In a relationship, two different people can have different communication skills. Yet better communication can also be practiced because it is an ability that anyone can learn. Communication can make the most of a relationship or ruin them. By bringing some of these ideas into your relationship, you can improve your relationship.
1. Stop and listen.
How many times have you heard anyone say that? The issue is more complicated than it seems. When we are embroiled in a serious discussion or disagreement with our partner, it’s difficult for the moment to put aside our viewpoint and listen. Sometimes we’re so terrified not to be heard that we try to keep talking. Unfortunately, this kind of action makes it more likely that we will not be heard.
2. Make yourself hear your partner.
You’ve stopped talking momentarily, but all the thoughts you want to say are still spinning in your head, so you don’t really understand what’s being said anymore. You may find the situation funny, but therapists have a strategy that works very well that “allows” them to hear what a client tells them— rephrasing what a person has just told them (called “reflection“).
Do this too much, or you may end up pushing them away. Also, do not try this in a way that implies that you’re teasing rather than trying to listen seriously. Use this technique in moderation. Let your partner know why you’re doing it when they inquire, “Sometimes I don’t think I’m getting what you’re asking me, and doing that helps me to slow down my mind and really listen to understand what you’re doing.”
3. Be open with your partner.
Many people in their lives have never been very open to others. Many people may not even know themselves, or they do not know a lot about their true needs and desires. Being in a relationship is taking a step towards talking openly about your life and yourself.
Little lies become big lies. Lying may work for you to cover your feelings behind a mask, but it won’t work for most others. Pretending that everything is normal is not okay. And it’s about as useful as giving your partner the silent treatment about not getting what you want for the holidays. In the past, these strategies may have “worked” for you, but they all hinder good communication.
To be open means to speak about things that another person in your life might never have spoken about before. It means truly taking the time to listen and reflect on what your partner has to say. This may mean opening to a world of potential pain and disappointment. But it also ensures that you can be open to the full potential of a true relationship.