Communication is thought by many to be the key to having a successful relationship; every successful relationship you create in life is based on the art of communication.
One would assume this to be fairly basic and simple; however, it is quite the contrary. The reality is that the majority of people fall fault to assuming we are experts when it involves better communication in relationships.
Next time you’re talking or communicating with someone, pay close attention to whether you are guilty of the following traits:
Truth – You insist that you are correct.
Help – Instead of listening, you offer advice or “help.”
Mind reading – You expect the opposite person to understand how you are feeling or what you’re thinking.
Sarcasm – Your attitude, words, and tone of voice are belittling or condescending.[/li]
Defensive – You argue and refuse to admit any flaw or shortcoming.
Self-blame – You act as if you are terrible to avoid criticism.
Blame – You imply that the matter is entirely the other person’s fault.
Put-down – You speak gratingly to make the opposite person feel inferior or shamefaced.
Labeling – You call the person names.
Counter-attack – You answer criticism with criticism.
Diversion – You change the subject.
Hopelessness – You claim that you have just tried everything, but nothing works.
Denial – You deny your role within the problem or insist that you’re not upset.
Passive aggression – You say nothing, pout and/or slam doors.
The goal to having better communication in relationships is having a mutual understanding and finding a solution that pleases both parties. Communication isn’t ‘winning’ the argument or ‘being right’.
In addition, the more effectively we communicate with others, the more satisfying and successful our relationships will be.
10 Ways to Better Communication in Relationships
Talk about it NOW
People often want to wait to talk about things. Some want to wait until things are perfect. Some try to ignore the issues by putting off important communication until things are hopelessly beyond repair. Instead of waiting, live in the present, and talk about problems as they present themselves. Communication, after all, is just talking about what is going on.
Good listening is very important when it comes to having effective communication. Always make good eye contact with the person speaking, never looking down or gazing in the distance. Respect the person who is speaking by allowing them to speak until they have finished without interrupting them. Demonstrate that you fully understand what they have just spoken about by restating what you’ve heard and ask questions to clarify anything you may not understand.
Understand what the other person is saying
We all come from different backgrounds, families, and traditions. One word or phrase can have varied meanings to different people. Our job is to translate what we are saying so that it can be easily understood to help avoid any misunderstandings.
Common goals and objectives are the cement to good relationships. Maintaining/finding common goals, beliefs, and values, helps bring people together to work as a team.
Everyone has moments where we are wrong and everyone has moments where we are right. During your communication with others look for things that the other person does right and accent them. Occasionally, it is necessary to use negative or constructive criticism, however, it is much easier to accept and learn from constructive criticism if you first use a sincere approach.
One Situation at a Time
Disagreements will happen, but stick to that issue ONLY. Try not to make it personal or bring up past problems to make your point. If that does happen, agree to break for a few minutes until you’ve both “cooled” off and can continue the conversation.
Respectful and Kind
Be respectful and kind toward each other. One of the worst mistakes people make is to justify rude remarks during a conversation by saying, “I’m just being honest.” STOP THAT! You are being unkind and disrespectful. Before you speak, think about how you would want to be treated, and then use good judgment and tact when proceeding. You can successfully have good communication by being both honest and polite.
Stop searching for a reason to be offended or hurt by someone. We all make mistakes. It is important that we learn to forgive each other if we have any hope of communicating positively.
Keep in Mind
What made you choose to date, get married or connect with this person in the first place? Remember everything good in the relationship. Too many people choose to throw away a great relationship because they focus on the minor issues and forget the big picture, only to realize too late they made a mistake. Don’t let that happen to you. Savior your relationship and take a moment to remember the happy times and positively communicate about the difficult times.
Talk About Better Communication in Relationships
Schedule a time to sit down each week and talk about important or difficult issues. Brainstorm together about ways to improve your communication skills. Use the ten steps listed above to help create a positive atmosphere.
Photos by Satio Photography