Developing Improved Communication Skills for a Happy and Successful Relationship
Have you ever found yourself venting about your romantic relationship to a friend? The phrases “He just never listens to me!” and “We argue all the time!” may sound familiar. But what if the issue lies in your own communication skills with your significant other? Here are some important points to consider:
Nobody Can Get Along with Another Person 100% of the Time
Disagreements are common in any relationship. Spending a lot of time with another person creates the possibility of conflicting opinions. It’s normal to experience disagreements with your partner, but it’s important to develop communication skills to avoid turning disagreements into arguments.
All Relationship Problems Originate with Bad Communication Skills
Having good communication skills enhances the chances of maintaining a happy, fulfilling, and successful relationship. If both partners work together to improve their communication, the relationship will grow and develop beyond what they thought was possible. It’s vital to acknowledge that most, if not all, relationship problems originate from bad communication skills.
4 Deadly Communication Pitfalls You Must Avoid
1. Letting Your Emotions Take Over
In the heat of the moment, it’s easy to allow your emotions to take center stage during a disagreement. When emotions are running high, it’s common to start criticizing and blaming your partner. As couples psychologist Susan Heitler, PhD advises, “The hotter you get, the more likely it is that you’ll race full speed ahead down the criticism and blame road.”
2. Using Blaming Language
When you start a statement with “you always,” you set the conversation up for an argument. Your partner will automatically become defensive, assuming you’re going to blame them for something. This attitude impedes teamwork in resolving issues and discourages effective communication.
3. Listening to Respond Instead of Listening to Understand
If you’re thinking of how to respond instead of attempting to understand your partner, you’re more likely to interrupt them. Interrupting your partner can convey that you don’t really value their perspective, and this can escalate quickly.
4. Avoiding Difficult Conversations
Avoiding challenging conversations may seem like a good idea, but it never addresses the issue at hand. If there is a specific topic that always results in an argument, tackle it head-on. Confronting tough subjects together as a team will lead to more trust and confidence in the relationship.
Only 4 Tricks are Needed to Make a Change
1. Give Yourself a Brief Moment of Silence
If you sense yourself getting angry, take a pause to think. Consider stepping away from the conversation or postponing the discussion for a later date until both parties can calm down. Healthy communication is impossible when emotions run high.
2. Use “I” Statements and “We” Language Instead
Express your thoughts or feelings in a non-critical manner by using “I” statements like “I feel” or “I worry” instead of criticizing your partner through “you” statements. Also, use “we” language to help your partner feel included as part of a team.
3. Stop Interrupting and Be Aware of Body Language
Being attentive to your partner’s body language and facial expressions will help you grasp their point of view more accurately. Paying attention and avoiding interruptions will show your partner that you value their input in the conversation.
4. Talk About Everything. Literally.
Communication is the key to a healthy, long-term relationship. Working through difficult conversations together will lead to a stronger partnership. The more uncomfortable discussions you can have, the more confident you’ll feel in the future of the relationship.
Improving communication skills with your significant other lays the foundation for a healthy, successful, and fulfilling relationship. It allows you to grow as individuals and, most importantly, as a team.