Fulfilling relationships are an important component of individual happiness. This is true whether it applies to professional, platonic, or romantic relationships. The opportunity to share, discuss topics of interest and express emotions are all essential to creating meaningful connections with others. Relationships can be a source of happiness, stress relief and a well spring of positivity as it grows and unfolds. Conversely, dysfunctional relationships underscored by poor communication can have the opposite effect. These relationships can create anxiety, stress, depression and open the door to a host of negative feelings and more. Often times, the difference between the two relationship types is communication. How do the parties communicate? How well do they listen and understand? The truth is communication can either improve relationship quality or have the converse effect. This underscores the importance of developing good communication habits to improve relationships and create an increased sense of satisfaction. To help improve the quality of communication, we have provided a list of tips below.
- Timing – Finding the right time to have a conversation is important to ensure both you and your partner can focus, free from distractions and interruptions. At the same time, it is also important to make sure both parties are not stressed or rushed and can give their full focus to the conversation. The idea is to select a time when both parties can be fully present.
- Avoid Technology – There are so many ways to have a conversation using technology that it can be overwhelming. Discussing important topics in writing can present challenges because it is easy to misinterpret inflection, tone, and emphasis which all help to understand the meaning. Especially when it comes to important topics, put the phone down, and have the discussion face to face.
- Watch the Wording – A sign of effective communication is when one partner carefully selects their words but also looks for the best way to communicate the message. Imagine sitting down to talk to your husband and as soon as he starts you receive all the blame. No context, no background, no mutual respect, just accusation after accusation. That conversation will not last long and will fail to build mutual trust and understanding. For this reason, consider opening with an “I statement” about the situation and express there is mutual responsibility through your approach.
- Open the Floor – Remember a conversation involves two people and it is necessary to invite your partner to share their view on the topic. Avoid asking questions that can only result in one- or two-word answers (i.e. yes or no questions). Probe deeper and be sure to ask questions that encourage discussion.
- Let Them Speak – Sometimes when an individual starts a discussion, especially when upset, they are compelled to dominate the conversation. However, it is important to stay quiet and not interrupt your partner when they are talking. Although it sounds simple, it can be very difficult especially if you do not agree with what is being said. Take the time to repeat back to them what you think they are saying and give the space and time for them to make any corrections. Not only will this ensure the right message is being received, but it will reinforce the idea that you really care about their perspective and what they have to say.
- Do Not Give Up – This is especially true when having emotionally intense or deep discussions. Stay focused and keep the conversation going to make sure you really understand your partner’s message.
Remember the more you focus on improving communication the more likely it is the relationship will improve. If you are interested in talking with one of our therapists about how to improve your social experiences and create more happiness, please call us now at 763-416-4167, or request an appointment on our website: WWW.IPC-MN.COM so we can sit down with you and complete thorough assessment and help you develop a plan of action that will work for you. Life is too short to be unhappy. Find the peace of mind you deserve.
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