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Relationships don’t have to be complicated! 4 rules to simplify and make connections

Make better connections by simplifying your relationships.

We often find ourselves decluttering our homes and simplifying our lives, but relationships are often left out of this equation. Just like our living spaces, our connections with others can benefit immensely from a little simplification.

Studio 5 Relationship Contributor Dr. Matt Townsend believes that we are overcomplicating our relationships, be it with our partners or friends. He suggests four simple rules that can make a profound impact on our most important connections.

Check out Matt’s new Becoming One program at



4 Rules to Simplify Relationships and Make Connections

Rule 1: Be the Grown-Up

According to Matt, the first rule is to respond like the healthy grown-up in the relationship. Instead of reacting emotionally to someone else’s behavior, take a step back, recognize the situation, and respond as your best self. Often, our reactions are learned behaviors from childhood, and recognizing them can prevent unnecessary complications in relationships.

Rule 2: Practice Direct Communication

Direct communication is key. Be explicit about your needs and wants. Matt emphasizes the importance of stating what you need clearly. If you haven’t overtly stated it, then it hasn’t been communicated. Avoid assuming that your partner knows what you want; instead, express your desires without fear of nagging. It clarifies expectations and avoids emotional build-up.

Rule 3: Co-Regulate Each Other’s Stress

In any relationship, managing stress is pivotal. Matt suggests viewing relationships as partnerships in stress management. Help each other stress less and understand each other’s emotional needs. Misunderstandings often arise from mismanaged emotions, and addressing stress as a team can prevent unnecessary conflicts.

Rule 4: Focus on Understanding

To convince your partner that you genuinely care, focus on understanding their perspective. Active listening and paying attention to their emotions create a foundation of trust and empathy. When your partner feels understood, they are more likely to respond positively and feel cared for.

Relationships don’t have to be complicated. By simplifying our approach, being clear in communication, managing stress together, and fostering understanding, we can build stronger, more meaningful connections. Apply these rules to declutter your relationships, making space for genuine love and understanding.

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