The Secret to Healthy Relationships with Anyone

by Cam

A few days ago I wrote about how “life comes down to the relationships you keep” and how relationships are simply an exchange of value. If the exchange of value is positive, the relationship will be healthy, allowing it to grow. With this in mind I went on to say that being able to understand someone’s perception of value will be critical in your ability to develop relationships- be it for business, friendship or pleasure.

The response I received was tremendous:

Chris wrote: “Great article Cam. This value-exchange you talk about is ground breaking for me. Seems so obvious, now and I’m excited that I have an entirely new avenue to explore here. Thx!”

“i found it fascinating”

Gerald wrote: “Love it Cam! I was thinking a little about this today while going over some of cliffs archives. Your writing is really awesome and definitely helping us guys out! Thanks!”

Anyways, enough about how awesome I am. The story I used to relate the concept involved a security guard in my condo building and how I had concerns that (due to a 3rd parties influence) the exchange of value between the two of us might begin to build negative momentum. Fortunately as I said in the post, this didn’t happen to be the case and for that I am glad. I like my relationships to be as healthy as can be.

Unfortunately I also felt like I could use a better reference to describe this concept, that relates more to your every day life.

First let me say

Everyone has a different perception of value. This is not up to you to decide whether it’s right or wrong. It is what it is.

(In the coming weeks I will begin to talk about value on a deeper level; what the different types are, and the criteria YOU should be using to guide your individual perception, but for today just understand everyone has a unique perception, and to be effective you need to play within the means they are playing.)

(This in no way means you should live your life the way someone else does, merely that the value you bring someone needs to be in a way they perceive as valuable – whether right or wrong – because it’s their perception, and not yours. If you disagree with how they perceive value, then maybe having some type of relationship with them is not what you should do. This post assumes you want to have a relationship with them. Remember, Social Dynamics is not about having a relationship with everyone; it’s about having a relationship with anyone. Now you need to pick and choose wisely.)

important

So why is it important to understand someone’s perception of value? Well how shitty would it be if you are trying to connect and have a healthy relationship with someone, but because you don’t understand how they perceive value, you end up trying to bring them value in a way that actually hurts the relationship, even though you have had nothing but the best intentions in mind, and were only looking to connect. That’s why it’s important.

frustration

I’ve been there, and it’s incredibly frustrating when your putting effort into something but it isn’t working out. (Not only that, but this type of situation is very easy to blame on somebody else, instead of being able to see where you fucked up.)

Ok, enough on the technical side let me share a simple example for you to understand:

My Relationship with my Mother

My Mom loves to talk. She is very social. She desires that interaction. So if I understand my moms perception of value (socializing), then I can easily use Social Dynamics to develop a better relationship with her. One way I could do this is by giving her a call here and there just to talk. I can spend 5, 10, 15 minutes on the phone and just ask her how things are going. Or I could make it a point to go for lunch with her, to spend time together. She perceives this as value.

sushi

But there’s a catch: I need to make sure I’m taking my own perception of value into consideration, because if by giving her value I end up taking value from myself, this relationship will not be healthy. So what do I perceive as value? My time. I’m a very busy guy (by choice), so my time is limited. Due to this I cut out conversations like the one I described above, simply because I value my time more then I value simple conversations on the phone. So how could I make this work? By multi-tasking. I could give her a call while driving to a friend’s house, or while walking to Starbucks. Now I maximize the use of my time, while also bringing value to my Mom in a way that she perceives as valuable. Anddddd the relationship blossoms. It’s no coincidence that as you improve in Social Dynamics, your relationship with your parents does also.

Now what would happen if I used the same strategy with my brother, calling him here and there for 5-10 minutes to talk? This depends on my brother’s perception of value. He enjoys playing video games, spends a great deal of time on the computer, and enjoys socializing. But I also know he doesn’t particularly enjoy talking on the phone. So say I didn’t understand my brother’s perception of value, and gave him a call to talk, with the only intention of this phone-call being to build our relationship and bring value to him… what would happen?

It would actually hurt our relationship. My brother doesn’t perceive talking on the phone about our lives as value. So even though my only intention is to connect and build our relationship, due to his perception of value, calling him ends up actually taking value from him, and thus, builds negative momentum within our relationship.

How shitty is that?

Instead, I could have the exact same approach but instead of using the phone I could hit him up on Facebook. We could still have a conversation about what’s going on in our lives, but within a means that he perceives as value. I have now created that win-win scenario, everybody is happy.

be creative

You need to avoid settling into one approach, one way of thinking. If one way isn’t working, be creative and try a different route. Take the time to think about the other person and what they perceive as value, and try a way that includes that. I bet you will be blown away at the results.

Hopefully this post has helped hammer this concept home, and is a bit easier to understand and relate to then the one about the security guard. When you can understand someone’s perception of value, you have the ability to connect with him or her. Remember, to connect means to be in-sync, to be on the same page. It is only when you are on the same page that you can grow together.

