How to be laid back

Tired of always feeling driven? 8 tips to help chill you out.

How to be laid back

You feel like you’re always moving, you’re constantly obsessing, you have never-ending to-do lists. Oh, to be able to slow down, be more laid-back and less driven without having to get stoned or drunk.

You can. Generally, there are two sources for your too-driven life: anxiety and going on auto-pilot. Anxiety is the constant looking ahead to the future, the what-ifs, the worries that propel you endlessly forward and keep you from appreciating the present.

Autopilot is when you’re doing what you do because you do it. Your habits and routines and the demands of others remove any conscious decision-making. Instead, you go on autopilot.

Time to slow it down? Here are some tips to help you regain control and move at a better pace:

1. Have a vision

Before actively embarking on this new adventure, step back and think about how you ideally would like your everyday pace of life to be different. Maybe less hectic overall, feeling less anxious, building in time during the day for you to just take a breather or some quiet time by yourself. Or something even more simple, like being able to stand in a line without getting irritated.

Your vision can help you set some goals that are important to you, can help you set new priorities to replace your old, all-too-familiar ones.

2. Be aware of when you are going on autopilot

I know, you’re probably already aware of the built-in challenge here: You need to slow down enough to be aware that you’re not slowing down. One way to do this is to check in with yourself, say, every hour. How are you feeling? How is your pace? Can you take a few deep breaths, can you slow down what you are doing? Do you need a short break?

By simply asking yourself these questions, you are stepping out of that unconscious action, becoming more aware of the moment, more aware of you and what you need right now.

3. Focus on wants, not shoulds

This is a big, important one. Shoulds are the rules, the expectations laid out by that parent, schoolmarm, or drill sergeant in our heads who is constantly wagging its finger, telling us to go, go, go, be efficient, get things done, no slacking for you. Success is measured by how much you get done, by how much you please others.

Time to shut those voices down. What is getting lost in this way of living is what you want—learning to listen not to the shoulds, but to your gut reactions, your desires. This doesn’t mean you take off from work at 11:00 and head for the beach (though that might actually not be a bad idea), but more simply building into your decisions your own reactions and needs.

Here you may take a mental health day off from work, or allow yourself to go out for lunch rather than eating at your desk, or not spend four hours on Saturday cleaning your house or apartment, but go for a hike instead.

It is not about what you do, but learning to pay attention to those gut reactions and using them as information to tell you what you need, what’s missing from your life.

4. Practice saying no

This is about setting boundaries, which helps counter both the autopilot and the anxiety. Here you don’t automatically raise your hand when someone asks for a volunteer for the committee at work, or sign up to be the assistant coach for your kid’s soccer team. Instead, you bypass the shoulds and focus on your gut.

And even if you do go on autopilot, volunteer for the committee, and only realize later that this is not a good idea, go ahead and take the bold step of telling them you’ve changed your mind.

But expect to feel guilty and worried that someone is going to get upset. This is normal because you’ve broken some learned rule, but ride it out, pat yourself on the back for taking care of you.

5. Learn to delegate

This obviously ties into 3 and 4, but is also about managing anxiety through control. Some people have a hard time delegating to others because they are always stepping up and being the pleaser. But some have a hard time delegating because they are anxious that others aren’t going to do as good a job as themselves. They are perfectionistic, untrusting, need control.

The problem with this is that if you feel you and only you need to do it all, you’re always going to wind up having a lot on your plate and to-do list. Time to bring others into the mix, time to maybe lower some expectations, rearrange priorities, and sort out what’s really important and what is less so.

Like the guilt for saying no, anxiety will creep in if you let go a bit. That’s okay, a sign that you’re taking better care of yourself.

6. Be proactive rather than reactive

If you are always responding to others, always reacting to problems and situations coming at you, it’s easy to feel driven, because essentially these others and situations are setting your pace. Yes, this may be the nature of your job or your responsibilities as a parent, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t have some control.

