Communication is key! It can make or break your relationship! How many times have we heard these statements? Too many times.
But what if you have no idea how to improve your communication in your relationship? And not just our intimate relationships but our relationships in general.
How do you even know you have a communication issue?
Me and my bf tend to have good communication, and by that I mean we are able to calmly and maturely discuss situations and come up with solutions.
But when stress hits sometimes that’s all out of the window. There’s passive aggressiveness, subtle jabs, and just not talking and it can take an emotional toll on the relationship.
I want you to have the best relationship you can have and all the unnecessary, heated arguments can damper both of your happiness.
So here’s what I’ve learned about improving your communication in your relationship. Not only with your boyfriend or girlfriend but also different people in your life.
Don’t talk while you are angry
I don’t think you
1. Accomplish anything while angry and
2. Say anything you mean when you are mad.
So take a breath and if you’re angry, decide to talk about the issue when you are more level headed and calm.
Not only will you see things more clearly but you will also have some time reflect. When you come back to the discussion its a better chance that you all will be able to calmly discuss and search for solutions. It’s rare that anything constructive comes out of a yell fest. If anything it makes it messier.
Be simple and direct
Say what you mean and mean what you say. Say how you feel and cut to the chase.
What would you like to resolve?
How do you feel?
What do you want to do?
Let them know what you want and how you feel.
Long drawn out discussions aren’t needed for every conversation. I’ve said it before, open and honest conversation is the best way to go I think.
Pick your Battles
How important is this situation to you? Do you feel like you were disrespected, did someone cross the line or are they just doing something small that’s annoying?
You don’t need to argue or discuss everything.
So before you mention anything think to yourself, “Will this matter in 5 years”, “Is this worth talking about?”,” Is now the time? “.
I’m not saying you should bite your tongue all the time but think about the effect this may have on the relationship. Is it a simple misunderstanding, a slight mishap? Maybe you brush it off, your choice.
This has been one of the best ways for me to get my point across while also not leaving people on defense.
I statements and sandwich statement(we’ll talk about these below)have been my saving grace.
It’s simple. The point is to focus on how you feel rather than how that other person may have been wrong or how they are at fault.
For example say I told someone a secret and they, I don’t know, told everyone.
Instead of saying” You suck, I told you a secret and you are a horrible person because you told my secret.” I would instead say,” When you told my secret I felt betrayed because I trusted you.” The focus is on me and how I feel rather than what they did wrong.
Sandwich statements on the other hand are putting the bad stuff in the middle.
This is somewhat similar to I statements in that you attempt to lessen the burn by making the bad stuff the “sandwich” of the statement.
Using the above example this looks like, ” I love how good of a listener you are however I felt betrayed when you told my secret. Thanks for being so open to hearing how I feel about this“.
When you start off negative the other person is already on defense and less likely to hear what you have to say or be open to seeing things from your point of view.
Just think about it, which would you rather hear if you were the receiver?
Focus on finding a solution
I absolutely hate conversations that go in circles. Eventually you’re in so deep you have no idea what you started talking about, both people are angry and you probably don’t even know why you’re mad.
And you don’t even know how to begin to solve the problem.
So stick to one topic and make the goal of the conversation to find a solution and/or compromise.
This type of communication help to increase problem solving and should bring you closer rather that making you feel more distant.
Thats not to say that the conversation will be perfect or run smoothly but at least you’re having a productive conversation rather than spinning your wheels and going crazy in the process.
Now last but not least, which is by far the most useful communication skill, LISTENING. You want to be heard but you also should want to hear where the person is coming from too.
Paraphrase: Listen to what they’re saying and paraphrase if you heard correctly. A simple, ” So if I’m hearing right you are saying you feel XYZ”,”I see why you would feel that way” not only makes the other person feel heard but also more open to listening as well and understanding where you are coming from.
Empathize: Try to really get into their shoes and imagine how they must feel. I know its hard but try to completely take yourself and your emotions out of the equation and jump into their world for a second. Empathetic statements like “That seems really hard for you and I can’t imagine how you must be dealing with this” make a bigger difference than you know in making a person feel heard and understood.
If all else fails and it will help you feel more prepared rehearse what you want to say. Things may not go as planned but you may be able to make sure you know what you want to convey, help you stay focused and really think through how you are feeling.
Improving your communication in your relationship takes time. So be patient with yourself and your spouse or whoever. It’s a skill that must be practiced. Pick one skill and start practicing. Whether that be learning to be a better listener or focusing on keeping the conversation on track by looking for solutions. It’ll be worth the effort and it not only will take some stress off you but also the relationship as well.