SHAKE THINGS UP

COVIDcare #6: Do Something in a New Way

Every relationship has special moments at the beginning. (For me, it was when my future wife said, “Dinner? That would be lovely.”)

Sure, the relationship changes. You learn each other’s stories and dislikes, maybe you’ve added a kiddo or two, occasionally you get on each other’s nerves — but you’re still glad to be together.

Then COVID-19 happens.

Now you and everybody else in your household are living in each others’ laps.

Someone does something that irritates you. Bad feelings spread from person to person. The whole house gets itchy. You know what that feels like.

Normally, you could go out, do something new together. But that’s off the menu now.

Here’s how to make things better.

Can’t go out? Bring something new in.

You can add new experiences that give you a new way, if only for an hour, to interact with each other. Here are three things you can try.

First, order something new for takeout. Ask everybody what they think about the food, and why. Keep the conversation going. You will feel lighter, and everybody will have a better day.

Second, everyone knows that chocolate is always a force for good, so try the M&Ms Icebreaker Game. People across the Internet have devised a set of six questions, one for each color (here’s one version).

Here’s how to play: Each person picks a random M&M and answers the corresponding question (for example, “What is a food you hate?”). Feel free to improvise if you don’t have M&Ms or don’t like the questions. Have fun.

Third, there’s one sentence you can use to interrupt when someone’s angry or defensive, or just to jolt your conversation out of a rut.

Just say “Tell me more about that”, listen, and reply gently. You’ll make the day better for both you and them.

New actions lead to new places. Try one of these. You’ll be surprised.

Why not try one of my most popular articles? How to change…uh, influence…other people

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Gregg Williams, MFT

Gregg Williams, MFT

Retired therapist. Married 26 years. Loves board games, deep movies. Boundless curiosity about everything. Over 14,600 people are following my articles.