Here you want to practice being more proactive. Rather than seeing what comes at you, plan out in advance your own priorities—what you need to get done, for example, in the next week at work, or building in time for yourself when kids are taking a nap (and proactively get them to take a nap).

This planning in advance stops the autopilot, builds in wants and needs, and helps you set priorities to counter the everything-is-important stance that anxiety creates.

7. Explore ways of lowering your overall anxiety

Here you may want to consider practicing meditation, doing breathing exercises at regular intervals during the day, or seeing a therapist. This is about having tools to help you lower your anxiety threshold and get centered in the present.

8. Plan experiments

You don’t just do all-of-the-above nor just make this another item on your to-do list. Instead, you step back and proactively take small but significant baby steps towards reaching your vision.

Here you practice focusing on your breathing when you’re feeling impatient standing in line and tell yourself that this is a first-world problem, not the end of the world. Here you plot out on Thursday what you might want to do on Saturday rather than clean the house, or better yet experiment with allowing that Saturday to be completely want-driven, or deliberately doing everything on Saturday at half speed. Here you put on your calendar going out to lunch with a friend three times in one week rather than eating at your desk, and better yet, make it a leisurely lunch as well.

By setting up these experiments, you step out of your autopilot routines, practice moving at a different pace, build up your confidence in stepping outside your comfort zone, and begin to develop a lifestyle that you really want.

With practice, these will all become easier; your head will begin to slow down as your pace does; you’ll create a new normal and move towards becoming that more laid-back person you want to be.

But don’t rush to revamp yourself, don’t put it on your to-do list—that’s only doing more of the same. Instead, take a deep breath. Slowly changing is just fine.

How to be laid back

If you’ve recently found yourself stressed, on edge, or just generally unhappy, you may need to take a look at these tips to become more laid-back. It’s not always easy to let things go and try to relax, but they’re pivotal to living a full, happy, and healthy life. The more you follow these tips to become more laid-back, the happier you’ll become!

Table of contents:

1 Let Things Go

Let things roll off your back. It’s easier said than done at first, but it will be the biggest tip when you finally perfect it. Don’t let the little things bother you. Personally, it has been one of the most important tips to become more laid-back in my own life. Don’t get mad when someone steals your parking spot, or cuts you off, or any other mundane annoyance offends you. In the words of Frozen, let it go!

2 Schedule Your Time Wisely

Planners are your best friend. Stop trying to multitask, because it will only stress you out more. The better you plan your life out, the more laid-back you will become. It seems like a simple tip, but putting in a conscious effort to schedule your time better will make all the difference!

3 Find Something That Relaxes You

Whether it’s yoga, reading, napping, or even making something with your hands, find something that relaxes you and make time for it. It can be easy to forgo our favorite relaxing activities because we think we don’t have time for them. However, we must make time for them. They’re just as important as the “necessary” tasks we must get done!

4 Don’t Let People Get to You

There is always going to be people in your life who endlessly annoy you. However, in today’s world, it’s easier than ever to cut them out of your life. Mute them on Twitter, hide their posts on Facebook, and ignore their phone calls and texts. You will be surprised at just how happier you become when you “hide” people from your everyday life.

5 Enjoy Life More

Sometimes it’s hard to actively remember, but we need to enjoy life more. It shouldn’t be difficult, yet for some reason it is. Take time to enjoy a gorgeous sunset, or take the day off to spend time with your family by the pool. You can’t get those moments back, and wouldn’t you rather remember the great memories you had with your family rather than the day you spent slaving away at work?

6 Put One Foot in Front of the Other

This tip has personally been a lifesaver when it comes to relaxing. Don’t try to do everything at once. It will only stress you out and overwhelm you. Do everything with one step at a time. You’ll be surprised at how much easier it is to get everything done when you’re worrying about one task at a time rather than running around trying to get them all done at once!

