Published online by Cambridge University Press: 20 May 2021
To matter in relationships is to feel valued and to add value. Strong bonds enable us to feel loved, appreciated, recognized, and affirmed. This is the first part of the equation. The second part is helping one another add value to the relationship and the world. In this chapter we focus on the bonds we have with people close to us: family, friends, and fellow workers. If you want to experience mattering in a relationship it is essential to express, and not just think, positive things about your loved ones. If you want to matter in the inner circle you don’t have to avoid conflict – you just have to know how to handle it. Healthy relationships are characterized by effective management of conflict, not by the avoidance of it, as it is all but inevitable. Many people stay away from conflict because they think that it is the end of the world. They close up, shut down, and avoid addressing the conflict, leaving neither party satisfied. But well-managed conflict can lead to intrapersonal and interpersonal growth and to a stronger relational bond.
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