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10 Ways to Have Excellent Communication with Your Loved One

10 Ways to Have Excellent Communication with Your Loved One

Communication is absolutely vital for every relationship, whether it’s with a spouse, a child, a parent, or a dear friend. In our harried, hectic daily lives, we can often forget just how important simple acts are for maintaining a strong, healthy connection, but by devoting some time to re-establishing those connective threads with those we love, we can keep our bonds strong.

1. Listen, don’t just wait to speak.

One of the main problems that people have when communicating with others is that they don’t actually take the time to listen. Sure, they hear the general gist of what the other person is saying, but they’re mostly just biding time until they can toss their two cents into the mix.

Draw your attention out of your own cranium, and really listen to what’s being said to you. Once the other person has finished speaking (and don’t even think about interrupting them or finishing their sentences), take a moment to mull over what they’d said before responding: you’ll be able to process everything in depth, and give them a reply that’s sincere.

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2. Be honest.

I’ve mentioned this before, and I’ll mention it again: the worst truth is better than the best lie. True friends are those who will tell you the truth even if you don’t want to hear it (albeit gently and tactfully), and couples who are honest with one another can weather life’s storms as a team, rather than staying silent about issues until they overflow and damage things beyond repair. If you’re gentle and honest with those you love, you can work through any trial together, with love and compassion.

3. Write!

Written words are powerful for more than one reason: the recipient can read your note/letter/card over and over again so the words can be learned by heart, and they can also recognize the fact that you took the time to write something to them by hand. Emails are all well and good for a moment’s communication, but when you write someone a letter, even if it’s just a couple of sentences in a store-bought card, you let them know just how important they are to you.

4. Go outside.

Make plans to take an outing together, where you’ll be free from distractions like TV, internet access, etc. Consider turning your phones off while you’re out there so you can really immerse yourselves in nature, and enjoy beautiful things together. Having a picnic in a park, exploring your local waterfront, or hiking nature trails in the forest gives you a perfect opportunity to pay attention to one another while experiencing all the rejuvenation the natural world has to offer. Being outside can lift everyone’s spirits, and an environment that’s fresh and alive is a perfect place to talk about new ideas, projects, or even life changes you’ve had in mind.

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5. Make a physical connection.

Did you know that babies who don’t get enough physical contact often fail to thrive, and can even die from lack of touch? The need for physical contact is so ingrained in humans that we actually fail to thrive without it. When you spend time with those you love, be sure to make some kind of contact from time to time to reinforce your connection with them. Holding hands, hugging, or even just sitting side by side with shoulders/legs touching is enough to provide reassurance and comfort.

6. Let them know how you feel.

How many times have we heard about people who have lost a loved one and then lamented that they never told them how they really felt? Too often, that’s for sure. If you value someone’s creativity, if you appreciate how they take care of you, if you enjoy their company, or any other wonderful aspect about them, let them know. Not only will you brighten their day, but they’ll realize their worth to you. This is particularly important for kids between the ages of 12 and 18, as their emotions are all over the place and they need reassurance and love, even as they try to push others away.

7. Recognize their “prime time”.

Some people are at their best and most alert first thing in the morning, while others prefer to socialize after dinner. If the one you love is a groggy mess for the first 3 hours after waking, it’s not a good time to talk to them about anything important during that time. Communication will be much smoother when you can approach them during their “prime time”.

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8. Take time outs as needed.

If you’re trying to talk to someone about something important, and emotions start to get fired up, it may be best to take a break and then return to the conversation when you’ve both calmed down. When tensions run high, things may be said in anger that can’t be taken back, so it’s best to go for a walk or meditate a bit, and then come back with a better attitude and more perspective on the issue at hand.

9. Make sure that solo time is respected.

Everyone needs “alone” time to recharge and just escape from the world at large, and if that’s intruded upon, it creates frustration and irritation: two ingredients that do not create a healthy environment for communication. Always ask the other person if it’s a good time to talk, if they seem to be engrossed in solo time, and establish that you need to be asked as well. Additionally, if you’ve planned a block of time in which you really just want to be left alone, let others know: they’re not mind readers.