7 Take Breaks

You need to recharge, whether that means from a long day at work or a stressful day at school. You can’t function on a few hours of sleep, even if you’re telling yourself you can. Make an effort to sleep longer. It will ultimately relax you and make your quality of life so much better.

What are your tips for becoming a more laid-back person? Leave them in the comments!

In the New Year, my husband and I will be moving across the country from New York to L.A. and I think it’s the perfect time to finally answer that question.

You see, I suffer from anxiety and depression and a 3,000-mile road trip is a big stressor. After years of therapy, I’m proficient at avoiding preemptive anxiety. I don’t take an “everything that can go wrong will go wrong” attitude and I don’t immediately wilt at the first sign of defeat. But in the moment, I have a lot of trouble pumping the brakes and applying coping strategies.

I tend to overplan and control everything. If things don’t go according to plan, I feel like I’ve failed. As the stress builds, I don’t remember to tell myself to stop what I’m doing and focus on my breathing. Instead I explode with anxiety and find the odds insurmountable. I don’t take the time to reorient my train of thought and, while I focus on the negative and feel overwhelmed, depression starts to drag me down like quicksand.

I know this pattern well. It makes it difficult for me to try new things. It made it very hard to settle in when I moved to Brooklyn eight years ago.

But I also know that situations like these are the perfect opportunity to sharpen coping tools, get into the habit of using new strategies and reacting to life differently. I’d like to be more laid-back. I no longer want to make time for worry and waste my life thinking about every bump in the road. I want to give up “stressing” as my hobby.

So what do I mean when I say laid-back? I like to think of it as being able to roll with the changes and embrace spontaneity.

laid-back /lādˈbak/ (adjective informal): relaxed and easygoing.

Synonyms: relaxed, easygoing, free and easy, casual, nonchalant, unexcitable, imperturbable, unruffled, blasé, cool, equable, even-tempered, nonconfrontational, low-maintenance, insouciant, calm, unperturbed, unflustered, unflappable, unworried, unconcerned, unbothered.

I’m not laid-back. I never have been. I envy people who don’t go to pieces when they have to improvise. The funny thing is that I can improvise quite well, but instead of meeting it head on with confidence, I stress over it first and stress is a killer. Here’s a succinct explanation from LiveScience:

Stress causes deterioration in everything from your gums to your heart and can make you more susceptible to illnesses ranging from the common cold to cancer, according to a review essay in the Dec. 2007 issue of the Association for Psychological Science’s magazine Observer.

If I follow the advice of self-help author Rosie Molinary instead of a steadfast New Year’s resolution, I should pick a single word to be my guide for 2015 and that word is laid-back.

I know it won’t be easy, but I believe change is possible. Sure, maybe some people are born with a laid-back temperament, but we can change the way we perceive and react to the world with practice. For instance, people would never describe me today as a shy person or a wallflower, but five to 10 years ago that’s just what I was. How did I change? I’ve found that the best way to get comfortable with something that makes me uncomfortable is to expose myself to it. If you strategically place yourself in the position you fear the most, you learn to be competent in that position. (No, I’m not a CBT guru, but it has worked wonders for me.)

So I’ll be exposing myself to a lot of potential stress in the coming year:

  • Packing up the apartment.
  • Selling most of our furniture.
  • Driving across the country, visiting family in three different states along the way.
  • Traveling with a French bulldog who is allergic to almost everything, including the very yeast that occurs naturally on his skin.
  • Subletting and then finding a new apartment.
  • Getting new furniture.
  • Trying not to spend all our savings.
  • Hoping my husband gets a job soon after we arrive.
  • Buying a new car — because people who don’t live in NYC have cars.
  • Getting new drivers’ licenses, health insurance, and voter registrations.
  • Learning a new city and a new way of life.
  • Making new friends!
  • And everything else I haven’t thought of.

It bears noting that I’m also traveling with my laid-back husband, who’s a pretty great model for optimism and rolling with the punches.

