“Would you keep hanging out with somebody who just criticizes you and grunts when he runs into you on the way to the bathroom? No way. You’re looking for a person who wants to laugh, talk about interesting things, share stories, and grow…if you want to have a good friend, you have to be a good friend.” -Dr. Phil
Be a Good Friend to Get One
Here’s a common theme in couples counseling:
Partner 1: I want my partner to be nice to me, but it’s okay if I express my frustration by raising my voice and getting upset.
Partner 2: Until my partner is nice to me I have every right to fight back…
We are all responsible for ‘contributing our best selves’ to our relationship. That means being respectful, thoughtful, loving and the like – being whomever you are when you are at your best. And an interesting thing starts to happen when we succeed – our partner is more likely to wish to be with us. It’s so much better to be with someone who ‘wants to laugh, talk about interesting things, share stories and grow…” as Dr. Phil suggests.
I am NOT suggesting you ‘fake it.’ One of the harder times in my own relationship came when I decided to be ‘really, really nice’ to my partner to see what would happen. His life got much better (I was no longer after him) but mine didn’t change at all (he still ignored me). By the end of the experiment I was even madder than before!
So this is joint work that both of you do. To get a friend…be a friend. What could you do that would make you friendlier?
You can find great resources for couples impacted by ADHD at adhdmarriage.com, including: a free online treatment overview; free downloadable chapters of my books; a community forum with other couples facing similar issues; a large number of blog posts on various topics; referrals; and my very popular couples courses: ADHD Effect In-Depth Couples' Seminar - Next live session starts April 4, 2016 - this eight-session phone seminar has helped many couples turn around their relationship.