Healthy Communication

Communication is a skill we use every single day. Preparing for my upcoming wedding and attending Precana this past weekend has me thinking a lot about communication, arguably the number one most important factor in a relationship. To me, healthy communication is the ability to clearly express how we feel. While it sounds so easy, when emotions and different opinions are added into the mix, effective communication becomes quite challenging. I know I’ve gotten pretty darn good at the silent treatment, but it really doesn’t get me anywhere near a resolution…so, I’m committing to be less silent and more communicative. Who’s with me?!

Couple Holding Hands With the new season starting, it’s the perfect time to identify some personal goals and things to work on; communication is a great place to start. Whether you’ve been married for 50 years, you’re in a new relationship, or you just want to get along better with friends and family, communication is something we can all strengthen. Here are some tips on healthy communication and constructive arguments (adapted from A Decision to Love by John and Susan Midgley.)

1. Focus on you. We can’t change others, we can only change ourselves. Instead of “you always/never do this,” use “I wish you would/wouldn’t ___ because it makes me feel ____.

2. Focus on your feelings instead of what others are doing wrong. Feelings aren’t debatable, we all feel how we feel and have the right to express them. Understand that arguing should be an opportunity to share and validate your feelings, not to prove right vs. wrong.

3. Deep breaths. Take a breath and a moment to collect yourself in order to remain calm. As soon as we lose our cool and get heated, that’s when things turn for the worst and communication becomes unhealthy and ineffective.

4. Take turns. Instead of a screaming match where nothing is heard because you’re both going at it at once, allow each other to finish the thought and then respond. It’s much cleaner that way.

5. Maintain eye contact throughout the conversation. This will keep your attention and show respect. Looking at the person will also help to remind you that you’re upset about the disagreement, but that your feelings for the other person have not changed.

6. Keep it simple and focused. Argue about what you’re arguing about instead of bringing up past issues or other topics. Being direct can solve the problem at hand instead of leading into a blow-out fight where neither participant even knows why you’re fighting.

7. Remain respectful. Don’t bring up sensitive spots that don’t even relate just to knock the other person down. An argument can only be healthy when there’s a level of mutual respect. Cheap shots don’t get anyone anywhere.

8. Last but definitely not least: LISTEN. Yes, share your part, but really listen to what the other person has to say. They may just tell you something you didn’t know or change your perspective on the issue at hand. If nothing else, they deserve your attention when expressing their feelings and vice versa. Learning occurs through listening.

One Healthy Breakdown: Arguing is healthy, normal, and inevitable. We all do it. But is it constructive or destructive? Healthy or unhealthy?

One Healthy Fiancé

This week’s One Healthy Guest is someone I know pretty well, my fiancé, Nick! Learn how Nick balances life as a developer, One Healthy Hamptons insider, and of course, the luckiest man in the world…

91. Tell us a little bit about yourself. How did ‘life as you know it’ come to be?

I moved a lot when I was a kid, which meant I got to experience a lot and meet a lot of people, but it wasn’t until settling in the Hamptons that I truly felt at home. Although people come and go, this place is a constant for me. After college, I passed up a good opportunity at a finance firm in Manhattan to work at a small development company out here. My fear was falling into a career that years down the road, would just be a job, not a life. I started at the bottom and worked my way up, learning everyday. I was involved in every aspect of the job. It didn’t take me long to realize that this is my passion. I truly wake up everyday and love going to work, it’s not just a job, it’s my life. I now have more knowledge and confidence in my own designs and skills, but the learning never stops. I’m not sure if my love for real estate was always within me or if it developed with experience, but I know that now it is my true passion.

97 gloverWhen I met my fiancé, Kiley, (you may know her) my focus shifted from friends and fun to building a career and a future. Real life. Our relationship gave me a sense of foundation to really go for it. In 2011, I started the company DeMarco Development (site coming soon!) Kiley and I support each other daily in our own goals. We’re each building our own businesses while building a life together. Now, we live in a farmhouse in Sag Harbor village, close to the village and the ocean. We’re lucky.

2. What’s something you overcame and how?

Moving around a lot as a child was a challenge. It was sometimes a struggle to settle in and get to know new people. I tried to be tough and suck it up. Starting a new life in a new place was always hard, but because of sports and school, I met friends fast and it always worked out. The Hamptons is my home. It’s quiet sometimes, which is great for getting work done and relaxing, but the summer brings fast-paced fun and excitement. It’s the best of both worlds.

3. What is your favorite workout? Favorite weekend activity?

I lift weights most days. Weight lifting at the gym and playing sports, like ice hockey and golf, are my favorite ways to stay active.

As for the weekend, I like to catch up and get a lot of work done on Saturday mornings to plan my week ahead. During the summer, my favorites are golfing, family barbecues, and going to Montauk with friends. I love the relaxed beach-town attitude in Montauk.

47863_553311577123_817022_nAs for the winter, I like to go out for a nice quiet dinner. I love watching football on Sundays, just relaxing on the couch with no agenda.

4. As a young man, developer, fiance, business owner, and a member of the Hamptons community, how do you maintain balance in your life?

Time management is really important. I’m organized (super neat, I put Kiley to shame) and prioritize work and family on top of all else. I like to think that I balance a healthy lifestyle. Going to the gym is crucial for me to release energy, stay in shape, and feel my best. I have to keep up on the job sites, so staying fit is important. I have gotten into such a habit of going to the gym after work that I feel ‘off’ when I don’t go, it’s just a part of my day and I always make time for it. Eating is something I’ve become much more aware of over the past few years. I know I’ll feel better after eating chicken and vegetables than I will after three slices of pizza.

5. Any great healthy/balance tips for other busy men?

When it comes to work, work as hard as possible and then work harder. Same for fun and relaxing. I am pretty strict about my routine during the week, but I definitely let myself relax and indulge on the weekends. Decompressing makes it possible to get up Monday morning and work twice as hard. Also, small changes are better than nothing. I’ve made small, doable, shifts, like choosing Ezekial bread for sandwiches, Greek yogurt, fresh fruit for snacks, and much less frequent fast food. Kiley kind of put a damper on me enjoying fast food, but it’s obviously for the better.

6. What food items do you always keep in your house?

Peanut butter and jelly, Ezekiel bread, hummus, eggs, apples, and Chocolate Haagan Daaz (with chocolate sprinkles.) One Healthy Hamptons pretty much takes over the kitchen, but I’m allowed a little space in the cabinets and the fridge for the above.

7. What is your favorite indulgence?

My favorite food in the world has always been an everything bagel with cream cheese. Other indulgences are watching football on Sundays and Raisinettes at the movie theater.

8. How do you make health a priority in your home?

I live with One Healthy Hamptons, so I don’t have a choice.

9. What is your FAVORITE thing about living in the Hamptons?

I love the non-stop action: the real estate market, summer excitement, and Christmas-time fun.

One Healthy Breakdown: A good balance, time management, organization, and some fun make for success.