All the while, I plan on writing about my experience, both here on Psych Central (home to the most insightful audience in the world) and hopefully put a book together as well.

I think my first and primary goal is going to be learning to take a step back when I’m beginning to feel overwhelmed or unhappy, instead of letting it grow and fester. I want to ask myself two questions: Is this how I want to feel? and How did we get here? When in doubt, remember what Richard Carlson said in Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff: “The truth is, in order to experience a feeling, you must first have a thought that produces that feeling.”

What do you think about my plan? Do you suspect a series of meltdowns are in my future? Do you think people can cultivate their own temperament? Where would you start?

How to be laid back

There’s a completely unfair stigma attached to being a “laid back” person. People automatically assume that, in the absence of an obsessively competitive, uptight personality, laid back people are apathetic losers who are destined to achieve nothing and subsequently be miserable. Uh, there is nothing accurate about any of that. According to Reuben Yonatan for the Huffington Post, 83 percent of American workers say they feel stressed out by their jobs, and 76 percent name work as the primary source of stress in their lives. The United States is a “pick yourself up by your bootstraps” culture: We’re taught from birth that we all have the power to be professionally and financially successful, if only we work hard enough. While this message is inspirational for many, it also instills in us the idea that it is В­only by working our proverbial asses off—spending late nights frenetically scribbling out reports and ignoring our families and friends—that we can ever experience true success.

The truth is that you don’t have to be a hyper-competitive, highly strung workaholic to be a high achiever in your professional life—and, in fact, this approach to your job can often be damaging to the quality of your work, your office relationships, and your ultimate success. By taking the time to relax and take care of your health, you can increase your creativity, improve your social relationships (professional and otherwise), and be generally happier. Here are five reasons that you don’t need to burn the candles at both ends to get ahead.

1. We’re more creative when we’re relaxed

Inc. reports that the human brain experiences heightened creativity when it’s relaxed. Brigid Schulte, author of Overwhelmed: Work, Love, and Play When No One Has the Time, writes,

Neuroscience is finding that when we are idle, in leisure, our brains are most active. The Default Mode Network lights up, which, like airport hubs, connects parts of our brain that don’t typically communicate. So a stray thought, a random memory, an image can combine in novel ways to produce novel ideas.

So if you’re constantly running around like a madwoman, you might literally be stressing yourself out of your Next Big Idea.

2. Your stress can bring down your whole team

A 2013 Wall Street Journal article explored how one person’s stress can negatively impact an entire workplace. The report found that stress could be “contagious” among a team at work, causing everyone undue anxiety and bringing down the whole team’s productivity. Lowering your stress at work can thus have a positive effect, not only on you, but on your coworkers. Being part of a more productive work team can in turn bring you more success.

3. Sleep will improve your memory and make you happier at work.

You might think that staying up into the wee hours of the morning to work on that report is good for your job, but what you’re really doing is damaging your brain function. According to Health, getting adequate sleep can improve your memory. Furthermore, sleep can help relieve depression and increase emotional stability. In an interview for Health, Dr. Raymonde Jean, director of sleep medicine and associate director of critical care at St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital Center in NYC, says

A lack of sleep can contribute to depression. … A good night’s sleep can really help a moody person decrease their anxiety. You get more emotional stability with good sleep.

Being more emotionally stable will make you more effective when you’re working, and your coworkers will find your easier to be around.

4. Stress is bad for your general health

Stress can affect health in myriad ways, ranging from the mildly inconvenient to the life threatening. According to the Mayo Clinic, stress can cause headaches, muscle pain, insomnia, chest pain, and stomach upset. Over prolonged periods, stress can contribute to obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes. All of these conditions are undesirable in and of themselves, of course, but even if all you care about is work, think about this: Your efficiency and creativity will surely suffer if you physically feel like crap all the time, and you can’t go to work at all if you have a heart attack. So take a deep, relaxing breath, and take care of yourself!

