Comfort Zones: Understanding People, Better Relationships

Over the past few years, I’ve become fascinated by the concept of comfort zones; learning how critical understanding people’s comfort zones and embracing your own is to building a strong, successful relationship. If you don’t understand the intrinsic needs of others or if you can’t embrace your own inherent needs, your relationships will remain unauthentic, surface and unfulfilling.

A comfort zone is more than your DISC profile or your Myers-Briggs type; more than being Accommodating or Domineering? Analytical or Decisive? Quiet or Talkative?’ While these “styles” are important, a comfort zone goes beyond “style”.

A personal comfort zone can literally be a security blanket to some. It addresses intrinsic needs and desires. It can take the form of a place, an environment, a situation or a behavioral state; but always possesses the anxiety-neutral condition where one feels safe, at ease and without stress.

First Challenge

I challenge you to take a moment and identify your comfort zone. Think from your gut – What are you good at? What do you enjoy? How and where would you prefer to conduct a meeting? What moves you? After you’ve identified it… Embrace it! It isn’t until you embrace it, that you can take the next step in your personal journey — breakthrough growth!

Bigger Challenge

Now, the bigger challenge (and the focus of this Relationship Tip). Think about someone you are trying to build a relationship with, think about THEIR comfort zone. Our tendency is to project out of our own autobiographies what we think other people want or need….resist the temptation. Think about where it is THEY feel most comfortable. What does that environment look like? As Stephen R. Covey taught us, we must “seek first to understand, then to be understood.” Understand them deeply as an individual, the way you want to be understood, and then treat them in terms of that understanding. If you can do this, you will earn their trust and their relationship faster than you thought possible.

They Look and Act Differently

Just be aware… comfort zones can look and act very differently at various stages of a relationship, reinforcing the importance of truly understanding them. To read the full article, including more on handling comfort zones at various stages, visit our blog at


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