A partner must be a friend first and the two of you will need to display the characteristics of true friends before a partnership should be entered in to. The parameters and standards all previous relationship levels apply plus this new information. Without trust a partnership will be extremely difficult, and likely will fail.

There are two types of relationship partners and an individual can only effectively have one of each;

Sometimes they can be the same person, but the partnership types are quite difficult - read on.


Business Partners

Life Parnters

Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson

Business Partners

Sergey Brin and Larry Page (of Google)

Working Together

A partner is your closest friend and needs to take a share in efforts with you to reach common goals and interests. They can be;

You do not necessarily need a partner for business but many choose this path as it helps greatly with running the business and provides additional skills to make the business successful.

Organisations called 'partnerships' where there are more than two partners are likely to be dysfunctional. These organisations have little hierarchy and can be quite combative as all the partners have equal level of authority. Humans instinctively understand a superior and a subordinate but those with brothers and sisters know that getting along with people who do not fit the superior/subordinate model can be very difficult to get along with. Some people, but not all, try to dominate their peers to get their own way. Without a strong superior to referee conflict, the organisation is often involved in internal battles instead of getting on with the work.

Exclusivity in Partnerships

A partner is an exclusive relationship and there can be only one true partner of each type in your life.

Often there is conflict between the life partner and the business partner of their shared partner due to loyalties becoming confused and the boundaries being misunderstood. It is the feelings of exclusivity that cause confusion. If you have these mixed feelings then meet with your partner, share your feelings and set up boundaries. Many a time it is one's own insecurities and a lack of trust that creates situations like this.

Partner in Life

When it comes to having a life partner, trust is absolute. You can settle for less but the best relationships come when there is total trust. To gain the trust of an honourable person all the previously discussed information and skills of each relationship layer must be mastered. It takes a long time to develop trust, often years need to pass before someone can truly be a life partner and trust can be destroyed very quickly. Infatuated individuals who rush into marriage usually find there is not much of a relationship left when the infatuation wears off in 2-3 years and the marriage fails.

Trust is required because life partners need to share a lot without being judged or even attacked for their thoughts and actions. If you are in a relationship don't just go and blurt out all your secrets and expect everything to be rosy. Test the waters first with simple things or it can blow up in your face spectacularly. A good partner does not cause harm to their partner.

Trust is also required as the pair need to accomplish basic survival. Resources and other basic needs have to be created and protected. Untrustworthy individuals can destroy these needs rapidly putting the whole relationship and even other family members at risk.

Partner in Business

When taking a partner for business purposes you are doing so primarily for the sake of the business and secondly for your own sake. You are sharing different skills to meet most of the skills required to run the business, which is less likely if you ran the business on your own. Honour your business partner as you honour yourself and your efforts are more likely to succeed than if you worked against each other.

Try your best not to overlap your efforts unless the task at hand actually requires you to work on it at the same time. Always communicate what you are doing and plan the activities carefully. Things are more likely to operate like clockwork than if you do not. Remember you are two individuals with different thinking patterns and are totally separate except for the thoughts shared by communication.
Business partners demonstrate a similar level of skills as a Partner in Life. Trust, friendship and common goals are shared, but it is strictly business. Mixing business with your personal life is risky and should only attempted by those with time-proven interpersonal skills of the highest quality.

If your life partner is the same sex as your business partner, then both need to be made aware of your perceived differences to minimise the possibility of misunderstanding intentions. It is important that all three of you are close friends as the trust developed lowers the possibility of misunderstandings to level that will not cause a major fuss. The setting up expectations allows healthy boundaries.

Meeting Each Other's Needs and Wants

Being partners requires each person to ask, know and support the other to meet their needs and wants. You must take an active interest in your partner's goals or you will be of little help in their life and may actually work against them by diverting time and resources away from their goals. This will likely cause resentment.

When it comes to money there is money to meet expenses and surplus funds for free spending. Make sure that the needs of the partnership are met before the wants are attended to. If the needs are met and some savings are put aside then split the left over for each other's wants. To hold your partner back is a recipe for disaster. With strict and smart resource control there is little to fight over. If you are attempting to control your partner's behaviour for any reason then the problem is with you, not them. Work and learn together while sharing your thoughts and emotions. Your desires, fears and other feelings need to be known by your partner or you risk them not understanding and therefore you cannot possible expect them to work with you.

Establishing Parameters

We cannot control anything, not even ourselves to a great extent. Why try to control your partner? If you are inclined to do so then you will spend an exhaustive amount of time on them for little return. Try putting that energy into your own growth and then lead by example. The rewards for both you and your partner will be far greater.

If everyone is different then how do a couple work together, share time, and get along? By setting:

We all go about our business in ways that we personally find the most effective. As we learn more we find better ways, that is, we solve our problems on our own and it helps our self-esteem. By sitting down with your partner and mapping out your goals together and defining what each of you will do and when, it does not matter how each of you go about it, rather it matters that it gets done. Defining the boundaries ensures that you do not clash with each other and importantly that you work together when necessary. There is nothing worse than someone controlling your every thought and action, in fact that behaviour is very unhealthy.

If you cannot work in this functional way then I suggest you do not take on large tasks until you both can work functionally as much damage is likely to happen to you both personally and to your goal. Learning to respect your partners feelings and their right to choose their own course of action will make them very happy with you and more willing to accept your choices. It is 'good karma'.

Partnership Skills

Obviously trust is the most important. Work on your trust skills by practising and learning.

Be easy going, flexible and positive. You spend a lot of time with your partner and they do not need to be dragged down. Everyone is imperfect, including you. Be forgiving of mistakes and offer support to rectify these mistakes. Actively set expectations and do not assume someone will just magically meet your needs without communication, as this is irrational thinking, like "you should know!".

Support them in their goals and interests. If their needs and wants are putting pressure on the family resources then a compromise needs to be reached. Remain positive while doing so. Long term support of a partner brings them very close to you.

Make sure your needs and wants are met. If you spend all your time supporting another then you will not be fulfilled and you will become a drain on your partner, family and friends. Do not be afraid to ask, but do be ready to compromise. Simply, put on your own oxygen mask first.

Talk often, daily if possible. Listen and share experiences and ideas in a positive or neutral manner. Negative expression will only ensure your partner will ultimately want to avoid you. That what is important to your partner is the key to keeping a relationship strong, not your thoughts of what they should be. If you feel the need to control your partner be aware that you are being abusive and causing pain. Honour the feelings of your partner as important and they will likely honour your feelings over time. Learn to compromise on your differences.