5. A sense of humor makes everything better

When you’re not an angsty stress-monster, you can make space in your work life for a healthy sense of humor. Jacquelyn Smith writes in Forbes that humor can improve the work place in a number of ways: a well-placed joke will make people happier about working with you and can help create human connections between employers and staff. Humor can also increase worker creativity, boost office morale, and improve overall productivity.

One of the first decisions – consciously or unconsciously – people make when they become the boss is what their management style is going to be. Some decide theirs is going to be “laid-back.” Unfortunately, a laid-back style rarely, if ever, works. It is frustrating to the employees, customers, and the owner.

So, how did you become a business owner?

➢ Did you start your company?

➢ Or maybe you bought an existing business?

➢ Was the management of the family business finally turned over to you?

➢ Were you an employee who rose through the ranks?

No matter how you got there, it is an exciting time when you first become an owner. You get the chance to put your mark on the business with nobody telling you what to do. You can do things the way you think they should be done – “better and different.”

There are many reasons why having a laid-back management style does not work; here are two of the most common.

Complacent vs. laid-back

Commonly, owners who identify themselves as laid-back are not, what they are is complacent. Complacency, at best, is an ineffective management style. At its worst, it is harmful and has been the cause of many business failures. Complacent people have strong denial about the health of their company. They deliberately ignore problems, complaints, danger signs and instabilities with their financials, employees, products, and customers. Owners who are complacent say things like, “We’ve always done it this way.” “I don’t want to rock the boat.” “Let’s wait and see.” “Maybe next year.”

Complacent management results in: decreased productivity, declining quality, employee dissatisfaction, poor cost controls, theft of materials/money/product/time, not enough cash flow, poor bidding/estimating processes and customer complaints. All of which directly affect the bottom line and the long term success of the company.

Inefficient vs. efficient

Laid-back owners commonly have feelings of – unjustified – pride and satisfaction in their management style. They think that being a “nice guy” is enough to be an effective manager. It is not. For a company to survive long-term nice guys also need to provide accountability, metrics, leadership (not friendship), structure, communication, incentives, and vision. You can be laid back, but you also must be active.

By far, the most significant problem employees have with laid-back owners is, “he’s a nice guy, but a lousy boss.” Here are some of their complaints:

  • He doesn’t hold anyone accountable. People get away with stuff all the time.
  • He doesn’t keep his word. He says he’s going to do something but doesn’t do it.
  • I gave up trying to make things better. He seems to listen but never does anything about problems.
  • The good workers get overloaded; while he lets the bad workers get by.
  • I never know what is going on, neither does anyone else.
  • I would like to know how I’m doing; there is never any feedback.
  • The good people are ignored, even though we do all the work. I want to move up in the company, but no one notices the job I’m doing.
  • Everybody knows he’s a soft touch. If someone doesn’t want to do something they go to him and they don’t have to do it. He undermines other bosses all the time.

Every business owner wants to know how to attract and keep good employees. Overwhelmingly, good employees say they want to work in an environment where they can be efficient and productive. They want communication and structure. Finally, they want a workplace that has fair, evenly applied rules, incentives, and expectations.

How to be laid back

Their laid-back management ‘style’ is the reason they give for avoiding the responsibilities of good leadership. However, good leadership is not a matter of intensity; it is a matter of integrity.

At Cogent Analytics, we never stop looking for ways to improve your business and neither should you. So, check out some of our other posts for helpful business information:

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Some people just seem to coast through life without a breeze and are too laid back for their own good. They don’t worry much about things and just let shit happen. There are some downsides to that because things don’t always end up going the way you had planned. Here are the struggles every laid back person has to deal with:

13) People think you’re lazy

There is a fine line between being laid back and being lazy if you’re laid back you just don’t stress about things as much. You still get things done, but you have your own way of doing things. If you’re lazy, you struggle to get things done and will try everything you can to avoid doing what you have to.

