How to screw up your relationships (personal or otherwise)

I’ve made many relationship mistakes (most involving some bad communication). I’ve also been on the receiving end of some nasty gossip and hurtful behaviours. That’s how I know what not to do if you want relationships that go the distance, are fun and challenging in all the right ways.

So, if you want to destroy a relationship:

  1. Hold a grudge
    Because your best friend made a big mistake, perhaps really hurt you, they are now blacklisted. You will never call them again. They are all bad. None of the millions of wonderful little things they have done with and for you matter. You hate them and will never allow them back into your life.

  2. Gossip like a pro
    Talk about your friends, family and work colleagues’ lives. Tell everyone EVERYTHING. Don’t miss out any tiny detail. Make it juicy and filled with emotion. Make sure their friends and important others know every sordid detail, especially if it concerns stuff that they have told you in confidence and they feel really vulnerable or embarrassed about.

  3. Turn up late to every meeting
    Don’t bother to let them know. By now they know you. You will always be late and who cares that their time is just as important as yours. Go ahead, make it a good 20 – 40 minutes. Especially if it’s a dinner date. Just because their food has been timed perfectly for 6.30pm, doesn’t mean you have to be there on time. Let everyone taste the over cooked and dried out meal. Even better, gossip about how bad the food tasted after and tease them about it. You could even offer them a recipe that you have nailed!

  4. Tease your loved ones and acquaintances relentlessly, especially in front of others
    You know the saying “Many a truth is said in jest“. Use these moments to really get some good digs in. Especially if you want to hurt them and make them feel like crap. Even better if other important people are around. You can really get some damaging points across and plant some real seeds of doubt in peoples’ minds about another’s character. If you know someone suffers from a low self esteem, and let’s be honest, most people have twinges of doubt, really hammer home their many character flaws EVERY TIME YOU SEE THEM.

  5. Play with their damaged emotional parts of themselves
    You know this game, when one partner is really needing love, touch and support because they were abandoned or neglected in childhood (just an example, not a definitive explanation), you can play the aloof, cold and rejecting stance. Don’t answer their texts or emails for hours, or even better, days. Ghost them. You know this will really get to them, oh and then tell everyone how NEEDY they are and how much you want your space!

    Or, if they are more aloof and needing space, as they may have been smothered in childhood, really get in their face. Ask them a million questions. Demand that they spend more time with you and cuddle you more. This works especially well if they have just walked in the door from a hard day at work. Give them absolutely NO SPACE TO SETTLE IN. You will really drive them crazy!

    If they are conscious about their looks, you may say words like skinny, scrawny, tubby, fatty, beanpole, giant, midget, or any comment that points out a clear observation about their looks.

  6. Put them down, especially in front of others
    This is similar to the teasing section, however it’s a bit more aggressive. You can say all sorts of things and make sure you use all encompassing words such as, always, every time, you are…, and add to this a vagueness that doesn’t allow them the opportunity to actually change a behaviour.

    For example:

    “You are sooooo embarrassing”
    “You always make a big deal of things”
    “God you are (fill in the blank)”
    “You never ….. “

    Note that you have made them responsible for your feelings, told them it is every time, and not given them any idea how. They now feel like crap, are likely humiliated and have no idea how to change and make things better in future. Excellent destructive sentences for any determined person wanting to screw their relationship up!

  7. Criticism, Contempt, Defensiveness and Stonewalling
    The four horsemen according to relationship experts at the Gottman Institute. They are important if you are serious relationship destroyers. Go check their article out. I’ve written more about The silent treatment or stonewalling, as this seems to be a good one. It’s the flight part of the the stress response and can be perfected over years of practice.

There are many more ways to kill your relationship. These will do it though if you are determined.

If you’d like to save your relationship, well, you now know what NOT to do!