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Improving Your Communication Skills Can Help You Have A Healthier Relationship

Couple holding handsBetter communication is the key to a lot of positive things in life and understanding how to improve your skills can really benefit you and your relationships with others.

  1. Talk about your feelings.

When talking about sensitive topics with your partner, it is easy for them to feel like you are blaming them for whatever went wrong. One way to get around this problem is by reframing things through the use of “I” statements.

For instance, you could say something like, “I feel overwhelmed by the housework and could really use some help.” This gives your partner a chance to understand your feelings without feeling like you are blaming them for the problem. Instead of causing arguments, framing your conversations in this way can open up the doorway to meaningful communication, often helping to resolve issues without a fight.

  1. Learn how to listen.

Most disagreements are the result of partners not listening to one another. Have you ever been in the midst of an argument and realized that you really aren’t hearing what your partner is saying? Instead, you are focused on what you are going to say next when they are done talking. Unfortunately, this is a common tendency, which is why communication often breaks down. One way to get things back on track is by learning how to listen to your partner and others. Don’t just listen with your ears – try to pick up on subtle messages that your partner is sending through their body language.

When your partner is talking, put everything else aside, focusing solely on what they are saying. Don’t disrespect them by playing on your phone, painting your nails, or doing other tasks while they are talking. Instead, give them your full attention so that they really feel like you are hearing what they are saying.

  1. Don’t feel like you need to be a mind reader.

It is easy to try to read things into what your partner is saying or how they are acting. Unfortunately, trying to be a mind reader never works. If you are unsure about your partner’s current state of mind, ask them what they are thinking. It is much better to get things out in the open rather than trying to guess what is wrong. In most cases, you won’t be able to guess correctly and will be relying on false assumptions.

  1. Focus on the present.

One of the worst things that you can do when talking to your partner is to dwell on the past. Instead, focus on what is happening in the present. Bringing up past problems is a surefire way to start an argument. Additionally, it does nothing to help resolve the current situation. By focusing on the problem that you are dealing with right now, you stand a much better chance of coming up with a meaningful solution.

  1. Let your partner know that you hear them.

From a communication standpoint, it is often useful to reflect what your partner said back to them. For instance, if they are upset with you because you didn’t drop some items off at the thrift store, you could say something like, “I understand that you are angry because you think I forgot about taking those items to the thrift store.” This lets them know that you are hearing what they are saying.

After you acknowledge what they have said or how they are feeling, you can then go on to explain your actions. For instance, “I tried to take the items in on Saturday, but the thrift store was closed when I got there. I plan on trying again later this week.”

  1. Consider things from your partner’s perspective.

Empathy can go a long way toward preventing arguments and misunderstandings. Always try to consider things from their point of view, even if you disagree with them.

  1. Avoid giving advice unless your partner specifically asks for it.

Of course, if your partner does want your input, you should be willing to give it freely.

  1. Pay attention to the tone of your voice.

The words that you say are only one part of the equation when it comes to communication. A lot of information can also be communicated through the way that you speak.  Try to listen to the tone of your voice when you are talking. Make sure that it is not angry, accusatory, sarcastic, or condescending

9. Remember that you love your partner.

During the heat of an argument, it is easy to lose sight of the fact that your partner is a person that you love. Your relationship isn’t a sterile business arrangement. You need to be willing to think about the way your partner is feeling and to try to understand their emotional state. You also need to open up to your partner and to allow them to open up to you without making them feel disrespected.

10. Leave the room if you get too angry.

When things start to get heated, it is sometimes a good idea to take a little bit of a timeout. If you notice that an argument is escalating, consider telling your partner that you need to cool off for a bit before you can continue the discussion. In fact, it is good to talk to your partner about the idea of taking timeouts when you are both calm. That way, when an argument arises, you can both acknowledge when a timeout is needed. By taking a break and resuming the conversation at a later point in time, you can often avoid serious arguments. Allowing your emotions to calm down before continuing your discussion is a great way to approach things from a more logical and rational perspective.

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