“Communication is key.” This statement has been said to pretty much everyone at least once in their life. So if communication is key, where do we find this key? Sometimes it feels like we’ve lost that key. Or it’s hidden in one of those hide-a-key rocks and there’s a thousand rocks outside. Ugh.
All of us who have relationships have struggled with communication. It comes in friendships, family relationships, romantic relationships, and work relationships, to name the main ones. But each of these relationships are in our lives so we can learn how to be better communicators, and thus not only express ourselves effectively but learn how to meet others’ needs and get our needs met as well.
Here are 8 great tips to help you develop better communication skills:
Knowing Your Partner Can’t Read Your Mind
Unless your significant other is psychic, there’s a good chance he or she cannot read your mind. I know you may think you are being obvious about how you feel or what you are thinking, but if you aren’t saying it clearly, your partner is clueless. Stop thinking about how upset you are and communicate it through words. And NO he doesn’t feel everything you FEEL, and as much as you feel it may suck to have to express certain things that may be obvious to you, they are not obvious to him. Don’t test your relationships by how your significant other can or can’t read your emotions.
Talk it Out in Person
Discussing big issues should always be done in person. I know it’s easy to say things through text, but that’s taking the easy and unhealthy way out. If you text it out, there’s bound to be miscommunication. Your partner can’t hear the tone of your voice or go off of your body language. You two will find yourself lost in translation. So, leave the big stuff for a face to face conversation.
Speak Your Truth
You can’t go around in your relationship walking on eggshells and not being able to say how you truly feel. You need to be open with your heart and your words. Sometimes honesty is hard to hear, but it’s a necessity for a healthy relationship. Whether it’s telling your mate you don’t want to move in together just yet, or speaking up in the bedroom about what your needs are — honesty is the best policy.
There’s listening and then there’s active listening. Active listening involves letting your significant other know that you’re 100% listening and hearing what they are saying. This type of listening involves eye contact, repeating back what you heard, and your attention. So, looking at your phone while your girlfriend is talking to you is NOT active listening. DO NOT LISTEN TO REPLY, but rather to HEAR!!
The sandwich method should be your best friend. Basically, when you tell your significant other something that might be difficult to hear, you sandwich it in between positive statements.
It may look something like this, “Listen Harry, I love you so much and you make me so happy, but I’m really having a hard time with you working all the time. If you could make more of an effort to spend quality time with me, I would just love that. It’s so nice when you and I can spend time together.”
In couple’s therapy 101, the therapist will have the couple learn to use “I” statements. This means, instead of attacking your partner with “you” statements, you take down your defenses and let your mate know how you are feeling. So, instead of saying, “You never help me around the house,” you would say, “I feel upset when you don’t help around the house.” It sounds less accusatory and more approachable.
Notice Body Language
Know your body, people — body language that is. When you’re communicating, you have to be aware that your body is also saying something. It could just be a little eye roll or your arms crossed, but the body says it all. Make sure your body matches with your words.
Communicate Through Actions
It’s crucial to know that you don’t just communicate through your words — you’re also showing how you feel through your actions. You know what they say, actions speak louder than words. You need to communicate your love for your partner through other ways than just by speaking. Show your love that you care. Words can be meaninglessness if they are not met with proof.
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