Second kindness: Play ping-pong
The most important kindnesses are found in communication. I like to compare them to ping-pong, as (similar to tennis, badminton, etc.) you need a partner on the other side of the table/court.
However, there’s one crucial difference. While the purpose of normal ping-pong is to hit the ball so that your opponent can’t return it, in kindness ping-pong the aim is to keep the ball in play for as long as possible. After all, in a relationship there is never one winner and one loser, but always just two winners or two losers. So let’s not fumble the ball. How can we do this? How do we return the ball properly?
There is a saying that you can’t see into a melon or a person. It is true. Partners are different people, with the biggest battles being waged in their heads. We don’t know what troubles them, what they yearn for, what they need from us, until they talk about it. In this metaphor, the ball they play is an offer to understand them better and our task is to return that ball to our partner with kindness. The ability to play a long game of ping-pong shows how capable we are of listening to the other person, showing empathy and understanding the meaning of the relationship.
Our partner comes home and says: “Today I found out something interesting.”
He doesn’t say more. He’s considerate. He doesn’t want to bother us, but the fact that he started with it indicates that it is something important to him, if he mentions it like that. Yes, the ball is now on our side…
Someone grunts: “Leave me alone. I’m not in the mood. Can’t you see I don’t have time?” A person like that would hit their partner’s ball somewhere they could never reach it. Game over.
Kindness is about us trying to understand that something is important for our partner. We reply: “Really? Tell me about it.”
And building a successful relationship means first being able to empathise with our partner and wanting to listen to what they need to tell us.
Third kindness: Knowing how to postpone the game
Of course, we don’t always have the time or energy to return the balls that come our way. If we were to start playing every time something catches our partner’s attention, we’d never complete anything ourselves. So, it’s important to find a way of politely refusing to start a game of ping-pong (an offer of conversation) while still showing that we value our partner’s opinion and our relationship as a whole.
When watching films, people immediately find themselves making associations: actors, the places the story is set in, the plots – everything in films offers an opportunity to trigger some barely connected memory. Most often: “That reminds me of what happened at work today…”
If we’re interested in the film, we need to concentrate on it. So let’s get two things straight in our heads: Firstly, let’s admit that there’s a good reason why our partner wants to tell us this, and secondly, let’s admit that he won’t mind if he tells us later.
In any case, our refusal to start playing should always be KIND, and never dismissive. It is enough to say: “Sorry, but I can’t concentrate one hundred percent on your story right now, but I’d like to hear it when… (the film ends, etc.), so don’t forget what you want to tell me, I’m interested to hear it.”
Fourth kindness: Although you might be up to your eyes in it, don’t freak out
No situation is so bad that it cannot get worse. Negative situations always get worse if we allow the negative emotions flooding through us to multiply.
Emotions – both negative and positive – are characteristic in that they can multiply indefinitely. If we ourselves are full of n-emotions (negative emotions), we similarly infect others. This does not give us any relief, but makes things harder for others.
With people we don’t know, it usually doesn’t bother us. Unfortunately, many stupid people also inadvertently poison the emotions of their loved ones. So, let’s not forget, if we don’t have control over a particular situation that we face, we have to at least keep control over our emotions, WHATEVER THE COST.
Coping under stress without getting angry with those we love is a crucial skill in a relationship. The reason is simple: If we destroy our partner, we destroy one of the two pillars that our relationship stands on. And if we destroy our partner, the bridge linking us will collapse.
So, let’s NEVER freak out. Otherwise, as the saying goes: Today’s hassle is tomorrow’s anecdote.
What most differentiates immature partners from mature ones?
Please, continue to the 3rd page.