What's Your Dating and Relationship IQ?
by Kevin Skinner PhD
Intelligence comes in many forms. In spite of this, however, our society focuses almost exclusively on academic intelligence. Think about it. When is the last time someone said, 'John has really high relationship intelligence. He has a skill for listening and understanding people. He must have a relationship IQ of 160.' We focus so much on educational intelligence that we have neglected to teach people about critical elements that make relationships successful. Focusing on traditional intelligence quotients overlooks the reality that a 'successful' person with an IQ of 150 could be completely unsuccessful at relationships.
I believe it is time to focus on things that really matter. It is time to talk about dating and relationship intelligence. It is time to teach people what makes relationships successful and what destroys them. Have you ever wondered what your relationship IQ score would be? Is it possible to measure a person's dating and relationship intelligence? Absolutely! There are certain behaviors that make relationships successful and there are specific behaviors that ruin relationships.
In this article, I intend to identify some of the common behaviors that make up a person's dating and relationship intelligence. However, before you read on, I invite you to take a few minutes to write down ten behaviors that you know will make your relationships successful. Then write down 10 behaviors that you know will hurt your relationships. You may see several similarities with the points I cover here, but you're also likely to uncover issues that are specific to you and your needs. After all, no two of us in this world are exactly alike.
Here is a short list of fundamental behaviors that contribute to a person's relationship intelligence:
Integrity - at the core of every healthy relationship is honesty. Can you imagine trying to form a relationship where lying and deceit are common? Wouldn't you much rather be in a relationship with someone who you know is completely honest with you? Don't forget that integrity also requires that people be completely honest with themselves. For example, if you are upset, angry and agitated but don't acknowledge it, you are deceiving yourself.
Affirming Worth'successful people send value to others. They assist in lifting others up and making their days brighter. Their greatest strength is sending value to someone even when they are upset or angry with them. Someone who can affirm the worth of another person even when they are upset at them, scores high in relationship intelligence.
Growth - in every successful relationship, couples are committed to personal and relationship growth. In fact, singles that are not yet married still must focus on personal growth and development. After all, who wants to be in a relationship with someone who sits around and does nothing with their life? People with high relationship intelligence are often self-motivated people who are productive. People with high relationship intelligence also take time to nurture and develop their relationships. Just today I was reminded of this when someone told me that they had had an incredible date over the weekend, but their date didn't contact them until today to see if they could go out this weekend (it is Thursday today). This is NOT relationship intelligence. Successful relationship intelligence is formed when couples engage in rituals that help cement their relationship together (i.e., phone calls during the day, notes left on the car, a gift that is given out of the blue 'and, gasp, maybe even a call the next day after a date - whether the date went well or not!)
Positive Communication - people who score high on relationship intelligence are positive communicators. How a person solves problems has a significant impact on their relationships. A person with high relationship intelligence is very good at solving problems when they communicate. They use positive communication - kind, non-accusatory language, sincere listening, probing questions to seek understanding, a smile, eye contact, etc. In other words they aren't always communicating negativity. Yes, negative communication also includes the silent treatment.
Established Boundaries'successful relationship intelligence wouldn't be complete without boundaries. It is hard to feel confident in yourself when you don't know what you want and don't want. Boundaries are not just physical boundaries. They include: not putting up with emotional or verbal abuse, standing up for yourself, expressing oneself, etc.
So how did you do? Do you need to improve in a few areas? These are just a few of the elements that make up a person's dating and relationship intelligence. If you want to increase your chances of succeeding in dating relationships, it is important to regularly evaluate yourself and your behaviors in dating and relationships. If you don't like where you are, all is not lost. Start today and do something positive to increase your relationship intelligence. In truth, it is much easier to improve your relationship intelligence than it is to improve your IQ.
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About the Author
For individuals who are interested in testing their dating and relationship intelligence, www.datingsmarts.com offers a Relationship IQ test to help single people look at how they behave in their relationships. The Relationship IQ test covers 20 key categories that can make or break relationships. When you take the test you will be creating your own interactive book. Answers, ideas, and suggestions are given to you for each of the 140 items on the test.