It has been a long year of isolation, fear, anxiety, loneliness, loss and restrictions. Not that we could not find some green shoots, some positive aspects with what life brought us. But overall, the consequences of a long period of dealing with a pandemic is showing up in our behaviors and moods. There is a huge increase in demand for mental health resources with predictions of future cardiological issues in the population.

In addition to those health concerns, we have also had to deal with a fiercely divided and polarized community. This is where relationships have taken a major hit. Friendships have been broken, partnerships have been canceled, families have split, and overall, there is an attitude of either avoiding certain subjects in conversation, or worse yet, assessing any connection, new or old, as being with me or against me.

How we arrived at this juncture can be argued and discussed ad nauseum, but that aside, what we need to focus on is how we get out of it to a more accepting, and less judgmental place where we can come together in a win-win situation.

Nowhere is this starker than in your partnership. What do you do if you start to argue on the subject? And see that your views are vastly different from him/her/them? Where things get really difficult is when you start to see differences in values and beliefs. How do you reconcile such differences without building walls that will harm the connection?

We can take a tough situation like this and turn it into an opportunity to learn from, to evolve and to strengthen our relationships. Just ask yourself this question: What is more important to me, my relationship with this person, or that I win the argument or change the other’s behavior? Making this switch requires that we get out of ourselves and focus on the bond, and how our words affect others. The end result typically promotes mutual understanding provided that the relationship is equally significant for both. After all, isn’t it more important to promote love and not conflict and negative feelings?

Always turn a negative situation into a positive situation. ~~Michael Jordan

Author Profile

Janan Broadbent, PhD
Janan Broadbent, PhD
As a psychologist in private practice since 1979, Janan Broadbent, Ph. D. offers individual, couples, group and family therapy, in addition to conducting workshops on topics such as stress management, communication skills and assertiveness. She writes about current issues relevant to relationship building and conflict resolution in LGBTQ and minority populations, with emphasis on health, fitness and education.

Born in Turkey, Dr. Broadbent earned her undergraduate degree in psychology in 1965. At that time, first as a Fulbright Scholar, then as a CENTO Fellow, she received her master's and doctorate degrees in psychology and education from the University of California at Los Angeles. She has taught graduate and undergraduate courses in psychology at St.Mary's College of Maryland, Mt. Vernon College in Washington, D. C., Johns Hopkins University and the College of Notre Dame in Baltimore. From 1981 to 1988, she was also the Director of Counseling at Notre Dame College.
While in graduate school, Dr. Broadbent worked for the Voice of America radio program, writing and recording materials on the cross-cultural college experience. She has been interviewed on various news programs on TV and has received media training.
Dr. Broadbent is a member of the American Psychological Association and has served as the chair for the Public Affairs Board and as a member of the Executive Council of the Maryland Psychological Association.
Dr. Broadbent's office is located at:
Village of Cross Keys, 120 West Quadrangle, 2 Hamill Road, Baltimore, Maryland 21210-1847 phone: 410-825-5577

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