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7 Communication Mistakes Most Couples Make

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7 Communication Mistakes Most Couples Make

Being half of a couple can be difficult, even if you’re head-over-heels in love. Communicating with your honey can get touchy, because both of you have different thoughts, opinions, emotions and histories. Check out this list and see what common communication mistakes most couples make, so you can eliminate them from your own relationship.

1. Assuming that more communication is the solution.

Believe it or not, there is such thing as too much communication. Have you ever discussed or argued your point so much that you start saying everything that comes to mind? Sometimes those things that come to mind aren’t the best to come from your mouth… But this happens because you’re talking so much that you’re saying things just to hold your own in the conversation. This is how you know you’re communicating too much. Sometimes you need to keep things to yourself, and while this doesn’t mean hiding things from your partner, it means picking your words carefully and saying just what needs to be said to resolve the issue at hand. The last thing you want to do is open another can of worms while you’re in the middle of resolving the current issue!

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2. Expecting your partner to read your mind.

You don’t want to communicate too much, but you also don’t want to bite your tongue and expect your partner to know what you’re thinking. If you’re waiting for someone to read your mind, you’re never going to feel like an equal in the relationship. You need to say what you’re thinking and feeling, just make sure your partner understands that these are your emotions and opinions, not something you’re forcing on them.

3. Giving in without saying what you think.

Don’t roll over and give up everything you’re thinking just to resolve the problem at hand. Your partner can’t win every time, and you need to make sure you’re letting your feelings be known and getting what you need from the relationship, too. If you never say what you think because you’re trying to keep the peace, you’ll find that over time you’re actually holding a grudge and resenting your partner because you’re unhappy in the relationship.

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    4. Harping on hopeless issues.

    It’s easy to bring up fights from the past, or nag your partner for things in their history, or things they believe or do differently from you. This is always a bad choice, though. It changes nothing, and it makes you look like you’re never going to let anything go. Be the type of person who can get over a fight when it’s resolved, and not bring it up in each fight that follows. “Live in the moment” sounds like silly advice when you’re in the middle of an argument, but it’s something that needs to be done so you’re not prolonging every fight you have.

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    5. Not understanding what is really being said.

    Some couples find it helpful to summarize each others’ points. Sounds like something you’d do for a high school paper, right? It’s actually a really good way to make sure you understand each other! After your partner shares their thoughts, summarize by saying “It sounds like you’re happy with X, but need Y to change to feel like the relationship is moving forward.” Your partner can then clarify if needed. If you got it right, then you can start explaining your thoughts on the issue. This way each remark doesn’t bring up a new fight due to imagined snarkiness or hostility.

    6. Thinking about your rebuttal instead of listening.

    It’s ok to admit — most of us go into a fight knowing what points we want to make, how we want the other person to feel, and what we want for “winning”. This is a bad attitude to have, though, because any discussion should have at least two sides to be fair. But when you know exactly what you want to say, you often think about that instead of listening to what the other person is saying. Don’t just focus on the first few words your partner says — listen to their whole statement, take a moment to absorb it, and then think about what you want to say in a return. If you have to scrap your original plan of attack, it’s probably for the best.

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    7. Not considering the other’s point of view.

    Everyone is different, and you know your partner intimately. You know how they think about things, how certain words or situations make them feel. Don’t forget all of this just to win an argument. Take your partner’s feelings, opinions and background into consideration when you communicate. You can sidestep a lot of fights and hurt feelings by being considerate this way.

    Featured photo credit: morning shadow via flickr.com

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    Last Updated on November 18, 2021

    10 Proven Ways to Judge a Person’s Character

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    10 Proven Ways to Judge a Person’s Character

    We all fall into the trap of judging a person’s character by their appearance. How wrong we are! All too often, the real character of the person only appears when some negative event hits them or you. Then you may see a toxic person emerging from the ruins and it is often a shock.

    A truly frightening example is revealed in the book by O’Toole in Bowman called Dangerous Instincts: How Gut Instincts Betray Us. A perfectly respectable, charming, well dressed neighbor was found to have installed a torture chamber in his garage where he was systematically abusing kidnapped women. This is an extreme example, but it does show how we can be totally deceived by a person’s physical appearance, manners and behavior.

    So, what can you do? You want to be able to assess personal qualities when you come into contact with colleagues, fresh acquaintances and new friends who might even become lifelong partners. You want to know if they are:

    • honest
    • reliable
    • competent
    • kind and compassionate
    • capable of taking the blame
    • able to persevere
    • modest and humble
    • pacific and can control anger.