12) You wish you could care about drama

When someone tells you a secret about someone you don’t really react, you just say “whatever”. You don’t even act surprised. Most of the time you couldn’t care about who did what and where. For once you would actually wish you could care about it, but you’re just not concerned about that kind of thing.

11) You are always the last one to get ready

If you’re going out with your friends, you’re always the last one to get ready. You wait until the last minute to get out of your sweatpants and into your proper clothes. A lot of the time you rush to get ready and end up being late when you could have easily been on time.

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10) People think you’re a pushover

If you’re laid back it doesn’t mean you’re a pushover, you can still have strong beliefs and values. You might not stress about it a lot, but if someone tries to challenge you and what you stand for you won’t back down.

9) You shy away from confrontation

You might not be a pushover, but you do your best to stay away from confrontation. You might get mad and then realise that it’s not worth it and just leave it, while others might actually go through with it.

8) High energy people freak you out

You don’t get people who are super hyper and you just wish they would chill for a minute. They have so much energy and you don’t really know how to deal with them. They start to give you a headache any time they are around.

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7) You’re actually worried that you don’t stress out enough

You’re so laid back that it’s gotten to the point where you worried that you don’t stress out when things happen. Nothing phases you and no matter what happens, you never get stressed. You think there is something wrong with you because you never stress out when things go sour.

6) You know you could give more effort, but you decide not to

At best you give at 70% the rest of the time it’s just over 50%. You know that if you applied yourself that you could actually do a better job, but slacking has become such a routine that you don’t know any other way.

5) Your greatest struggle is getting up in the morning

You wake up at the right time and all, but for some reason, you just lie there and your mind wanders. Next thing you knows 20 minutes have past and you still need to have a shower and get dressed. It really takes every fiber of your being to get out of bed and wash.

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4) You’re so laid back, that people think that you’re always stoned

You might light a j every now and then, but you’re not always baked. They see you stoned once and they get the idea that you’re a huge pothead. You will always be known as the one who smokes weed in your friend group, that’s for sure.

3) You find it hard to get motivated

So you come to the point where you need to start going to the gym or learning to drive. You keep putting it off and will make any excuse not to do it. You just accept how things are, you don’t worry so much about the consequences.

2) Some people don’t really understand your point of view

For those that are a bit too high strung and high maintenance, they don’t understand where you’re coming from. They’re too “busy” to get to know you so they make judgments about you before they even know your name.

1) You’re surprised when things don’t turn out the way you thought they would

You’re laid back and just go with the flow and have a sort of whatever ever happens, happens mentality. You think everything will turn out ok in the end and then when it doesn’t your surprised by it. You wonder why the thing that you put the least effort into didn’t go your way. It brings your whole way of thinking and outlook on life into question.

How to be laid back

Lately, I’ve noticed a theme with female clients. Really, it’s a theme that stretches far beyond my own clients and is becoming increasingly prevalent in today’s society. Many women, in and out of relationships, are striving to be seen as that calm, cool, “oh, that’s okay” person in the eyes of their significant other while compromising their true selves. The thing is, there’s a danger that comes with being too laid back.

Before we venture on further into this topic, I’d like to point out an important distinction that there are lots of people who really are, just naturally, very laid back and are perfectly satisfied with their lives and relationships. In this post, I’m speaking specifically about those who wish to be perceived that way at the cost of their own well-being. It’s for the women who aim to be seen as always cool, always laid back and as just going with the flow – even when, inside, they know they’re sacrificing what their heart desires.

When I say I’ve noticed this theme as of late, I should note that I’ve especially noticed it amongst strong, independent women. After a day of killing it in the boardroom or jetting across the country for a speaking gig, they arrive home to their personal lives, leaving their opinion, needs and desires at the door. They want the man they are dating to say to their friends, “I’m dating this woman who is great, she’s so laid back about everything” and then hear of how cool his friends think you are for that. I swear it sounds like I am taking this out of a page of the high school chronicles, but it’s out there.

