Prevent and Cope With Relational Stress

by: Rossana Condoleo

I am writing while my Tablet PC is playing one of my favourite songs ever - All in Love is Fair, by Stevie Wonder. This used to be the soundtrack of a little romance featuring me and the ex-boyfriend of a real Patrician Princess. It took some time for me to realize that my expectations were unrealistic. The guy was “using” me to forget his ex-girlfriend. I gave him back the self-confidence that the Princess had taken away, but it was not enough. LOVE is not based on gratitude! Therefore, I did what I would do with whatever friend of mine: helped him to find his own way to love happiness. I felt relieved...could relax and come back to my old single life without relational stress. It was a short story of reciprocal missed expectations.

Relational stress is the stress generated by conflicts and unfulfilled expectations inside the social and relationships area. It can badly affect self-confidence, damage immune system and bring to fatigue. Depression often results, with consequences over your overall performance.

Google results for stress (in general) are about 650,000,000; for dad about 655,000,000. My only nephew, aged three, uses the word stress appropriately! But knowing the problem is not enough. You must tackle it and, although this kind of stress is more sneaky and deceptive than others, the means to prevent it and cope with it are simple and at hand!

Whatever the role you cover in life (as head of department, friend, etc.), high relational expectations provide a big deal of Stress.You expect to be appreciated for what you are or what you have done and expect that your colleagues, your friends, your siblings etc. behave and respond according to your wishes, your own set of principles and beliefs, your projections. Disillusionment and conflicts (also internal) may result. You ruminate on why that person was so unfriendly to you, and so doing you consume positive life energy and produce StReSs.Now, while self-questioning is needed to improve your social awareness and skills, it must remain a limited process for you to grow and expand further.

“Stop expecting that everyone likes you:

this is simply not possible”

No one in the history of mankind has ever been universally accepted as a good person, or a good leader, or a good friend, and so on. So who are you to expect that everybody likes you? There is some degree of narcissism in such a pretension! Your colleagues, your friends, your siblings etc. relate to you not only following the amount of positive efforts you put into your relationships, but also following the way they internalize you. And how they internalize you is the product of their own personality, culture, set of principles and beliefs, the time in their life they are “now” experiencing, competion level, social background, religion, gender, age and also the product of their own changing expectations and needs concerning their relationship with you. Too many variables! In other words:

“You are not entirely responsible for your relationships

nor can you do much to control them”

Therefore, if you are sure you have done your best to make your relationships work (you were fair, diligent, generous, respectful), that’s enough! Further efforts to improve your interactions might be vain. ACCEPT THAT! Downsizing your expectations about how you perform socially and your expectations about the feedback you get from social interactions, or some social interactions in particular, set the ground for a stress-free social environment. A less expectation-charged relationship usually works wonders; the people involved feel free to move inside it at their own pace and do not consider an issue eventual failures to meet the standards of the other party. Less conflicts are the positive side effect, as long as relaxed, lighthearted interactions.

“Less Expectations ? Less Conflicts ? Less Stress”

THE SIMPLE RULE: Reduce your relationship expectations and wait to see what it happens. Should the problems/conflicts persist, put emotional (also physical, if needed) distance between you and the people who generate them. You are neither punishing nor banning these people from your life. Just claiming your right to your inner balance and to a happy and fulfilling life.

P.S. Yessss...My Frog reconquered the heart of his Princess in the end, and they lived happily ever after - as far as I know!

Rossana Condoleo is an Eclectic Forward Thinker, an International Writer, Author, and a Life-Coach dedicated to Helping People live a Happy and more Fulfilled Life. Her book, “Happy Divorce: How to turn your divorce into the most brilliant and rewarding opportunity of your life!” is available in paperback and ebook form, on

She is a contributing expert at,,, and Follow Rossana on her FB Fan Page Twitter@rossanacondoleoSee her website You can also contact Rossana by email