    The secret is to reserve judgment and take your time. Observe them in certain situations; look at how they react. Listen to them talking, joking, laughing, explaining, complaining, blaming, praising, ranting, and preaching. Only then will you be able to judge their character. This is not foolproof, but if you follow the 10 ways below, you have a pretty good chance of not ending up in an abusive relationship.

    1. Is anger a frequent occurrence?

    All too often, angry reactions which may seem to be excessive are a sign that there are underlying issues. Do not think that every person who just snaps and throws his/her weight around mentally and physically is just reacting normally. Everyone has an occasional angry outburst when driving or when things go pear-shaped.

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    But if this is almost a daily occurrence, then you need to discover why and maybe avoid that person. Too often, anger will escalate to violent and aggressive behavior. You do not want to be near someone who thinks violence can solve personal or global problems.

    2. Can you witness acts of kindness?

    How often do you see this person being kind and considerate? Do they give money to beggars, donate to charity, do voluntary work or in some simple way show that they are willing to share the planet with about 7 billion other people?

    I was shocked when a guest of mine never showed any kindness to the weak and disadvantaged people in our town. She was ostensibly a religious person, but I began to doubt the sincerity of her beliefs.

    “The best index to a person’s character is how he treats people who can’t do him any good, and how he treats people who can’t fight back.”

    Abigail Van Buren

    3. How does this person take the blame?

    Maybe you know that s/he is responsible for a screw-up in the office or even in not turning up on time for a date. Look at their reaction. If they start blaming other colleagues or the traffic, well, this is an indication that they are not willing to take responsibility for their mistakes.

    4. Don’t use Facebook as an indicator.

    You will be relieved to know that graphology (the study of that forgotten skill of handwriting) is no longer considered a reliable test of a person’s character. Neither is Facebook stalking, fortunately. A study showed that Facebook use of foul language, sexual innuendo and gossip were not reliable indicators of a candidate’s character or future performance in the workplace.

    5. Read their emails.

    Now a much better idea is to read the person’s emails. Studies show that the use of the following can indicate certain personality traits:

    • Too many exclamation points may reveal a sunny disposition
    • Frequent errors may indicate apathy
    • Use of smileys is the only way a person can smile at you
    • Use of the third person may reveal a certain formality
    • Too many question marks can show anger
    • Overuse of capital letters is regarded as shouting. They are a definite no-no in netiquette, yet a surprising number of  people still use them.

    6. Watch out for the show offs.

    Listen to people as they talk. How often do they mention their achievements, promotions, awards and successes? If this happens a lot, it is a sure indication that this person has an over-inflated view of his/her achievements. They are unlikely to be modest or show humility. What a pity!  Another person to avoid.

    7. Look for evidence of perseverance.

    A powerful indicator of grit and tenacity is when a person persists and never gives up when they really want to achieve a life goal. Look for evidence of them keeping going in spite of enormous difficulties.

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    Great achievements by scientists and inventors all bear the hallmark of perseverance. We only have to think of Einstein, Edison (who failed thousands of times) and Nelson Mandela to get inspiration. The US Department of Education is in no doubt about how grit, tenacity and perseverance will be key success factors for youth in the 21st century.

    8. Their empathy score is high.

    Listen to how they talk about the less fortunate members of our society such as the poor, immigrants and the disabled. Do you notice that they talk in a compassionate way about these people? The fact that they even mention them is a strong indicator of empathy.

    People with zero empathy will never talk about the disadvantaged. They will rarely ask you a question about a difficult time or relationship. They will usually steer the conversation back to themselves. These people have zero empathy and in extreme cases, they are psychopaths who never show any feelings towards their victims.

    9. Learn how to be socially interactive.

    We are social animals and this is what makes us so uniquely human. If a person is isolated or a loner, this may be a negative indicator of their character. You want to meet a person who knows about trust, honesty and loyalty. The only way to practice these great qualities is to actually interact socially. The great advantage is that you can share problems and celebrate success and joy together.

    “One can acquire everything in solitude, except character.”

    Stendhal

     10. Avoid toxic people.

    These people are trying to control others and often are failing to come to terms with their own failures. Typical behavior and conversations may concern:

    • Envy or jealousy
    • Criticism of partners, colleagues and friends
    • Complaining about their own lack of success
    • Blaming others for their own bad luck or failure
    • Obsession with themselves and their problems

    Listen to these people talk and you will quickly discover that you need to avoid them at all costs because their negativity will drag you down. In addition, as much as you would like to help them, you are not qualified to do so.

    Now, having looked at some of the best ways to judge a person, what about yourself? How do others see you? Why not take Dr. Phil’s quiz and find out. Can you bear it?

    Featured photo credit: Jacek Dylag via unsplash.com

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