to find out what really happened. The “air” in the car was much lighter and conversation flowed more easily.

I am clear that had I pushed through to get to the answer that day, rather than respect my grandson’s readiness and privacy to think things through, it would have sent a different message than the one I believe is key to self-esteem and self-efficacy. Each of us has the answers within. I also know that by trusting him and respecting his readiness to talk, it increased the trust we share with one another.

It reminded me that relationships, whether romantic, parent-child, or employer – employee, can all benefit from a few relationship tips. When things get tough, pause, allow, and listen to the answers that come by raising your awareness through questioning and reflection. Here ten simple tips I share with my clients.


  • Perspective is everything: What do you want this relationship to look like and how do you want it to feel?
  • Communication is key: When times get tough, remember what you wanted from this
  • Boundaries are informative: Know yourself, know the other party and know what you want from being together.
  • Listening is learning: Listen to what that special person is saying and hear what they are not saying. Listen with your whole body.
  • Curiosity is golden: Look deeper to see what they really want and what drives their desires, actions, and ideas.
  • Assumptions are deceptive: Don’t assume you know what others are thinking, feeling, or wanting. Ask and clarify.
  • Refocus to what’s working: Too often we focus on what’s wrong when there often is much that’s right.
  • Common ground is connection: Focus on what brings you together.
  • Presence is practice: Sometimes there is nothing to say or do, your presence is everything.
  • Love is powerful: Express and appreciate fully so that every shared experience creates trust, joy, confidence, and a deep sense of satisfaction.

Sometimes it’s hard to not press forward. We often push through thinking that we know better and that if we just  “fix” the situation, everything will be better. When we do that, we undermine Trust.

If you find yourself caught in “fix-it mode” again and again and are ready to find ways to stop that reflex, I am here to help. Let’s chat.

Just follow this link to book your strategy session.

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The next is easier.

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