Jordan Peterson’s Guide To Better Relationships

The video below opens on an extremely emotional note with Jordan Peterson wearing his heart on sleeve while expressing his absolute desire to cherish each moment he has the ‘privilege’ of spending with his children. Not taking anything for granted and being aware that time is precious and limited.

He speaks about how couples with differing inclinations with regards to certain psychological traits such as introversion and extroversion, agreeableness and disagreeableness and being an orderly person and a disorderly person, can complement each other by possessing different strengths and weaknesses. He acknowledges that the degree to which these traits differ, and the magnitude of these differences, is unknown when it comes to determining the optimal or desirable degree to which these differences manifest for a harmonious relationship.

‘Watch your person carefully, carefully, carefully and whenever they do something you would like them to do more of, tell them that that was really good, and mean it.’ This form of positive reinforcement, when enacted genuinely and precisely, has the power to increase positive emotions in you and your person. ‘Here’s what you just did that I thought was great.’ Do this over and over and the person will be like ‘the rat that’s just pushing the lever for cocaine.’ He gives credit to B.F. Skinner who has done extensive research on examining the effectiveness of using reward as a means to modify behavior.

He points out the importance of effective, honest communication and how this can help improve the relationship. One example is not pointing out each ‘hiccup’ and silently tolerating certain actions that you consider undesirable, to a point. If this ‘hiccup’ occurs constantly, approach the discussion in a way that allows you to explain how the ‘hiccup’ was interpreted by you, and how it made you feel, as opposed to pointing out the ‘hiccup’ and expecting the other person to deal with it.

Placing blame on the other person, although convenient in the short term, is not an effective tool in working through a certain behavior that would serve best if modified to mutual satisfaction. ‘Well look. This is what I saw. What’s your explanation of what’s going on? And then they’ll offer you their viewpoint and hopefully they’ll do the same thing.’ Hopefully they will reflect on the behavior and come to their own conclusion on their intent. From there, it can be determined if one person is overreacting or if there is some room for compromise. This is crucial in maintaining relationships in the long term.

Effective communication is a two-way street that requires both parties to listen and have their say and provide their thoughts and reasoning on the topic, and be willing to listen and understand the other persons perspective and point of view. From there, it is possible to move forward knowing what each person’s expectations are and whether both parties are in agreement with those expectations.

‘You can be slave or a tyrant or you can negotiate. Those are your options. We default to slavery and tyranny because that doesn’t require any cognitive effort. And then we pretend that everything is alright and then it blows up in our faces and we end up divorced.’

Becoming complacent and accepting of a situation or behavior that you deem undesirable, can only have negative consequences in the long run. Be honest about how things made you feel and deal with issues sooner to avoid, as far as possible, any drastic reaction to a situation that could have been dealt with in a mutually beneficial manner.

You can watch the video here:

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