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6 ways to have better relationships in 2019

By NYT Smarter Living editors

Even if the foundation of your relationship has long been built on trial and error, a relationship is nothing more than small growths and achievements, marked by the occasional misstep. The Smarter Living team has culled a few tips from our archive to help you grow in that new relationship, rekindle an old flame or turn a breakup into a positive experience.

Relax. It’s going to be O.K. A 2012 study in the Journal of Positive Psychology identified three distinct expressions of patience: interpersonal, which is maintaining calm when dealing with someone who is upset, angry or being a pest; life hardships, or finding the silver lining after a serious setback; and daily hassles, which is suppressing annoyance at delays or anything irritating that would inspire a snarky tweet.

The good news is the same study found that patience as a personality trait is modifiable. Even if you’re not a particularly patient person today, there’s still hope you can be a more patient person tomorrow. 

Whether you love them or hate them, parties are important. They are where people meet future business and romantic partners and friends, where small talk becomes the stuff of life. And who among us, save the most self-sufficient and confident partygoer (who is that insufferable person, anyway?), wouldn’t like to party better?

This guide will teach you how to make seamless, beautiful small talk that leads to important conversations and connections. It will ease you into mingling effortlessly, and it will even demonstrate the right way to leave (without ruining your life).

People who are looking to recapture a close friendship after some time apart don’t quite fit into this framework. It can be disorienting to feel like you’re back at square one with a person (or sibling) you have a shared history with.

But given that most people are only a text message, email or phone call away, it’s not always clear how — and, frankly, if — you should approach them. For anyone thinking about reconnecting with a cherished friend, here are some smart ways to regain closeness once a friendship has cooled. Read more >>>

Self-criticism can take a toll on our minds and bodies. “We’re all our own worst critics.” Ever heard that one before? Yes, it’s an obnoxious cliché, but it’s not just self-help fluff. Evolutionary psychologists have studied our natural “negativity bias,” which is that instinct in us all that makes negative experiences seem more significant than they really are.

In other words: We’ve evolved to give more weight to our flaws, mistakes and shortcomings than our successes.

Pop culture has trained us to think of breakups as excuses to binge on ice cream in the dark for a month. But that doesn’t help anyone.

Immediately booking a flight to Cancun isn’t necessarily a suitable plan for everyone. Grieving takes time. It’s not a sign of weakness, but rather an essential step toward accepting change.

Couples can fight about anything. It’s just a fact of relationships. But arguments about money (like that expensive trip you took) have a tendency to be particularly toxic because they’re layered with deep emotional and personal history.

These chats do have their challenges, but they can also be deeply bonding. And more important, they can keep serious money problems at bay and help us save and invest more smartly.

Jay Daniel Wright

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