How to hack your relationship

The word hack in this context is a positive term. Here is a definition of Hack that I like from the Urban Dictionary. 

Definition: A clever solution to a tricky problem

To hack is to mod or change something in an extraordinary way

 Was browsing the Quora boards. Quora a social networking site focused sharing questions and answers on almost every topic imaginable.

This is a great thread on "relationship hacks". Here are some of the highlights with my own commentary on them.


Saad Ghazipura, Student Doctor,

Advice for both sides:

I'd like to start with a common behavior and my suggested alteration.


In any relationship people get comfortable with each other and eventually they tell them stuff they wouldn't tell anyone else. One of the best things about relationships is that you CAN do this. You can say what you really feel about certain things/people/ideas. You (I hope) will not be judged and accepted no matter what you say. A common theme that I've seen in relationships is that when you first see each other after a long day/week etc you walk in the door and start complaining about something. Your boss, co-workers, public transportation, this person who cut you off, parents, family etc. Why? Well again because this is one person in the world we can "bitch about things with". 


I'm not saying don't talk to your significant other about things that bother you and things that happen to you. All I want to advise is that you start your conversations with something good, something positive, and if you have nothing just start with a smile and ask them how their day was. You will eventually get to the point where you can talk about all the bad but start by setting a positive tone. Imagine someone is looking forward to seeing you all day and when they finally do you walk in the door or meet somewhere you start complaining about this or that. Kind of kills the mood. If you start with the good stuff and set a pleasant mood who knows you may have to wait longer than you expected to finish your thoughts. *wink*.

This is an example of  Dr.John Gotteman's principle of the Softened Startup. Which is the idea when couple's discuss a sensitive matter they do so by starting with something positive. This concept was developed from his work observing thousands of couple's interact. He notices that the couple's that had a good relationship naturally did the softened startup.


Kara Findley: in a kickass relationship

My number 1 relationship hack revolves around honey-do requests. We often find ourselves asking "Did you... <take out the garbage, do the bills, call the cable company... etc>." This lingo inherently sounds critical, especially if the person has not done the task yet, which they probably haven't. They are pretty likely to get defensive and become even less likely to do the task, so it's lose-lose.

INSTEAD, ask them using this phrasing - "Have you had the chance to....?" It takes the pressure off the person, helping them save face by letting them blame their busy (or not so busy) schedule for not having done the requested task yet, rather than taking the blame themselves. The result is a much more positive response that is likely to lead to that task getting done = win-win. 

This tip may work better on men then on women, but I tend to use it any question involving a requested task - with friends, family, colleagues, my boss - and it works wonders.

This is an example of what in the Psychotherapy world would call a reframe. A reframe consists of changing the way people see things and trying to find alternative ways of viewing ideas, events, situations, or a variety of other concepts.

Louise Barr 

I think one of the best things a woman can do for her man is to appreciate him.  Make sure you thank him for the things he does, even if they're small things, like taking out the garbage.  Don't act as if he owes you these things; you know you would hate it if he did that to you.  If he's good at computer stuff, thank him and tell him you're so grateful.  If he can do handyman stuff, make sure he knows how lucky you feel that he is so capable.  Honestly, I've met men that were obviously just ripe for the picking because their wives/girlfriends didn't show any appreciation or seem to value them at all.  I've had to be careful sometimes not to sound too enthusiastic for that very reason.  It's so sad to see guys who feel as if they're playing to an empty theater.  BE the appreciative audience!

This a great one. The research supports the importance that men especially need to feel appreciated. Men often cheat on not because they desire a more beautiful women but because they don't feel appreciated. 

Tarek Nassar 

Here's one, tested and approved, applicable for husbands/boyfriends. Keep a small notebook, well hidden from her, and from time to time, write down a note about something she liked, wanted to buy, a place she wanted to go or something she wanted to do. Keep the dates as well. Then, on a special occasion or when you can afford it (timewise as well as moneywise), get her that little something she wanted to buy or take her out to that restaurant she fancied etc. The key is NOT to do this immediately after she asks for it but rather to wait long enough for "it" to leave her immediate thoughts. With this, she knows you care but more importantly, she knows you LISTEN.

This one is simple yet profound. Highlights the importance of listening. Also it works great for coming with birthday and holiday gifts.

happy couple.jpg