Establishing healthy communication is the key to a long-term, healthy relationship. That’s why you mustn’t let a single setback disappoint you. Whether it’s a romantic or platonic relationship, there’s always room for improvement. Creating healthy dialogues with your loved ones is a skill that most of us can master but we rarely try to learn it. There can be various reasons why your relationship is starting to struggle as much as it never used to. Yet on top of this list, you’ll always find a lack of on-time communication as the leading culprit. So, if as of late the emotional blowouts between you and your s/o have been becoming a little too frequent, you need to explore your relationship with a keener eye.
Relationships & Communication: 9 Essential Dos and Don’ts
1. Non-verbal Cues Matter A Lot
In a few situations reading too much into the lines can be considered a little extra. Meanwhile, in a few other cases picking up on these additional aspects can help you understand the situation in a better manner. If your partner claims to be alright yet their tone and body language says otherwise, of course, something’s up. This feeling of agitation will reflect through the choice of their words, aura, and overall energy. It’s quite a talent because not everyone can pick up on nonverbal cues that easily.
Picking up on non-verbal signals and body language can be even better if your partner’s generally too shy.
Make sure that you take great notice of your significant other’s sudden change in mood or increased agitation. There could be several reasons behind that; a bad day at work, a dispute or disagreement you both had a while ago, etc. Once you actually detect the presence of an issue you can try to communicate with your partner in a better light. Generally shy individuals are usually more likely to keep things to themselves even if something you’ve done might’ve offended them. To maintain proper communication, at least one person must be able to take a step further. Make sure that you’re not giving any non-verbal cues that could seem insulting to your partner mid communication such as; excessively rolling eyes, scoffing, repeatedly checking your phone. So, make sure that you’re reading the room the right way when the time comes.
2. Collect Your Thoughts Before An Interaction
Before actually communicating with your s/o think about what you’re going to say. Choose the right set of words and the way you want to communicate your message. Having a thorough approach with your viewpoint will be very helpful. Consequently, you’ll be able to talk more smoothly and won’t succumb to confusion. This will also save you from deviation and you’ll automatically avoid saying something too harsh. Try to think of some statements that could show your genuine interest for instance; “I agree/disagree with what you’re saying” or “I understand your stance” etc. You can also practice some gestures and responses to show your interest mid-dialog. For instance;
- Maintenance of eye contact
- Leaning forwards towards the speaker
- Nodding and bobbing your head
- Facing the person you’re talking to
- Sitting or standing up (depending upon the situation)
3. Try To Take The High Road
It’s absolutely necessary to put yourself first in certain situations. On the contrary, sometimes you’re supposed to take more of a “we” approach instead of an “I” approach. Any romantic relationship only develops further once we understand the needs of the other party. In case of a dispute, both parties should have equal opportunities to communicate their fears and expectations. This helps in avoiding communication gaps and resentment toward a significant other.
Everyone deserves to have a say on any financial, emotional, or personal discourse at hand.
Moreover, one individual should never have a dominant spot over the other one. Taking the high road is absolutely necessary otherwise you and your partner will fail at communicating the right concerns at the right time. Taking the high road also includes completely diminishing the blame game. Placing fingers at each other and holding grudges can stop a couple from reaching the best stages of their relationship. Hence, to develop a well-communicated dialog couple should be willing to take the high road every once in a while.
4. Create Time For Each Other
It’s understandable, life can surely be very hectic. Yet, one cannot let work overload or any other day-to-day activities take a toll on your relationships. Therefore, it’s necessary to take a break and sit down to discuss the matters at hand. Creating time for each other can allow you to put current issues to rest. Furthermore, it can also help you avoid future conflicts once you communicate all your concerns in advance.
Couples can dedicate an entire day of a few hours to each other every week. Use those hours as “we time” where you communicate all your feelings and reservations about each other.
Choose a place of your liking where you both feel at home. Don’t forget to switch off any devices so you wouldn’t be disrupted from your perfect slumber. Taking time out to talk is even more necessary if you’re both in a long-distance relationship. Communication between couples shouldn’t only be limited to quarrels. It should also include; communicating information about your day-to-day life or any other huge event. Your partner should be well aware of what’s going on in your life at the moment. Consequently, your bond will become even more strong and there’ll be no communication gap whatsoever.