10. Use “I” or “Me” statements when broaching difficult subjects.

If you’re frustrated or upset about a situation or behaviour, try to avoid being accusatory—that will just result in the other person getting defensive and bristly. Instead of beginning a sentence with “You really upset me when…”, start with “I felt really upset when…”, as that puts the focus on you and allows them to contemplate the actions that caused your reaction, rather than feeling as though they’re being attacked.

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Don’t hesitate to let the other person know if you ever feel uncomfortable or awkward broaching a topic as well: acknowledging that you feel weird about it can diffuse a lot of tension, and actually make them more receptive to discussing it, which ends up being better for everyone in the long run.

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Catherine Winter

Catherine is a wordsmith covering lifestyle tips on Lifehack.

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Last Updated on July 8, 2020

How to Say No When You Say Yes Too Often

How to Say No When You Say Yes Too Often

Do you say yes so often that you realize you aren’t really happy about this, wondering how to say no to people?

For years, I was a serial people pleaser. Known as someone who would step up, I would gladly make time especially when it came to volunteering for certain causes. I proudly carried this role all through grade school, college, even through law school. For years, I thought saying “no” meant I would disappoint a good friend or someone I respected.

But somewhere along the way, I noticed I wasn’t quite living my life. Instead, I seem to have created a schedule that was a strange combination of meeting the expectations of others, what I thought I should be doing, and some of what I actually wanted to do. The result? I had a packed schedule that left me overwhelmed and unfulfilled.

It took a long while but I learned the art of saying no. Saying ‘no’ meant I no longer catered fully to everyone else’s needs and could make more room for what I really wanted to do. Instead of cramming too much in, I chose to pursue what really mattered. I started to manage my time more around my own needs and interests. When that happened, I became a lot happier. And guess what? I hardly disappointed anyone.

The Importance of Saying No

When you learn the art of saying ‘no,’ you begin to look at the world differently. Rather than seeing all of the things you could or should be doing (and aren’t doing), you start to look at how to say yes to what’s important.

In other words, you aren’t just reacting to what life throws at you. You seek the opportunities that move you to where you want to be.

Successful people aren’t afraid to say no. Oprah Winfrey considered one of the most successful women in the world confessed that it was much later in life when she learned how to say no. Even after she had become internationally famous, she felt she had to say yes to virtually everything. It was only when she realized that after years of struggling with saying no, I finally got to this question: “What do I want?”

Being able to say no also helps you manage your time better.

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Warren Buffett views no as essential to his success. He said,

“The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything.”

When I made ‘no’ a part of my toolbox, I drove more of my own success focusing on fewer things and doing them well.

How We Are Pressured to Say Yes

It’s no wonder a lot of us find it hard to say ‘no.’

From an early age, we are conditioned to say ‘yes.’ We said yes probably hundreds of time in order to graduate from high school and then get into college. We said yes to find work. We said yes get a promotion. We said yes to find love and then yes again to stay in a relationship. We said yes to find and keep friends.

We say yes because it feels better to help someone. We say yes because it can seem like the right thing to do. We say yes because we think that is key to success. And we say yes because the request might come from someone who is hard to resist like the boss.

And that’s not all. The pressure to say yes doesn’t just come from others. We put a lot of pressure on ourselves. At work, we say yes because we compare ourselves to others who seem to be doing more than we are. Outside of work, we say yes because we feel guilty we aren’t doing enough to spend time with family or friends.

The message no matter where we turn is nearly always, “You really could be doing more.” The result? When people ask us for our time, we are heavily conditioned to say yes.

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How to Say No Without Feeling Guilty

Deciding to add the word ‘no’ to your toolbox is no small thing. Perhaps you already say ‘no’ but not as much as you would like. Maybe you have an instinct that if you were to learn the art of ‘no’ that you could finally create more time for things you care about. But let’s be honest, using the word ‘no’ doesn’t come easily for many people.

