Simple Steps to Improve Communication in Your Relationships
Relationships depend on mutual trust and faith. The participants in relationships are individuals with their own personality and character, that has been molded over time in their family, school, career and neighbourhoods. Besides they have their own strengths and weaknesses. Some could be more effective communicators than others. However, the good part is that communication skills can be learned and implemented to improve communication in a relationship.
Also we have to realise that just talking with your partner, is not really communication. Simple, superficial talk may seem like communication, but it negatives the essential purpose of talking about important stuff like your feelings, expectations, highs & lows of the days. When communication transcends the superficial and touches on these topics and partners align their goals and expectations and parenting approach, we feel assured that communication in the relationship has improved.
Good communication is a cementing factor for developing trust in couples. Lack of communication can lead to breakups or distrust. So we suggest you work on your communication skills through these simple guidelines to improve the bonds in your relationship.
Focus your attention on the partner when they say something to you. It is easy to be distracted by your mobile phone, TV or other devices and ignore the point that your partner is making. Decimate this dastardly habit, as it shows lack of interest and rudeness.
Practice Active Listening
Listen attentively to what your partner is saying without being judgmental so that they understand you empathise with them. Active listening is essential for building trust and establishing rapport. As part of active listening, you may need to paraphrase some of what your partner said to show that you understand their feelings. Also your body language, such as nodding, eye contact and position, should indicate that you are interested in what your partner is telling you.
To improve the communication, you may ask open ended questions or seek clarifications about specific aspects. You may disclose your opinion, but only after you have given your partner full chance to share their concern and experience and demonstrated that you empathise with them. To show your understand you may relate similar incidences.
Be open and honest
It is easy to come across situations where one partner keeps complete secrecy about financial, career or other matters from other partner. Such level of distrust in your partner is toxic for the relationship and does not improve communication in a relationship.
When you open yourself up, to the point of being vulnerable and honest with your partner, you lay the seeds for reaping the full reward of a mature relationship. Yes, by being open you also allow your partner space to hurt or disappoint you. But that is where the bond of relationship is tested. Would your partner take advantage of this openness to develop a richer connection with you, or would they choose to hurt you.
Notice your partner’s body language
Sometimes, the body language says more than the words. How many times we have heard somebody say with droopy eyes and a fake smile, “I am all right”, and understand fully well that there is something awfully wrong. Sadly, such strong signals are not available at all times. But if you have a keen eye, you can catch hints in changes in behaviour and reach out to give comfort and succor. Some simple body language hints could be:
- Avoiding eye contact, indicating that they are hiding something from you
- Sitting tight and keeping arms folded, implying they are defensive and listening without agreeing.
- Getting distracted often, indicating something else is on their mind.
It pays to be aware of your own body language, while you keep an eye on your partner’s body language. You should keep your tone in check, show openness in your body posture and maintain eye contact while communicating to improve the communication in a relationship.
Don’t get emotionally charged up
If you find your partner talking about something, say your relatives, that you may find against your normal viewpoint, you need to practice to listen openly without getting emotionally charged up and denying their views outrightly. Such emotional reactions can cause large scale damage. To illustrate, lets say your child confided in your partner that one of your relatives has been behaving inappropriately towards your child. Instead of listening to your partner, appreciating their concerns and developing a strategy to deal with the situation, you instead get emotionally charged up and deny the charge outrightly. This causes damage to your relationship, distrust between yourself and the child and other problems that could have been avoided if you had given a patient hearing.
There is no harm in losing the argument
Some of us approach arguments only to win. To them it doesn’t matter whether they are right or wrong. What matters is that they are able to allow other’s views to be negated. Taking this approach to conversations in relationships is toxic. As a habit we should be approaching each conversation with an open mind to listen to other person’s perspective, reflect on them and then discuss about their appropriateness to the situation and circumstance openly.
Doing so, you not only give an opportunity for your partner to be heard, but also take decisions jointly. This strengthens the bond in the relationship and builds up trust in you.
Occasional dose of humour is good
You don’t have to act a clown, or bring inappropriate crappy jokes into conversions to inject humour. You can always see the funny side of the things, or relate it to something funny you had observed on TV, cinema, plays or in your life. Humour helps to lighten up the conversations and smooth out the tension, making it easy for the participants to come out with sensitive information. Besides, used rightly, it also shows that you are listening and understanding the other persons perspective.
Let you actions reinforce your conversations
It is entirely possible that you have a rich empathetic discussion with your partner and then blow it up by making casual remarks about your partner or the topic of discussion in front of third parties likes friends and family members or on social media. So the trust you gained in the discussion, is immediately lost for today and future through such immature actions.
None of us can claim to be perfect communicators. We all have our shortcomings. But all of us can strive to become better than what we were earlier by trying to imbibe these suggestions. Some of them may work for you, some of them won’t, but it is worth a try. By trying to be a better version of ourselves (in terms of communication), we gain more understanding about ourselves, besides forging better bonds with our partner.