5. Don’t Miss Out On Regular Check-ins
If your partner and you are certain about each other then the relationship is bound to flourish. So, check up on your partner every once in a while by asking open-ended questions. Their answers will make you better aware of whether your s/o’s needs are being met in this relationship or not. Maintenance of these dialogues on a regular will have 3 important advantages;
- Lack of doubt
- Improved intimacy
- Better communication
6. Avoid Being Too Nonchalant
Various people react differently to conflicts. Some allow conflicts to completely take over their conscience. Meanwhile, others just choose to sweep these indifferences under the rug. This seems like a good solution at that time but being a little too nonchalant at all times can be a big deal-breaker. For example; If something’s been bothering your partner for a while yet you’re keeping it to yourself for a while, it might come out too intensely later on. Communicating your concerns at the right time instead of being too late is another step towards building stronger bonds. If something’s not going right, just find a suitable place/time and let your partner know at the right time. Being as cool as a cucumber might make your partner feel as if everything’s okay because they can’t just read your mind.
7. Letters and Notes: A Traditional Approach
Although this might seem like a proper cliché, it does work ever once in a while. This strategy is especially a huge perk for those who often find themselves to be too shy to communicate. Writing a letter has lots of perks including that it gives you the time to shape your sentences. Furthermore, it’s not something that has to be super flashy. You can rely on small notes to keep your s/o aware of recent happenings. In this way even while you’re both directly not communicating, there’s always a hint of indirect communication.
8. Timing Makes The Biggest Difference
Don’t create a scene in a public setting as that could trigger your s/o in a whole other way. Such conversations should remain intimate instead of resulting in public blow-offs. As mentioned earlier, talking your way out of things is an art. This art depends upon the timing and place you’ve chosen. So, before talking about an essential topic find the right time where both you and your partner can actually pay attention to each other. Make sure this timing doesn’t coincide with any other personal or professional commitments in advance. This will also ensure that your s/o doesn’t walk away mid-conversation even before resolving the conflict.
9. Take A Calmer Approach
The biggest key to establishing proper communication is to make sure that you are not offending anyone else. Therefore to resolve your issues via communication, you’ll first have to clear up your mind. Try to communicate via open-ended sentences. In this way, you wouldn’t leave any room open for further doubts and assumptions. Avoid using any derogatory terms or excessive taunting. This can highly affect the way your partner responds to your efforts of building a dialog. Furthermore, don’t force your partner to tell you something they’re not willing to tell.
The way you react can predict the course of a conversation. Therefore carelessly jumping to conclusions shouldn’t even be part of your strategy.
Putting exceptional amounts of pressure can actually cut off communication for good. Therefore, establish some boundaries and then learn how to respect those boundaries. Your partner might need some time to find the courage to tell you something essential. So, instead of enforcing yourself upon them, try to stay as calm as you can. Random outbursts in the middle of an argument can also lead to complete communication blocks. Consequently, your partner might feel that talking to you regarding important issues is completely useless as you’re too emotional.
Optimal Communication: Leave The Door Open For Couples Therapy
Some indifferences are a little too hard to resolve. Therefore some couples find it even harder to communicate due to these indifferences. It could even have something to do with a major life-changing event that completely changed two individuals. These events might be;
- Infidelity in the past
- Mental turmoil
- Loss of a child
- Health crisis
- A tragic death
- The sudden death of a close relative/friend
Some of these dysfunctionalities in life can block the path of optimal communication. In case you and your partner feel like there’s always a wall between both of you, it’s time to seek help. A credible couple’s therapist can gradually help you work your way through your relationship. Establishing communication once again after a tumultuous past can be hard due to the presence of PTSD, mistrust, or resentment. Regularly going through a credible therapy program can help you conjure up these demons from your past. No matter how you’re attending your sessions (separately or all together) your therapist will give you equal chances to communicate your concerns. In this way, he/she might be able to establish some strategies that can once again help build a bond between you and your partner. A therapy program will also equip you with the mindset and tools you need to connect with your partner via communication. Through an expert’s advice on your relationship you and your partner can;
- Learn New Communication Styles
- Avoid Previous Toxic Patterns
- Reach A Common Vision
- Become More Empathetic Listeners
- Learn How To Start Negotiation
Being in a relationship is a hectic task so don’t worry if there have been a few setbacks. These setbacks are all parts of the whole package. What matters here, is that you don’t force these issues under the rug otherwise one of these days it’s all going to come out all at once. The most important takeaway from this article is to remember that everything takes time. So, building a healthy bond through these strategies will take up some time. Gradually you and your partner will be able to communicate as swiftly as you desire!