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“Humans experience happiness through relationship with another, if we become the type of person to eliminate others or use others for their own end we become the type of person for whom happiness is impossible”
Will, 2011

Utilitarian relationships are where one person is “utilised” as a means to an end by another, a “service” orientated relationship whereby one person pays another to complete a job, task without emotional involvement,  connection and or exchange, prostitution is an extreme example of a utilitarian relationship.

Some experience in their day to day relating with others that a sense of utility can present itself without proper care and consideration leaving them feeling used and neglected, this obviously leads to feelings of frustration and distress and cause conflict, naturally so as no one enjoys feeling utilized or a means to an end. Communication is a key factor when this situation emerges to express to the other person / s this is not an acceptable or enjoyable experience for you.

Using “I” language and focussing on the behaviour you would like to see change and invite the person to explore your perspective, often this awareness shift is enough for people to realise that their behaviour causes you pain and distress and you are then able to negotiate a prefered outcome.

For example:

You may not be aware ________( use persons name).
When you don’t give me notice and expect me to always be available to pick you up I feel ______
(fill in your feeling/s).
I’d like you to consider what this is like for me, pause and give the person time to reflect, it may take a few minutes so be patient, sit still and wait.
( if this is a new style of communicating for you it may feel uncomfortable and if you receive a strong reaction from the other person, let them know you don’t wish to argue about it and maybe they need some extra time, ask them if so let them know that you feel it would be good to take some time to think it through and come back a little later to the conversation, specify a time).

When you are both ready and have had time to reflect and even adjust to the discomfort of a change, express to them what you would prefer instead.

e.g: I prefer that you give me 2 hours notice before you need picking up and I may not be available depending on my plans.

Continue to work it through until you come to a mutually agreeable outcome that makes you both happy, respected and respectful.

Give it a try and perservere it will take some practice change always does 🙂

Vanessa Auditore Human Behaviour & Well being specialist has a practice in St Leonards NSW please contact her for session times and Q&A.

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