Any good relationship is based on some core elements that make it work. You need trust, honesty, and above all good communication. The last element, communication isn’t as easy as you might think. Just because you are talking, doesn’t mean that you are communicating, in fact, there are many other factors to communication than just talking. If you are in a new relationship, or you think that you and your current partner are not communicating enough, then there are some tips you can follow to make to improve your skills.
Stop What You’re Doing and Listen
Sometimes the best part of communicating is not talking but listening. It can be difficult to do this, especially if you have a point that you are desperate to get across. However, by simply talking at the same time as your partner, you are both not listening to what the other has to say. The other scenario is that you will pick up on a few words taken out of context and get upset. Although it can be extremely difficult at first, you need to try and have a two-way conversation with your partner. Try to let them finish what they are saying before you speak and listen to what they are telling you. Such actions could be the thing that saves your relationship, so isn’t it worth the effort? It is a skill you are never too old to learn or improve, so try to make an effort right now.
Try to Force Yourself to Hear
You may have stopped talking, but that doesn’t mean you have started listening. You probably have so many thoughts and comments going around your head, that listening is hard, but you must try. There are some techniques that therapists use to force them to listen to what their clients are saying. When they are listing to their clients, they rephrase what they have been told; this helps them to understand what’s been said process the information. In a relationship, it might sound mocking to do this, so only try it sparingly. You can always tell your partner that this is a technique you are using to try and process what they are telling you. If you try this method, you will find that it is far easier to have an intelligent conversation with your partner and that you understand more of what they are telling you.
Be Open and Honest
As well as being a good listener, you also need to be a good communicator of your own fears and problems. Some people are not good at opening up to others and telling them their darkest secrets, but in a relationship, this type of communication is essential. If there is one person that you should be telling everything to, it’s your partner. You are sharing your life with them, so you also need to share your thoughts and feelings. Lies, even little ones can expand into bigger lies, and before you know it, they can be consuming everything. You may have found that keeping all these things to yourself has worked in the past, but in a relationship, this tactic will only cause resentment and suspicion. That is why it is best to start any relationship with someone on an honest footing. These things are so much easier to tell someone early on than waiting until it may be too late.
Don’t Ignore Nonverbal Signals
A lot of communication is nonverbal, and even though we might not know it, we are always communicating our true feelings in a nonverbal way. Nonverbal communication is the body language you use, your tone of voice, the inflection you use and your eye contact. Many of these things may be involuntary so you should be open about how you feel. You might tell someone that everything is alright, but they may pick up just the opposite in your body language. In the same way, you need to be aware of your partner’s body language and other nonverbal communication. If they fold their arms, it could mean that they are feeling defensive or closed off. If they don’t make eye contact, then this could mean they are afraid to talk about something. A louder of more aggressive tone could mean that they feel ignored or misunderstood, so they are trying to get the message across. While you are trying to interpret your partner’s nonverbal signals, be aware of your own. Keep eye contact, sit facing them and have a neutral tone to your voice.
Stay Focused on Your Discussions
Sometimes, when you are having a discussion with your partner, the topic can start to wander off the present and become more of a general discussion about everything that has happened in the relationship. When this happens, the discussion can quickly turn into an argument over something that isn’t relevant to the current conversation. Unfortunately, such wanderings are easy to do, and getting in a cheap shot might seem too tempting to miss. However, this type of communication is never healthy, and all it will do is build resentment between the both of you. It is this type of discussion that can quickly lead to seeking the advice of the Edmonton Family Lawyers. When you are having a discussion, try to keep all the points relevant to what you are saying, and resist wandering from the subject. If your partner starts to wander, then don’t follow them, stay on the topic. Hopefully, they will eventually return to the current discussion, and you can move forward. If you think that this isn’t going to happen, suggest that perhaps you should both sleep on the problem and look at it again in the morning.
Try to Keep Emotion Out of Important or Big Decisions
It can be difficult, if not impossible to talk about big decisions when you are emotionally charged or upset. These are not the best time to talk about issues such as getting married, having children or living together. You might think that such topics are going to be emotional, but there is a good reason why you shouldn’t let emotion get in the way. Talking about such big issues means discussing all of the implications of the decision. For example, if you are talking about having children, then you can easily get caught up in the emotion of having a little baby and creating a nursery. However, there are also the issues of diaper changing and who will get up in the night to feed them. Will you or your partner need to change their work habits to cope with the baby, and will they mind doing that?
Be Ready to Stop an Argument
An argument can quickly go from a heated discussion to something that has no end or beginning. How many times have you seen a couple arguing because they both have a point of view that they need to get across? Because one of them feels that they are ‘right,’ they don’t want to back down or admit to anything that changes this fact. However, sometimes, by accepting the fact and trying to stop the argument can be the best thing to do. By stopping an argument, you are conceding that you are not always right, which can be hard to do. Just because you might disagree on something, doesn’t mean that they or indeed you are right, so isn’t it best to just agree to disagree? If you are so determined to be right that your partner’s happiness is not important, then perhaps you have chosen the wrong partner. You don’t want to be with someone that has such differing opinions to you, that you can never agree on anything. That leads to a destructive relationship that no one wants.
Communication is More Thank Talking
With modern technology making communication easier than ever, we sometimes forget to use it for the best reason, to keep in contact with our partners. If you are busy working, you may be getting many emails, text messages or calls each day. It can be easy during all this to not think about messaging your loved one. While they might understand that you are busy, just a small message asking how their day is going can make all the difference. In fact, it might be the only nice message they get that day, so it will seem even more important. You should also be aware of other places you communicate. Social media is a great tool for communication, but it can also be an easy way to say something you don’t mean. The chances are your partner will read your posts with interest because they are from you, so you need to be respectful of them.
Communication is so much more than what you say to someone. It is an intricate web of verbal and nonverbal signals that all mix together to form a mood or state of mind. If you can effectively communicate with your partner, then you are moving in the right direction.