Most of the problems in our life result from either lack of communication or miscommunication. Especially when it comes to relationships, never stop communicating. You may not be on the best of terms presently, or you’ve had a bit of a fall out, whatever the reason may be, keep the words flowing. Silent treatment is never the answer, it only adds to the problem. We’re not telepathic. You need words to communicate your thoughts, feelings and problems to the next person.
We all talk to our partners, hence are communicating. But the things you talk about are very crucial. It could be as superficial as talking about your engagements or as deep as sharing your fears with each other. For a balanced relationship, you need to talk about all sorts of things. Some of us are good at it, while others find it to be quite a struggle. But the good news is, communication is a skill and hence can be learned.
Let’s look at some of the ways to improve communication:
1. Be a good listener
Be very attentive to what your partner tells you. Don’t listen to respond. Just listen to understand. This kind of reassures them that they can talk to you about anything, and they’d be more comfortable and open with you.
Don’t be in a hurry to give your input, just let them finish first. This way they’d listen intently to what you have to say as well. Especially in an argument, you both need to be very patient with what the other person has to say. Even if it’s unpleasant or hurtful, just try and keep your calm without showing any sort of reaction. When they’re done, tell them how it made you feel. Be sure to keep the volume and tone of your voice in check.
2. Be open
Even if you’re an introvert you need to be open in your relationship. You need to be able to share anything and everything with your partner. You might think that doing so would put you in a vulnerable position; because it would, but on the other hand, your partner would feel trusted. They might even reciprocate. Consequently, your relationship grows.
The best thing about relationships is that you find a safe place. You get to be yourself without any fear of judgment. You don’t need to keep everything bottled up, and at the same time you know that what you share with them stays with them alone.
3. Be honest
Being honest is equally important as being open. Honesty is fundamental to building trust. We all lie, and very frequently at that. But if there’s one person you should never lie to, after yourself of course, is your significant other. Lies will only take you so far; eventually they’d catch up to you and subsequently might not be able to trust you again. You should give in a relationship the same things you’d want in return. You can’t expect them to be honest with you when you yourself are not being honest.
Imagine what it would be like to be in a relationship where you constantly doubt everything you’re being told. I don’t think anyone would want to be in such a state of confusion and distrust. And it’s in your hands to keep your relationship to keep from turning into a blend of lies and deceit.
4. Ask questions
When your input may not constantly be needed, it’s a good thing to ask something every now and then just to let them know that you are actually listening to them. Not only that, it’d even help you process what they’ve been saying clearly.
It might even help them recall a detail they failed to mention before. Ask questions only when you see necessary. But don’t give them the third degree!
5. Have face-to-face conversations
While a random text or call from them counts as communication as well, some matters are best discussed in person. It avoids misunderstandings. It’s not always about what they’re saying but how they’re saying it. This is something you can only judge in a face-to-face conversation. The tone of voice and body language work as tell-tales even if they’re trying to hide something from you, either out of embarrassment or fear.
Communication over the phone or internet allows you to ignore, avoid or dodge certain matters. There is no room for such instances when you’re talking to them in person.
Additionally, you can also comfort them or encourage them to talk about something by holding their hand, hugging them or whatever works for you two.
6. Keep your temper, emotions, tone of voice and body language in check
Again, how you say something has more importance than what you say. Even though we acknowledge it, we tend to forget about it as soon as we are in a heated conversation or one that is contrasting to our views. Even if you’re not saying something harsh, but your body language or the bitterness in your voice may imply otherwise. Never lose your calm; giving in to your tempers only makes matters worse. If you have differing opinions, don’t let yourself get carried away by your emotions. There is nothing wrong with having different points of view as long as you are not imposing them on one another.
Keeping all these things in check prevents you from intimidating your partner from speaking their mind/heart out to you. Otherwise, it might create distance and ultimately drive them away.
Everyone says communication is essential to a relationship, and we all communicate. But only a few of us are doing it right. We should work on improving our communication skills. The more you know about someone, the easier it becomes to be around them. Make efforts to create a comfortable environment for each other so that you can be open with each other. Try to lighten up the conversations every now and then. And finally, listen patiently to what the next person has to say.
“The human body has been designed to resist an infinite number of changes and attacks brought about by its environment. The secret of good health lies in successful adjustment to changing stresses on the body.” – Harry J. Johnson