A question that I often get asked by clients is, “Am I being unreasonable?” It seems a simple enough question but there are many nuances to this dilemma. How do we know if we are being unreasonable if the experience is relatively subjective? Sure, there are instances where it’s really clear whether someone is right and the other is wring but these are in the minority. For the most part, being unreasonable is down to our culture, values, personal goals, ethics, expectations, individual perceptions and a whole lot more!
What is reasonable behaviour?
Reasonable behaviour can be decided by consensus. The problem with this approach is that it’s not often that you can call upon several other individuals, at the right moment, to find out who is being unreasonable. So the best way to figure out what is reasonable or unreasonable is to set boundaries that two people collaborate and agree upon going forward.
Reasonable behaviour can be different depending on who is involved. Some couples have looser boundaries – they don’t mind a bit of flirting whereas this would be a big no-no for another couple. There are, however, a few standard rules that can be applied to reasonable behaviour:
Thinking about how your behaviour before acting is reasonable. Acting with no regard for the impact upon others is unreasonable.
Having one rule for yorself and another rule for someone else is unreasonable. Hypocrisy is unreasonable. Setting the same rules for everyone concerned is reasonable.
Telling someone who is an adult what they should do or judging them is unreasonable. Maintaining an open mind and offering advice rathing than ordering someone to do something is reasonable. A good friend should offer helpful advice – job done. Whether your advice is taken up or not is beyond your remit.
Expecting people to live at your pace or conform to your ways of living is unreasonable. Compromising and finding a win-win situation where everyone is happy is reasonable.
Being reasonable means you are willing to consider other perspectives and alternatives. Being open minded and non-judgemental is a big step towards being reasonable.
Accepting that people make mistakes is reasonable.
Treating people fairly, with dignity and respect is reasonable behaviour.
Being able to stop and think shows a reasonable nature. A reasonable person will be open to commincation to solve issues.
We can all get caught up in our emotions and feel we have been treated unfairly at times. The reasonable person can separate the emotional aspects and be practical BUT with EMPATHY.
Reasonable behaviour prevails when we stay in ADULT mode and don’t regress into CHILD mode. Child mode involves “tit-for-tat” behaviour and is a massive barrier to healthy relationships and reasonable behaviour goes out the window.
Examples of child mode: You partner doesn’t text you, so you decide not to text them either. Child mode tends to mean the child in us is in control and we either have a tantrum or sulk about something. We play games and we end up causing a lot more chaos. Very unreasonable!
Reasonable behaviour prevails when we don’t slip into PARENT mode. This is where we tend to lecture another person or act holier-than-thou. This approach is not conducive to happy healthy relationships.
Stay in adult mode, be assertive and ask for what you want (don’t demand). It’s your responsibility to make your needs known and not to expect the other person to automatically know what you want.