How you communicate can build up or break down a relationship. In a relationship with a significant other, communication is a big part of keeping things healthy and stable. Communication can get messy, because each person brings their own experience and expectations along with a different level of communication skill. Wherever you’re at in your relationship, you can always work to improve your communication:
This is at the top of almost any list on communication. It can seem so easy when you’re reading it, but it’s not so easy when you don’t agree with the other person or you have something to say that is important to you. When we’re in a serious conversation with our significant other, it’s hard for us to remain silent and just listen to what they have to say. We think we may not be heard if we don’t speak now, so we rush in to give our opinion, which can have the opposite effect of them not listening to us.
2. Be open and honest.
Some people find it hard to be honest about their life or their desires. Others might not even know what they think or feel themselves, but that’s part of being in a relationship. Part of it is working toward opening up about yourself.
Small lies can turn in to even larger lies and hiding behind them won’t help either of you. Pretending everything is alright or creating other barriers to communication only hurts the relationship. Opening yourself up may mean hurt or disappointment at some point, but it also opens you up to even more possibilities in your relationship.
3. Look for nonverbal signs.
Most of the time it’s not what we say but how we’re saying it. Work on reading tone of voice, body language, and eye contact.
Check for these cues in your partner, but also be aware of your own body and posture. How are you responding to what they’re saying?
4. Be willing to surrender an argument.
Your goal isn’t to be the one that’s right. Most arguments continue, because one person wants to prove that they’re correct. Both partners need to work on backing off of a point. Compromise is key to communication. They should not overpower you with their opinions, but neither should you. Balance and prioritizing is important.
5. Humor is key.
Using humor doesn’t always have to be laugh-out-loud funny. You can use playfulness to diffuse a situation. Humor keeps things from escalating and can help put things in perspective. Communication is also about having fun with your partner, and it should not be work every time you talk to one another.
Communication can be tough, and no one is perfect. These are a few tips to becoming a better communicator. If you are the first to work on a communication skill in a relationship, it might encourage your partner to work on it as well.