Do you communicate with your partner? Our top tips
Communication is an important part of any relationship. Making sure that you can express yourself to your partner or family, as well as being able to listen to their thoughts in return, is essential for a loving and happy relationship.
It’s easier said than done, however, so take a note of our top tips for better communication.
Don’t sweep things under the carpet
It can be tempting to avoid difficult conversations to keep the peace or because you’re worried you’re over-reacting or being silly. However you do risk putting off talking about things that are important to you until you finally snap.
Don’t let the tension build up – It’s better to get little things out in the open regularly rather than having big rows that risk causing damage to your relationship.
Don’t put your partner on the defensive
Before you instinctively react by placing the blame on your partner, especially if you think an issue that is bothering you is their fault, stop and think. You can immediately put them on the defensive, which will not lead to a productive discussion.
Putting the focus on you instead. Use ‘I’ statements about how you are feeling to change the tone of a disagreement, take away the feeling of ‘attack’ and make the discussion less likely to spin out of control.
Pick a place and time
Sometimes it’s useful to plan to have a discussion at a specific time and place. If you feel like you are always arguing at home, at meal times or when everyone is getting ready for school and work, this can immediately give a negative spin to whatever you want to talk about.
However, setting time aside means that you can give the conversation your full attention, and changing location can also mean changing your thinking. Going somewhere else, or even doing something else while you talk, such as driving or walking, can help shift you into a different mindset.
Make time to talk and listen
Hearing is just as important as listening. Lots of the time when we’re having a discussion, we’re just waiting for our turn to talk. We’re hearing what people are saying, but we’re concentrating our response.
In order to truly understand your partner’s perspective, you really have to pay attention and take it in. When you truly understand what your partner is saying, you’re less likely to find yourself arguing.
Communication is a skill – it takes practice to get good at it!
If you want to develop your ability to communicate, you’ll need to build positive habits into the way you talk and make a real effort to stick to them.