A Bartender's Guide to Measuring Up in your Relationships

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     Some of my favorite bars to work at have a lot in common with my most favorite relationships. The way time flies when you’re having fun, great bonds formed, I learned a lot, I felt energized and motivated, and a genuine desire to please. Bartending teaches you how to be diplomatic, how to listen, how to put others needs first, and how rewarding that can be. You also learn to not put up with crap, when you’re in way over your head, and when to move on to the next one.
    Being in a relationship can be similar to having a job. There are different levels of commitment, probationary periods, time spent earning trust, benefits, promotions, mistakes are made, and, when necessary, termination of the agreement altogether. Both can be rewarding if handled correctly. 

     Approach your relationship, whatever stage it’s in, the way you would your job. Make it a priority. Work at it, stay focused, and don’t focus on being “fired.”

     While some relationships are more like a long-term career, others are similar to an “At Will” Employer. You’re called when needed but free to explore other options, and they owe you no explanation if they decide to terminate, and can do so at any time, and vice versa because there is no expressed commitment.
     A lot of times in the beginning, you don’t know how it’s going to go. However, not knowing how it will go when you’re hired for a job doesn’t make you walk around at work with the constant fear of being fired. Instead, you do your job to the best of your ability, having some fun along the way, hoping your efforts will be recognized, appreciated, and rewarded. This thinking can be very useful for a relationship as well, particularly a new one.
    One of the best ways to keep your mind off of what might happen is to make sure you’re getting what you want from the relationship as well, and not simply going along with what the other person wants just to have him/her. Because, like your job, if you don’t have a genuine passion for what you’re doing, you won’t give it your all. Instead it’ll become a burden to you. You’ll start showing up late, or calling off plans all together. And your partner will notice your lack of enthusiasm the way a boss would, and respond accordingly, either with a warning to do better or ending your situation altogether.

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     If your relationship comes to a point where you feel you need to move on, give it the kind of ending that respects what was had. Most jobs require two-weeks notice. It’s mature and gives your boss enough time to prepare for your absence, whether that means finding a replacement or adjusting their schedule accordingly.  Even people who are fired are told what went wrong. Likewise with a significant other. A proper break-up prepares him/her for your absence. If not face-to-face, at least put your thoughts in writing.
     I guarantee you a reason–any reason–is better than no information at all. This provides closure. Nobody should ever be left to wonder what happened. That blocks the healing process and takes a bit of that person’s soul away. That’s one of the reasons there are so many broken men and women out here dating today. Because someone they once loved and claimed to love them back, didn’t see fit to give the ending a proper burial. Work your relationship like you’d work your job. It’s a good barometer on how to treat people in general.

**Excerpts from The Barometer: A Bartender’s Guide To Measuring Up In Your Relationships

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