The 3 Rules of Thumbs for Saying No

1. You Need to Get Out of Your Comfort Zone

Let’s face it. It is hard to say no. Setting boundaries around your time especially you haven’t done it much in the past will feel awkward.

2. You Are the Air Traffic Controller of Your Time

Remember that you are the only one who understands the demands for your time. Think about it, who else knows about all of the demands on your time? No one. Only you are at the center of all of these requests. are the only one that understands what time you really have.

3. Saying ‘No’ Means Saying ‘Yes’ to Something That Matters

When we decide not to do something, it means we can say yes to something else. You have a unique opportunity to decide how you spend your precious time.

6 Ways to Start Saying No

Incorporating that little word ‘no’ into your life can be transformational. Turning some things down will mean you can open doors to what really matters. Here are some essential tips to learn the art of no:

1. Check in With Your Obligation Meter

One of the biggest challenges to saying ‘no’ is a feeling of obligation. Do you feel you have a responsibility to say yes and worry that saying no reflect poorly on you?

Ask yourself whether you truly have the duty to say yes. Check your assumptions or beliefs about whether you carry the responsibility to say yes. Turn it around and instead ask what duty you owe to yourself.

2. Resist the Fear of Missing out (FOMO)

Do you have a fear of missing out (FOMO)? FOMO can follow us around in so many ways. At work, we volunteer our time because we fear we won’t move ahead. In our personal lives, we agree to join the crowd because FOMO even while we ourselves aren’t enjoying the fun.

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Check in with yourself. Are you saying yes because of FOMO or because you really want to say yes? More often than not, running after fear doesn’t make us feel better.

3. Check Your Assumptions About What It Means to Say ‘No’

Do you dread the reaction you will get if you say no? Often, we say ‘yes’ because we worry about how others will respond or the consequences of saying no or because of the consequences. We may be afraid to disappoint others or think we will lose respect from others. We often forget how much we are disappointing ourselves along the way.

Keep in mind that saying ‘no’ can be exactly what is needed to send the right message that you have limited time. In the tips below, you will see how to communicate your no in a gentle and loving way. You might disappoint someone initially but drawing a boundary can bring you the freedom you need so that you can give freely of yourself when you truly want to.

4. When the Request Comes In, Sit on It

Sometimes, when we are in the moment, we instinctively agree. The request might make sense at first. Or we typically have said yes to this request in the past.

Give yourself a little time to reflect on whether you really have the time, or can do the task properly. You may decide the best option is to say ‘no.’ There is no harm in giving yourself the time to decide.

5. Communicate Your ‘No’ with Transparency and Kindness

When you are ready to tell someone no, communicate your decision clearly. The message can be open and honest to ensure the recipient that your reasons have to do with your limited time.

Resist the temptation not to respond or communicate all. But do not feel obligated to provide a lengthy account about why you are saying no.

A clear communication with a short explanation is all that is needed. I have found it useful to tell people that I have many demands and need to be careful with how I allocate my time. I will sometimes say I really appreciate that they came to me and for them to check in again if the opportunity arises another time.

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6. Consider How to Use a Modified ‘No’

If you are under pressure to say yes but want to say no, you may want to consider downgrading a “yes” to a “yes but…” giving you an opportunity to condition your agreement to what works best for you.

Sometimes, the condition can be to do the task but not in the time frame that was originally requested. Or perhaps you can do part of what has been asked.

Final Thoughts

Beginning right now, you can change how you respond to requests for your time. When the request comes in, take yourself off autopilot where you might normally say yes.

Use the request as a fresh request to draw a healthy boundary around your time. Pay particular attention to when you place certain demands on yourself. If you are the one placing the demand on yourself, try to evaluate the demand as if it were coming from somewhere else.

Try it now. Say no to a friend who continues to take advantage of your goodwill. Or, draw the line with a workaholic colleague and tell them you will complete the project but not by working all weekend. Or, tell someone in your family you can’t loan them money again because they never paid you back the last time. You’ll find yourself much happier.

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Featured photo credit: Chris Ainsworth via unsplash.com

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