CREATING PEACEFUL GREEN ZONE RELATIONSHIPS
To create peaceful Green Zone Relationships, I ask people to make a list of all their male and female relationships in their personal, social and professional lives and then ask themselves in which Zone do each of these relationships live? In many cases people are pleasantly or unpleasantly surprised with what they find.
Let me share with you my own surprises. A few years ago when I was developing the Green Zone concepts, I made a list of all my friends, which resulted in two surprises. The first surprise was that I had 19 male friends and 20 female friends. My second surprise was that 80% of my male friends were from the East and 80% of my female friends were from the West.
After a lot of reflection I realized that I prefer close friendships over superficial acquaintances. I find it easier to become emotionally close to Eastern men and Western women. Most Western men I met wanted to talk about sports and the stock market which didn’t interest me. While most Eastern women were reluctant to make male friends as they were afraid of the negative reactions of their fathers and brothers, husbands and sons. They were nervous that their family would not approve and their community will judge them harshly. Many Muslim families and communities do not believe that males and females can have platonic relationships.
RED ZONE RELATIONSHIPS
After recognizing their Red Zone Relationships, I ask people to consider letting them go and grieve the loss. When we successfully grieve our painful Red Zone Relationships, we feel lighter and then we have more space in our minds, hearts and lives for healthy Green Zone Relationships. When I became aware of the Red Zone Relationships of my life, I said goodbye to them. After letting go,I realized how much negative space they had occupied in my life.
YELLOW ZONE RELATIONSHIPS
In my opinion we need to try to save our Yellow Zone Relationships. It is worth trying to see if they could be transformed into trusting and friendly Green Zone Relationships. I suggest to people to write a letter to Yellow Zone friends to invite them for an honest heart to heart talk. Such a dialogue makes it clear whether the relationship is worth saving or not. After such talk if both parties feel optimistic then they can start a new chapter of their friendship, and if they do not feel optimistic and there is irreversible damage done to the relationship then they can wish each other well and part respectfully, gracefully and peacefully. Such meetings can be painful but most of the times they are worth it.
GREEN ZONE RELATIONSHIPS
They are worth keeping and cherishing. I suggest to send a card, letter or email to Green Zone Friends acknowledging what special place they have in our hearts. People need to know what they mean to us.
FROM YELLOW ZONE TO GREEN ZONE RELATIONSHIPS
When both parties recognize that they have a Yellow Zone Relationship and they want to make it a Green Zone Relationship, my first suggestion is to promise each other that they are both committed to create a loving relationship.
Second suggestion is to have regular meetings to discuss problems and review progress.
THE SECRET OF GREEN ZONE ROMANTIC RELATIONSHIP
In my opinion the secret is that friendship is the cake and romance is the icing in a loving relationship.
RED ZONE AND GREEN ZONE WORDS
As a writer and a therapist I believe that words, like people, have their personalities. They also belong to different families. There are Red Zone Words and there are Green Zone Words. Let me give you a few examples. Should, Have to, Must, Never, Always belong to the family of Red Zone Words. When people say,
“You should follow the rules”
“You are always late”
“You never listen to me”,
they create an awkward ambience in the relationship and make people uncomfortable.
On the other hand, Like to, Want to and Love to, are Green Zone words. Similarly the romantic words honey, sweetheart, love, are Green Zone words as they make other people feel special and important.
SHOULD – A RED ZONE WORD
When adults hear that word they get uncomfortable because they feel as if they are being treated like a child. Should is used by parents for their children. When we use it for adults they can feel insulted or reprimanded or criticized.
To help people understand the impact of the word should, I explain to them that according to Transactional Analysis, all of us have three parts to our personality: Parent, Adult, Child. When two adults are talking and one of them starts saying should, he/she becomes a parent and to continue the dialogue the other adult has to become a child and that changes the dynamics of the communication. When people understand the dynamics then they have an Adult to Adult or Child to Child communication and feel satisfied with their exchange.
It is amazing to see how people can create Green Zone Relationships when they become aware of their personalities and their communication patterns and are motivated to improve their relationships.