If you have any questions or comments, hit me up on Facebook or comment below. Here to help.

About Cam
Cam Adair is a Motivational Speaker who dares you to live a life you're proud of. Watch his TEDx talks on Escaping Video Game Addiction and The Surprising Truth About Rejection. Follow him on Instagram. He is the Founder of Game Quitters, a support community for those who struggle with a gaming problem.

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{ 21 comments… read them below or add one }

Brian August 23, 2011 at 1:24 pm

This is probably one of our tightest articles for sure, nigga <3

Cam August 23, 2011 at 3:11 pm

Thanks broski.

David O' Neill August 23, 2011 at 3:38 pm

This is effing BRILLIANT.

Cam August 23, 2011 at 3:44 pm

David O’Neill: a guy that “gets” it. 🙂

kyle August 25, 2011 at 6:56 am

After reading this I’m definitely going to be thinking about how I can bring the ‘proper’ value to each and every relationship I currently have and will have. Thanks Cam for the great article.

Brian August 25, 2011 at 4:49 pm

Thanks for the comment kyle! Cam smashed this article out of the park.

Cam August 25, 2011 at 4:51 pm

Thanks Kyle. 🙂

RPS August 26, 2011 at 9:49 pm

awesome!!

Cam August 27, 2011 at 9:04 pm

Thanks for the comment RPS. 🙂

Have you checked out any other posts?

Kingston October 30, 2011 at 9:07 pm

You’ve opened up my eyes to things I’ve never seen before, and somehow made everything so much simpler at the same time… It is crazyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy dudes! Love your stuff

Cam October 31, 2011 at 5:55 pm

Hey Kingston. Thanks for commenting.

I’m very happy to hear your eyes are being opened to the possibilities of Social Dynamics. Becoming aware is just as important as becoming assertive. Go get it! 🙂

Carrie November 13, 2011 at 12:30 am

Quite the writer you are and I’m very proud!
I do appreciate your calls and have no problem with you multi-tasking at the same time.

Cam November 13, 2011 at 1:01 pm

Thanks Mom. 😛

Kingston November 13, 2011 at 5:58 pm

^^^
That’s awesome!

Cam November 15, 2011 at 3:59 pm

Hey Kingston. Thanks for the comment bro. 🙂

Will January 3, 2012 at 7:51 pm

Hey Cam,

Another great article that has considerably changed my life. You are a great writer! I can’t stop reading ha 😛 This site has been the best thing I have ever stumbled upon. I am being serious bro! Since coming across it yesterday and reading the article on quitting gaming (I left a comment and, in answer to your question, so far it is going well =) ) I have already recommended it to some friends. One was Seb, who commented on the ‘how to quit gaming’ saying how you changed his life and how he enjoyed Djing 🙂 At the moment, there is a girl that I love so much, like I cannot imagine living without her, do you have any guidance on how to get her to like me more as a boyfriend than friend (not sure if there are already some articles on this). We currently talk qutie a lot at school, on facebook and on skype. From now on, whenever I speak to her, or anyone as a matter of fact, i will definitely be thinking about the Value that I am bringing them. So thanks a lot man! Also ^^ Your Mum is awesome <3

Peace.

Will

Kevin Boquiren November 19, 2012 at 8:54 pm

This is a must read. Another masterpiece 🙂

Cam November 20, 2012 at 1:53 pm

@ Will – Thanks for checking this article out. Looks like your comment fell through the cracks! I appreciate your compliment about my writing ability. I don’t view myself as a writer so it’s encouraging that you found it readable! 🙂

@ Kevin – That means a lot. Thank you.

Kem April 28, 2014 at 3:47 pm

So, Cam. Another great article. Question: I have two nieces who take value rather than give any value. They lived in my home and have just “moved” out. How do you interact with family when it is clear there is no win-win to be had?

Thanks!

Cam April 28, 2014 at 5:51 pm

@ Kem – Thanks for commenting (and your email!)

Although a win-win is the desired solution, sometimes it’s unable to be achieved, at least not at this time. Your scenario falls under that category.

In this case, it’s about understanding your expectations and setting them accordingly. Setting your expectations properly is important because when your expectations are not met you feel resentment. Resentment leads to anger and that relationship deteriorates.

With your new expectations, you have to understand that to avoid negative emotions (or impact) you need to let go and do your best to avoid contact in whatever capacity is available. When it comes to family this isn’t always a perfect solution but it’s the best you can do.

You also need to show up and be an example of the person you want to interact with. It’s about leading by example, but without strings attached. A lot of the time when we lead by example we expect others to also be like us. Everybody has their own path and it’s about allowing them to find their way on their own terms.

It’s about letting go.

online CA auto insurance November 29, 2015 at 10:20 am

You’ve really impressed me with that answer!

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