friendship

"The one word that completely changed my relationship with my mother."

Harper Lee once said, “You can choose your friends but you can’t choose your family.”

If I could, I’d choose a woman with Gwyneth Paltrow dietary habits, Diane Keaton style and Whoopi Goldberg levels of fun.

Or, you know, the woman I came out of because she’s 10/10 too.

But our relationship hasn’t always been 10/10 and when I moved out at the tender age of 18, I would have rated it a solid six — on a good day.

There are only so many times one can stand having a dishcloth and bottle of Windex thrown at them at 7am on a Sunday before losing it. Something needed to change, but I took the easy option and moved out.

Five years later I found myself climbing the stairs I had so proudly jumped down. I’d taken a new job and relocated back to my home city… and back to Mum.

It’s now been four months and things couldn’t be better.

I mean, OK. I moved in and brought a small rainforest... Source: supplied.
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Mum thinks it's a miracle and that my time out of home was the transformative equivalent of 20 years in a hard labour camp. It's not. It's just that I learned one word: "OK."

I say OK to everything.

Come home after a 12 hour day and asked to do the washing up? OK.

Work a six-day week to find out Sunday has become a spring clean? OK.

You might be thinking it's a poor approach, but if you've ever struggled to live harmoniously with somebody you will know there's nothing worse than tension at home.

So why not bypass that tension, take one for the team and just say "OK"?

Watch: In-laws are another perfect candidate for the 'OK' theory. (Post continues after video.)

According to psychologist Liz Moleta, changing your own behaviour in a difficult relationship is a positive step as it provokes the other party to change theirs too.

"Firstly, I think in tackling any difficult relationship where one party is not open to discussion or does not perceive a problem, then to decide to change your own behaviour is good," she tells Mamamia.

"You are taking the initiative and when you change your behaviour, the other person is obliged to change their behaviour as they need to respond differently."

Moleta did, however, believe the tactic was not sustainable over the long-term as it creates an unequal relationship.

"I don't believe it is sustainable to simply comply with someone else's desires in the long term to achieve an equal relationship," she said.

"One person would be dominant, one submissive. The dominant may begin to believe they are right all the time and the submissive may suffer poor self-esteem and lack of confidence."

I can't help but agree; being in a relationship where I was constantly acquiescing to my partner's will is unimaginable.

But for temporary situations like living at home or in a share house, it is amazing how much peace the word and accompanying mindset can bring.

And if you still disagree, well... OK.

Do you have a technique for living harmoniously with other people?

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