Relationships Matter » Blog Archive » 5 tips for better communication in relationships

An inability to communicate effectively seems to be a common problem within relationships. Does every conversation with your partner turn into an argument? Perhaps you have been told you’re “really hard to get through to”? Here are 5 tips to help you communicate better within your relationships;

1)Set aside time to talk: More often than not, one person will attempt to hold an important conversation at an inappopriate time. If you try and initiate a talking session with your guy when he is engrossed in a baseball game, he won’t be receptive. Guys don’t bring up your worries when your wife is busy feeding three kids, the dog, you and deal with the cat who has just vomited on the floor. My advice would be to set aside a period of time EVERY week (minimum one hour) when you can sit quietly with no distractions and just talk. Make a rule where you cannot interrupt the other who is speaking so you both get the opportunity to voice your concerns. Issues will be resolved much easier if both parties are focusing on the conversation. If there is nothing pressing to discuss, use the time to share funny and interesting stories from your week. You’ll both feel much closer for making the effort

2) Listen properly: This may sound obvious, but so many people really don’t listen to what is being said. There is a stereotypical joke whereby the guy says “yes dear” to everything his lady says! Grrr! If I think my partner is not listening to me, I ask him to repeat what I’ve just told him. It’s a very good tactic to focus his mind. Knowing your partner is genuinely listening to you does make you feel so much more valued.

3) Accept constructive criticism: If you hear something you don’t like, don’t go on the defensive or get angry. Take some time to consider if they have a valid point. Are they telling you something you have the power to change? Of course, if you feel they are just being critical to score a point, you have every right to dismiss it. All I’m saying is take some time before you react or respond. If you’re within an allocation of time as I suggested in tip 1, it wouldn’t hurt to say “I’ve taken on board what you’ve said. I’d like some time to consider your point and I will respond next week”. This response will be far less damaging than an immediate “get stuffed!”

4) Think before you speak: Now I know it is extremely easy, if you feel you are being unfairly criticized to use hurtful words in an attempt to score a cheap dig. You should avoid this at all costs. Do not make threats or issue ultimatums. You should be prepared to stand by every word you speak. Say nothing that you’ll regret later. Stick to facts and speak honestly. It helps to breathe deeply and consider every word before you speak it. Imagine how you would feel to hear the words spoken to you and if necessary rephrase your message.

5) Own your emotions: Remember your emotions and feelings are YOURS. Nobody can make you feel a certain way unless you allow them to. Telling your partner “You make me so angry when you don’t clear up your mess” is not true and also confrontational. Convert every “you” to an “I”. Saying “it makes me angry when I have to clear up the mess” is much better. It essentially means the same thing, but you are taking ownership of how clearing up the mess makes you feel rather than blaming your partner. By taking ownership of how you feel, you are not being provocative. They should be far more prepared to participate in the discussion if they do not feel under attack.

So, these are my 5 most popular ways of engaging in an equal conversation which show results. By not resorting to a default shouting match, you will be more successful at being heard and also hearing the messages which need to be conveyed.

Does anyone have any other techniques which have worked for them? Please share them with us via the comments field below.