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Over the last decade or so, accountability has become quite the buzz word as it relates to relationships and friendships. However, somewhere along the way, people have distorted and perverted the term and its true meaning.

“Holding ourselves and everyone else accountable generally tends to connote negative consequences for actions that are harmful or inconsistent with the expectations of service that are associated with a role,” explains Miki Kashtan, Ph.D., in an essay for Psychology Today. “If someone’s actions have a harmful effect, however small or large, instead of castigating the person, we can aim to understand the needs and circumstances that resulted in the action.”

In most relationships, you’ll find that people generally have a natural tendency to hold one another accountable and take accountability for their actions. However, there are some relationships in which you’ll find that the accountability dynamic is grossly imbalanced. In some scenarios, you’ll find people who completely evade accountability alongside friends and relatives who enable by never holding their loved ones accountable. In other scenarios, you have people who are obsessed with accountability (or at the very least, their definition of accountability) and thus they adopt a tyrannical approach and wreak havoc on their loved ones, all in their quest for accountability.

Here’s are some of the right and wrong ways to hold your friends accountable.

Holding someone accountable is correcting them in private

When you truly care about a person, you tend to care about their self-esteem and emotional well-being. As a result, whenever possible, you will seek to correct them privately as opposed to doing so in front of an audience.

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