The Dos and Don’ts of Communicating in a Relationship, According to Experts
Communication is key to any successful relationship. Unfortunately, this can be easier said than done when you’re in the thick of it with someone you love.
Whether you’re dating or married, it’s important to communicate well with your partner and get on the same page about the big and small things in life so that you avoid conflict and have a strong foundation of understanding between you two.
Here are some tips on how to communicate in a relationship according to experts on how to be more effective when speaking with your significant other.
Do Not: Only Focus on Yourself
Communication is one of the most important aspects of any relationship, so it’s crucial that you have constructive discussions. This way you can work through issues together as opposed to fighting against each other.
However, one thing that’s crucial is not focusing too much on yourself and instead listening to your partner. Remember that this is about communication between two people who love each other.
Do Not: Attack or Get Defensive
If someone does not have something nice to say about you then do not take it as an attack on your character. It is just one person’s opinion and can be easily countered with presenting the other side.
Give criticism constructive feedback so that the person receiving it can improve their flaws and learn from them. No one is perfect, but all are capable of bettering themselves.
Do Not: Give Up
No matter how much you love your partner, conflicts are bound to happen. Remember not to give up on the relationship when things get tough.
Talk about the issue with your partner rather than clamming up about it or avoiding them altogether; take responsibility for what you did wrong or apologize for making them feel bad.
Be open-minded when they have something important to say that you don’t want to hear; listen attentively instead of getting defensive.
Do Not: Jump to Conclusions
Don’t jump to conclusions. Not everything is about you; your partner probably has his or her own set of problems that need attention as well.
They may not have been given the chance to fully express their feelings and there might be another side you haven’t heard yet.
Before you react, ask yourself what’s really bothering them, ask them to clarify if it will help make things easier for you or the two of you to talk through the issue. You might find that it’s not about what you originally thought.
Do Not Expect Change Over Night
It can be easy to get discouraged when making changes in your life because you expect it to be instantaneous. However, change takes time and commitment. Here are some practical things you can do today:
1) Get curious about what happened before the situation went sour. Find out if there are unresolved issues from the past that have led up to this moment.
2) If there is blame-casting happening (no one is taking responsibility for the bad behavior), decide if it is worth staying involved or not.
Do Not Abandon Communication
In healthy relationships, you always have something to say. At the same time though, sometimes there are days when you just don’t feel like talking.
That’s fine! It’s important that you can take some time off from communication with your partner every now and then.
Otherwise they’ll feel like they’re constantly being ignored. What’s not OK is actively avoiding them by not answering their texts or calls for days on end.
Do Get Back on Track Quickly
When conflict arises, it’s tempting to prolong the discussion by arguing. It can be hard though to let go of how you’re feeling. Saying okay as soon as possible is one way experts say you can get back on track quickly.
There are also some other small things you can do such as touching your partner’s arm or hand before walking away and making an effort to work through any differences respectfully with clear communication that cuts out the need for power plays.
Use I Statements
An I statement is not being mean. It’s being honest. If someone asks you how you feel about them, just say I really like you, instead of I don’t know.
And when they tell you something upsetting, it’s fine to let them know that you’re sorry they’re upset or that it sounds like that was hard for them too.
If you want to make sure that you’re not the only one trying to figure out what your partner is saying, there are plenty of ways for you to learn how they feel.
You can use empathy! For example, let’s say your partner complains about the other person at work. Try guessing what they might mean when they say this person.
Do they like this person? Do they think this little criticism could help improve their workplace? What assumptions do you have about this person?
What are the Dos?
Find out your partner’s non-verbal communication style. Your style might be more touchy but your partner could need some space; ask for clarification about what they want from you.
Ask them how they want you to react when you’re feeling angry or upset – do they want you do go away or approach them and talk it out?
Communicate openly with each other, even if it’s tough. You’ll strengthen your relationship by being honest with one another.
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