10 Simple Ways To Communicate Effectively In A Relationship
“Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” – Stephen R. Covey
Can’t seem to figure out why you keep arguing with a loved one? Or why they don’t seem to understand what you’re going through? What about that difficult coworker that always wants you to come in for that extra shift but never seems to want to cover for you when you need them to? Why does that new roommate never clean up after themselves? How do you ask them politely to do their dishes or keep their music down at night?
Everyday we communicate with people around us and it doesn’t always flow the way we think it should… shouldn’t it be easier? Try these tips next time you’re in a tough situation.
1. Have an open mind
Be positive and focus on what the other person is saying. What is their intent? Why would they be saying those things? Is there some hidden factor behind the scene? Maybe your coworker needs you to cover for him because he needs to take care of his dying mother. Or your roommate has an important exam coming up that they are stressing about. Also be humble when you are given advice and maybe take some suggestions. Have a willing mind to change your relationships for the better.
2. Listen intently
Hear them out. Often times we are quick to jump to conclusions. We may not let our loved ones finish their sentence or idea before we jump into making our point be heard first. Be fair and make sure that each person gets time to talk. No matter how hard it might be, try not to interrupt. Leave your comments to the end. Be fully engaged. That means no media and give them your full attention.
3. Try to see things from their perspective
Remember to walk a mile in another’s shoes. Maybe you notice your friend has been acting grumpy and ill-tempered around you the past few days. Why might this be? Perhaps they just found their parents are getting a divorce and will soon be going to court or their father just got laid off from his job so the family will be tight on funds until he finds new work. You could have reacted to your friend either by talking to them about what was really bothering them to help them solve their problems or distancing yourself in their time of need. It is all about perspective, sometimes we will not know everything that is going on in someone’s life so it is best to be kind no matter what.
4. Be empathic and sincere
Is someone close to you suffering, feeling down, or have a hard time in their life? You can be a strong support to them. Show them that you really care about what is worrying them and tell them that you are willing to help be part of the solution in any way that you can. Be understanding to whatever they may be going through. Help them carry their burden and make it light. They are sure to remember and appreciate it. It is also very rewarding to make the effort to cheer someone up and put on smile on their face.
5. Disagree kindly
At the end of an argument it is important to leave it on good terms if possible. In every relationship there is bound to be some disagreements. This is where the art of compromise comes in. Is there any way that you can both have what you want so that it is a win-win situation? What are you willing to sacrifice so that the other person is happy? What are you not willing to part with? Never make a promise you can not keep and always keep the promises you do make. Forgive and forget quickly, then move on with your life. Do not bring up past conflicts that have already been resolved.
6. Always be honest and truthful
In a mature relationship both parties should be able to share their thoughts and feelings openly like two adults. Even with the best intentions, by not telling the whole story just to make the other person not feel as stressed or worried is in actuality harming them. Do not isolate yourself from them. They will most likely find out anyways about what has been on your mind. Solving problems together as a team is what relationships are all about and is what makes your bond even stronger after weathering some storms together. It is okay to be vulnerable with each other. This builds trust between the two of you, which is absolutely priceless.
7. Apologize quickly
When you have offended someone close to you and hurt their feelings its best to tell them you are sorry as soon as possible. Do not just brush it off, or hope they will be mature enough to let it go. Express to them that you will make an effort to not repeat your actions and that you will be more careful in the future. Tell them that their pain makes you sad as well. Make amends the best you can. When you work to find a solution and make them happy again you will be brought closer together.
8. Be respectful
In the heat of the moment we may be tempted to lose our tempers and say something we would later regret. Sometimes all we can think about is getting our own way, but in the long run it is never worth it. All it does is cause you both pain and lots of resentment. Resolve to always be respectful no matter what. Is being right or winning more important than your relationship with another?
9. Do a good deed
Treat people the way you would like to be treated. Its the golden rule for a reason. A simple act of kindness like cooking your spouse’s favorite meal or offering to get the door for someone will make them and you feel happier. Even if you are angry at the other person, putting aside your pride and helping them out might give you both a chance for peace in the relationship. It will show how much you care and the action will mean more than your words can say.
10. Remember to G.I.V.E
This idea sums up many of the topics shared above in a easy way that can be remembered. Everyone has heard of using the familiar “I feel statements” to deal with conflict in which you first say how you feel, what caused you to feel that way, and what you would like to have happen in the future. For example, “I feel frustrated and upset when you take my things without asking me. Please ask me next time for permission.” Here is a new communication technique that you might have not heard of before. Its known as G.I.V.E. The acronym stands for:
- Gentle (Be)
- Interested (Act)
- Easy Manner (Use an)
These skills will help you during any difficult conversations and hard situations. First, be gentle. This means being considerate and approachable. Think about your tone of voice, facial expressions, posture, and other body language. How might it be interpreted by someone else? Next, act interested in the other person. Ask questions and maintain your eye contact throughout your interactions. Be patient. Give them the time and space they need to respond to you. Then validate. Do not be judgmental and acknowledge their emotions, thoughts, opinions, and desires. Lastly, use an easy manner. Just plainly smiling can help to lighten the mood. Laugh and use humor. Continue to have a positive attitude. This will release any tension or stress that is felt. It can make the biggest difference.
Lasting friendships and harmonious relationships with those close to us can be one of the most fulfilling things in our lives. Such daily social interactions can help to bring us much happiness. You can practice and use these tips to enhance the quality of your relationships starting today. What are some ways in which you communicate with those around you and strengthen your connections to them? Share your ideas in the comments below!