Why is this happening and what sort of effects can it have on a woman and her relationship?

This “laid back” and “go with the flow” type of attitude is near constantly encouraged in mainstream movies, television and literature. Think of the last time you watched a romantic comedy. It is generally the aloof, detached woman who captures his interest. Talk about mixed messages!! No wonder it’s confusing.

Now, I’m not saying that women have decided to base how they behave in relationships off of romantic comedies, but I am trying to show you just one example of how this type of thinking has become so incredibly mainstream. Media has focused on the extremes.

The problem with trying not to ask for “too much,” and thereby not asking for what she truly needs or wants, is that dissatisfaction is sure to continue to build on the inside. If she rarely voices her needs or desires on the outside, there’s nowhere else for them to go. Naturally, this can lead to extreme resentment of her partner – even though her partner may have no idea she’s feeling this way. It’s a slippery slope and, while initially she may be trying to maintain a calm collective for the benefit of her partner, it can wind up hurting him and the relationship. I’ve actually seen this as a major cause of some break ups.

Another problem with this kind of behaviour is that it often goes hand-in-hand with completely ignoring major warning signs or big issues like money problems, infidelity, addiction, manipulation and the like. If a woman feels or believes that she’ll be better received, liked or appreciated by letting things go time and time again, bigger and bigger relationship issues can sneak through the cracks without the attention they need and deserve.

So, how does a woman in this situation find her way out of it?

Rebalancing in a new relationship may be easier, as you may have just recently met and there’s room for you to shift a bit and shed old habits. In a long-term relationship or marriage, on the other hand, you may find it a bit more difficult expressing yourself and voicing your needs and desires. However, chances are you have history, rapport and trust that will help you and your partner navigate through you shedding your “too laid back” skin. Just be careful to avoid waking up one day and suddenly announcing you are not okay with all the things he thought were just fine. Approach the topic with the desire to build a stronger understanding.

Before doing anything, I encourage you to take a half hour to yourself and truly evaluate your current circumstances, decision making process and the way you interact with the opposite sex. Maybe he’s your new boyfriend, a guy you’ve gone on a couple of dates with or your long-term partner. Whatever your individual case may be, really think on it and allow yourself to recognize how and when you just say “OK” when you’re actually feeling something entirely different on the inside. Starting there will allow you to more clearly recognize the behaviour you wish to change and will help you find examples to share. Then, it’s up to you to step outside of the laid back comfort zone and express yourself. Start with really small things to build your confidence in becoming “laid back AND having your needs met/opinions heard”. For example, if the fact you would really rather stay in with him this Friday night rather than go out, just say it or if you’d rather he didn’t always reach for his phone during a romantic walk together, then express it. Come to think of it, if you haven’t already, visit my homepage and download my Inspire Authentic Communication worksheet and audio. I assure you that your relationship, partner and self will be thankful you did.

Like what you are reading and want to know more about working one on one with me? Contact me for a free 20-minute coaching call.

How to be laid back

I will never stop being weirded out when I scroll through my Facebook and see couples breaking up, fighting, and making up, all openly on social media. It seems that the “cool” thing to do in relationships these days is to be as jealous and insecure as possible – checking each other’s text messages and emails, always snooping and doubting and gossiping – and to play out every mini-melodrama online for the world to see. How is this okay with so many people? Why are so many people content to toil in such tedious, tense relationships? It wears me out just watching it from afar.

My exhaustion doesn’t stop at social media head games either: my Facebook timeline has turned into a never-ending parade of couples going hiking and skydiving and traveling all over the country makes me feel tired. And not like in a “ugh, enough stop it” tired, but a literal fatigue, as though I, too am being dragged through cliffs and pushed out of planes and posed in front of ancient sculptures. Some couples are just so active and high-energy, and while I think that’s super neat, I could never be that girlfriend who suggests horseback riding as a casual weekend activity. And I don’t think I would ever be able to date a guy who would be into horseback riding as a weekend activity. I also think horses are kind of scary, but that’s neither here nor there.

