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Spring clean all of your relationships

It is time for freshness and life.
It is time for freshness and life.

After a long, cold winter in Nashville, spring is finally here! Along with spring comes a sense of freshness and newness as the flowers start budding and the grass turns green once again.  Many people feel motivated to get out the 409 and do some spring cleaning; however, shaking the rugs and dusting behind the television is not enough. As you take time to clean your house, it might be time to re-evaluate the "untidiness" in your life. I have broken down some of the relationships you might have issues with, and offered some advice.

Fickle Friendships
Throughout life there will be people who soak up negativity like a sponge. Of course, they don't want to be alone in their misery, so they call you. You, being the nice person that you are, listen to all their drama and let it affect you and your day. Those people call themselves friends, but they are using you like their personal dumpster. Trash gets dumped on you at all hours of the day and since you don't want to hurt their feelings or make them feel as if they don't have a friend, you take it all in like a soldier. My best advice for this is: stop.

We can't change people, but we can change the way they affect us. Tell them face-to face: "I can no longer do this. I'm happy to be your friend, but not like this and not with your current behavior." The next step might be the most important, that is, to stick to your guns. Don't answer the phone at all hours, stop justifying their behavior, and stop allowing abusive behavior to control your life.

Those who do not respect your wishes and want to continue these behaviors are not your friends. Period.
Family Feuds
Relationships with relatives can be a sensitive matter. Sometimes your relatives believe that since you share the same bloodline, they are free to involve themselves in your business as much as they so choose. Some might also think that they are allowed to address you any kind of way. Although it may seem harder to cut your relatives completely off, there are ways you can address those who are disrespectful and intrusive.

For those who are pressuring you about your love life or lack of, you can say, "I know you are trying to help, but I'm happy with my life and would rather talk about other things with you." Or, if you have intrusive parents, you can learn to master small talk or deflection. Instead of allowing them to ask all the questions, ask them questions about their lives. You must remember that even if someone is interrogating you, you get to decide what you want to answer and what you want to avoid.

It is okay to reduce the time you give to your relatives. Unfortunately, those relatives might not fit in your life as people who are close to you. If this is the case, recognize it and do what is best for you.

Romance Revitalization
Oftentimes in relationships, especially marriage, the daily routine of life becomes boring and uninspiring. An accumulation of stored resentment and hurt feelings develop over time. People get stuck in the routine of picking up the kids, preparing dinner, doing homework, and going to bed without fully dealing with their issues. Romance takes a back seat and your love life becomes a chore. It is so extremely important to keep your love life intact.

You must let your relationship air out. The best way to do that is to get a babysitter or call the grandparents and plan a getaway for the weekend. Gatlinburg, TN has to be my favorite getaway trip because of its amenities and seclusion. If you can plan at least three or four trips without the kids in the year, it will do wonders for your relationship. If you are experiencing problems in your relationship, bring two notebooks with you and your partner answer these questions.
• I am with you because...
• My feelings were hurt when…
• I'm angry when…
• You always…
• You never…
• I forgive you completely for…
• I appreciate your…
• You turn me on when…
• I am proud of you because…
• I want to be with you because…
• I love you because…

The person sharing these answers is not allowed to elaborate further and the person listening is only allowed to say thank you. The desired outcome from this excercise is a revitalization of your love. You can accomplish this form of communication daily, weekly, or monthly. The notebooks are great for when you need to refer back to your own answers to these responses.

**This spring, get in the habit of having clean and fresh relationships with everyone in your life. **

Hassler, Christine. "How to Spring Clean Your Relationship." 23 April 2009.
Johnson, Emma. "Spring Clean Your Life." 22 March 2010.
Sheppard, Susan. "Relationship Spring Cleaning."

Please feel free to comment on this page, or email me questions or concerns at



  • Dwayne 5 years ago

    This young lady should have her own practice. It is amazing as it seems like she has studied hard in the field of interpersonal relations and personal emotions. She is always a pleasure to read as her views never sound to text bookish or like she is a conformist. Great article!!!

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