Momentum Podcast: 340

Stop Trying To "Save" Your Relationships

by Alex Charfen

Episode Description

When you feel frustrated with someone, do you talk to them about it or do you keep in inside because you don't want to upset them? You might think that by doing this you're saving someone's feelings but you're not fooling anyone! Eventually, that frustration you're trying to hide will show and you will explode in one way or another. If you suck it up, when it finally does come out it will be ugly. Regardless of what type of relationship you're in transparency is the best policy. 

Full Audio Transcript

Alex Charfen: As entrepreneurs, we often try to modify how we're communicating with somebody in order to help them, in order to save them, in order to help them from feeling bad. The challenge is if you're saving someone's feelings, you're often damaging the relationship.

As entrepreneurs, we love momentum. That feeling of moving forward, of making things happen, of doing things, of getting things done. We don't like the feeling of slowing down or having to tell people something's wrong or getting frustrated or irritated or any of those things. And oftentimes what happens is when we're frustrated with someone, instead of just coming out and telling them, we want to save their feelings, make them feel okay, and so we don't just come out and say, "Hey, I'm frustrated. There's a challenge. There's an issue, there's something wrong here." And so instead, we hold back. We don't let them know and oftentimes we feel like we're saving the relationship or saving someone's feelings or helping them out by not telling them how frustrated we really are. And here's the challenge. When we don't tell someone how we're feeling, we're often causing irreparable damage to the relationship we have with them. Here's why.

When we're not transparent with someone, we're not really telling them what's going on, they're going to know you're not fooling anybody. I want you to know right now, sooner or later they figure out that there's something wrong, there's something off that you're not really positive towards them or that you're having some type of a feeling towards them and the issue is when you're not transparent, that relationship will suffer and it suffers in a lot of different ways.

First, you try and save someone's feelings and you don't tell them what's really going on? You end up in a position where eventually, if you haven't told them what's happening and you're frustrated with them over time and you get increasingly frustrated, you get to the point where now you're just angry with them and you haven't given them a chance to correct along the way.

You're not giving them the real transparent truth and you're not giving them a chance to adjust. And when you're saving their feelings, oftentimes you're not coaching around what you're irritated around, what you're frustrated with, and this isn't just for a work relationship.

This is the same in interpersonal relationships. It's the same in friendships. It's the same in romantic relationships and marriages. You have to be honest with the other person when something's wrong, don't try and save their feelings because here's an equation I watch all the time. It happens with entrepreneurs who have team members. It happens with entrepreneurs and their spouses. It happens with entrepreneurs and their kids. We don't tell the person what's really going on. We save their feelings. We suck it up. We don't frustrate or irritate them, and as a result, we take on that frustration, that irritation ourselves. And that might work for a little while to make it so that we don't have to be transparent and tell them what's going on, but as time builds up, here's the equation that happens.

You get increasingly frustrated, more irritated, you have a harder and harder time with them, and then regardless of what type of relationship it is, there's an explosion. Because eventually people like us just can't hold it in. Some of us explode in huge ways where we actually explode. We yell, we scream. Others of us, there's an explosion internally and then we start treating that person differently, but eventually that sucking it up and not being honest, that saving someone's feelings, damages relationships and causes causes sometimes irreparable damage, especially when it's a team member or a romantic relationship or a spouse. And even when it's our kids, because if we haven't been telling someone what's going on and all the sudden we erupted them or if we haven't been telling someone what's going on and all the sudden we change our behavior towards them? That's incredibly confusing for the other person.

See, you know that you've been saving their feelings. You know that you've been sucking it up. You know that you've been putting up with them or any way you want to describe it, but the problem is they don't. And when they don't know and there's the eruption or when they don't know and your behavior changes and when they don't know and something shifts in the relationship? That's when you damage the relationship. You damage trust and you damage their ability to understand what you really want.

And so, it doesn't matter what type of relationship you're in. Transparency is the best policy for you and you don't have to be mean. You don't have to yell. You don't have to be rude. But letting somebody know how you're feeling and what's going on for you and where you're frustrated or irritated, uh, where you feel constrained or a lack of momentum is the best thing that you can do in a relationship.

And if you do this, when it happens, you will be present and you'll be aware and you'll be able to do it in a way that's constructive and productive so that that person can adjust and understand what's going on for you. If you hold onto it and you wait and you stuff it down and you "save the relationship" and suck it up. When it finally does come out, you and I both know, chances are it can get ugly. I've watched it over and over again. I've watched entrepreneurs damage relationships with their team members. I've watched entrepreneurs damage relationships with their spouses or somebody that they're dating. I've watched entrepreneurs damage their relationships with their kids. And the problem is when we're sucking it up and putting up with things and not telling the other person on our side, often that equation gets to the point where when we finally blow, we feel justified.

When we finally change our behaviors, we feel like they deserve it. When we finally pull back or do whatever we're going to do, when we can't take it anymore, we feel like they've actually earned it. The problem is, if you haven't told them along the way, they've never had a chance to adjust.

So stop trying to save people's relationship to save people's feelings and save the relationship. Instead, be transparent with the people around you. Be real. Tell them what's really going on and you'll see your life move forward so much faster and you won't be carrying around the pressure and noise of a lack of transparency. You won't be putting up with the people around you. You won't be sucking it up. Instead, you'll be transparent. The people around you will know where they stand and you'll be shocked at how quickly your relationships can improve.

If you're ready to improve your relationship with yourself, your relationship with others, and your relationship with your business, go to Let us show you the keystone habits that will help you grow as an entrepreneur in all facets of your life, including the three alignments, alignment with self, relationships and business. That's where rubber meets the road and you really accelerate as an entrepreneur. Go to and check it out.

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