When I’m hanging out with my guy, we’re generally not doing much. We both work crazy hours, so when we do have time together, we catch up on Modern Family and eat popcorn for dinner at, like, 9PM. When we go to shows, we sit against the back wall and slowly sway against each other with beers in hand. When we talk about our wedding, we agree on “eventually” rather than a set date. We’re not exciting, and that’s totally cool with us. Every relationship has its own personality. If yours is super chill, you might be all about these non-committal, laid back aspects:

1. You eat pizza in bed for dinner

Because when life gives you pizza, you stay in bed and eat it, and only get up when you need ranch to dip with (if you’ve never had ranch with your pizza, you are not living life its fullest potential.) You two are sometimes just cool with snacking in bed in your PJs because even though it’s lazy and unhealthy, it just feels kind of amazing.

2. If you hate his show, you just go do your thing in the other room

I know some girls who feel like it’s their responsibility to endure hours of sports they don’t care about, simply because there’s one TV and if it’s on, both of you should be in front of it no matter what, like a two-for-one package. News flash: It’s totally not your responsibility to watch shows that bore the shit out of you. My fiancé likes to watch Russian dash cam videos on Youtube, and literally does this for like two hours. I have no positive or negative feelings toward insane and foreign car crashes caught on tape, but if I don’t feel like watching them, I go in the other room and get down with Gossip Girl. It’s okay to disconnect from time to time.

3. Both of you can go party separately with friends without drama

Even though you’re bound to develop a shared group of friends the longer you date each other, you’ll still want to hang out with your old college or high school friends. And this doesn’t mean dragging your boyfriend along every time you meet up with them at a bar. You two can have fun on your own and not feel jealous or overprotective.

4. A night on the couch in front of Netflix is everything

You *could* go to the movies, but that requires putting on pants, which probably isn’t happening.

5. You can fart in front of each other

A fart used to be this shocking, embarrassing dilemma that would make you want to disappear forever and wish you had never been born. Now? You could care less about what he witnesses your body do.

6. You’ve unabashedly went number two at his apartment

Sometimes you have to warn him before he goes into the bathroom after you, but hey – everybody poops.

7. If you have dirty hair, you don’t feel self conscious about it around him

When your relationship was shiny and new and delicate, you always, always, always showered before hanging out. Because you might end up having sex, cuddling, or engaging in some kind of physical action that calls for the close proximity of your bodies. But after awhile, it’s not such a big deal if you forget to shower or wash your hair. It’s not like you’re living in the Victorian era and smell like blue cheese.

8. Not being threatened if your boyfriend’s best friend is a girl (and vice versa)

Jealousy is annoying. Especially if it’s unwarranted. The best way you can create tension and resentment in your relationship, is to force your boyfriend to end a friendship simply because his friend has a vagina. And if your boyfriend gets all uppity about you hanging out with other dudes, it just creates an uncomfortable, maddening vibe for everyone.

9. Fights are usually resolved immediately

Since fighting takes energy and time, laid-back couples don’t really feel like indulging in it. It’s totally healthy to argue, but stretching it out for the drama and attention is totally unnecessary. Unless you have epic make-up sex.

10. You nap together

Why do yoga together when you can just nap together? It’s basically the same thing, minus all the physical activity.

11. New Years Eve is the antithesis of your relationship

It’s an obnoxious holiday that requires dressing up and going to crowded places, aka, the WORST.

12. You two are able to hang around and read books

Like, during the day. For multiple hours at a time. Without turning on the TV, or getting bored. It’s almost exactly like Silent Reading Time in first grade except no one is forcing you to. Hooray chill adulthood.

13. Sex is awesome whenever, wherever

Handcuffs, lingerie, and whipped cream are cool and everything, but they require efforts that could be employed in other areas. Experimenting without feeling the need to light up a thousand vanilla candles is the way to go. Always.