Most successful and unsuccessful relationships usually have one thing in common: communication. It really is one of the most important building blocks in a relationship, and a lot of us lack the proper skill set to necessitate this fundamental talent. Communicating with a partner can be tricky, but it’s not impossible. There are definitely things we want to do and also avoid…so let’s talk about a couple of these things, shall we?!
If you want to be a great communicator, you need to start by being an even better listener. Listen to what your partner is actually saying. Don’t listen well enough that half way through their sentence you already have your rebuttal. Try to understand where they are coming from by taking a step back and understanding how they felt, even if you don’t agree with it. Also don’t interrupt or name call…seriously, it’s such a dick move.
Okay, now that you’re a fantastic listener, try expressing yourself in such a way that blame isn’t being placed. I am fully aware that there are and will be times when your significant other is completely in the wrong, but putting blame on a person will usually result in them being defensive. Making someone defensive will usually result in A) a fight or B) the other person shutting down and then communication is game over.
Instead try to approach a situation by explaining why x, y, and z makes you feel a, b, and c. Another useful tool is to not over communicate. I know from personal experience that if someone is going on and on and on about something for far too long, at some point I will tune out. Buuuuuut what about being a great listener, right?! Yeah, yeah, yeah…that’s true, but if you’re still talking about the same topic and saying the same damn thing over and over, just know that I started thinking about tacos 45 minutes ago.
I want to talk about my personal pet peeve: passive aggressive behavior. I can’t stand it, even writing about it right now I feel annoyed. It’s childish and someone needs to put a stop to it immediately. I’m talking making bumper stickers and those rubber bracelets kind of stop it. So If you fit in this category, let’s work on saying “I’m upset and I’m not ready to talk yet.”
I personally have a 3 question rule. If I ask you on 3 separate occasions “what’s the matter?” and your response is “nothing!” be aware that after the 3rd time I ask, that thing that you are currently pissed about is now null and void. You know why?! Because I tried to communicate and you didn’t communicate back. You just acted like a big baby. So basically even if you don’t want to talk, just say you don’t want to talk.
Less really is more when it comes to communication. Keep things as simple as possible, be honest but tactful. Make it short and sweet, as well as black and white. Try to avoid conversations while still heavily influenced by emotion, but don’t apologize for how you feel. Don’t hold back your thoughts and feelings, but don’t throw punches and fight below the belt either.
Communication was never my strongest suit, but recently I’ve been practicing it more than ever. One thing I have realized is how important it is to have a partner who is willing to communicate back in a healthy manner. This was a newer concept to me, but having a relationship where both parties reach out, listen and thank the other for telling them how they feel can be life changing.
One of the best things you can do with someone is to sit them down, and tell them the methods of communication work best, and what doesn’t. This might be the most difficult step, or it can cause a breakthrough in a relationship. Be aware that we all have different preferences and love languages. If your partner likes things sugarcoated, but you can’t stand it, explain to your partner that you’ll sugarcoat for them, but would appreciate if they made their point in less the 5 sentences.
Then hug it out…seriously, hugs are the best.