Advertising
Advertising

Level Up Your Communication in Relationships With These 7 Tips

Level Up Your Communication in Relationships With These 7 Tips

    Communication can be a really tough thing, especially if it is with someone that you have been in a relationship with for a long time. People tend to get comfortable with each other and when that happens the levels of communication may start to decrease because you “know each other so well”.

    I’ve been with my wife for 7 years (married for a little over 2 years) and we have had issues that every couple has had; assuming that each other knows something, miscommunication, lack of communication, and not taking time for communication. We fell into a comfortable routine in our life, and when that happened, our communication started to suffer.

    SEE ALSO: 10 Things To Stop Doing in Your Relationships

    Advertising

    So, don’t let comfortableness fool you; there is still communication issues that will come up if you don’t keep yourself open and honest and make an effort to communicate with your partner. Follow these simple tips to make sure that your communication in relationships is top notch.

    1. Assuming

    You have heard the old saying, “Assuming makes an ‘ass’ out of ‘u’ and ‘me’”. Yes, it’s cheeky and kind of stupid, but it’s very true. It’s important in your relationship to not assume something unless it has been clearly laid out in some form of communication.

    For instance, it’s assumed that I will take out the garbage every Tuesday night (oops, need to get on that), but only because my wife and I have a verbal contract that says so. If I don’t take out the garbage, then it is my fault. If there were no contract, the blame couldn’t really be passed to anyone. Sounds technical, but it happens all the time.

    So, don’t assume, unless it has been laid out in a concrete way with your partner.

    Advertising

    2. Say what you mean

    If you have something to say in your relationship, then say it clearly and concisely. It’s important to tell the other person exactly what you mean, because if you don’t, they will create in their heads what they think you mean. And that is never a good situation to be in.

    Just take some time to say what you mean, don’t rush your thoughts, and clarify your point if necessary.

    3. Don’t shut up

    If you have something to say, then say it. Don’t keep things bottled up inside, especially when something in the relationship is bothering you. Also, if you have something good to say about your partner, say it loud and often. People may not necessarily like to hear the truth all the time, but it’s an important communication skill to let the other person in the relationship know where you are at.

    4. Think about her before yourself

    “It’s all about me”. Yeah, that doesn’t work so well in a relationship.

    Advertising

    While you shouldn’t let one side of the relationship have all the attention, it’s important to to let your other half have some attention before you get some. This shows that you actually care what they are doing in their lives and that you are interested in them.

    Plus practicing a little selflessness every day can only make you a more sincere and empathetic person.

    5. Don’t discourage conversation about feelings

    Guys may be apprehensive about sharing what they feel at any given time (OK, anyone may be apprehensive), but if you really want to kick your communication into high gear share what your feelings are about the situtations that are going on in your life.

    When I have shared what I truly felt with my wife, she was amazed and felt much more connected to me (and I with her). Talking about feelings sounds cliche, but don’t disregard it; it is important and it works.

    Advertising

    6. Make communication time

    At least once a day set aside some time to open the lines of communication with your partner. Basically shut down all the gizmos and just have a conversation. It may feel weird and somewhat uncomfortable at first, but the quality of the conversation will get better and better as time goes on.

    Also, you will end up learning a bunch of things you never knew about your partner (yes, even after many years of being with them).

    7. Make non-communication time

    On the opposite side of this, make sure that you have scheduled time for not communicating. In other words, schedule a little “me time” every single day. This is great for introspection and reflection on your life and current situation. You can process feelings, worries, thoughts, etc. by yourself and then bring them to your partner during your own communication times.

    Sometimes we need a little quiet to understand what is going on with us on the inside.

    Communication is the most important thing in my marriage and many others. Don’t take it for granted and make sure to spend some serious time working on communication by following the tips above. Your relationships will only benefit from them.

    (Photo credit: Problems via Shutterstock)

    More by this author

    CM Smith

    A technologist and writer who shares advice on personal productivity, creativity and how to use technology to get things done.

    Design Is Important: How To Fail At Blogging 7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively 6 Unexpected Ways Journaling Every Day Will Make Your Life Better Why Getting Things Done is the Best Productivity System For You How to Beat Procrastination: 29 Ways to Beat It Once and for All To Automate or not to Automate Your Personal Productivity System

    Trending in Communication

    1 The Secret to Effective Conflict Resolution: The IBR Approach 2 How to Master Effective Communication Skills at Work and Home 3 Building Relationships: 11 Rules for Self-Promotion 4 18 Ways to Have Effective Communication in the Workplace 5 How to Make Changes in Life To Be The Very Best Version of You

    Read Next

    Advertising
    Advertising
    Advertising

    Last Updated on February 21, 2019

    The Secret to Effective Conflict Resolution: The IBR Approach

    The Secret to Effective Conflict Resolution: The IBR Approach

    In business, in social relationships, in family… In whatever context conflict is always inevitable, especially when you are in the leader role. This role equals “make decisions for the best of majority” and the remaining are not amused. Conflicts arise.

    Conflicts arise when we want to push for a better quality work but some members want to take a break from work.

    Conflicts arise when we as citizens want more recreational facilities but the Government has to balance the needs to maintain tourism growth.

    Conflicts are literally everywhere.

    Avoiding Conflicts a No-No and Resolving Conflicts a Win-Win

    Avoiding conflicts seem to be a viable option for us. The cruel fact is, it isn’t. Conflicts won’t walk away by themselves. They will, instead, escalate and haunt you back even more when we finally realize that’s no way we can let it be.

    Moreover, avoiding conflicts will eventually intensify the misunderstanding among the involved parties. And the misunderstanding severely hinders open communication which later on the parties tend to keep things secret. This is obviously detrimental to teamwork.

    Advertising

    Some may view conflicts as the last step before arguments. And they thus leave it aside as if they never happen. This is not true.

    Conflicts are the intersect point between different individuals with different opinions. And this does not necessarily lead to argument.

    Instead, proper handling of conflicts can actually result in a win-win situation – both parties are pleased and allies are gained. A better understanding between each other and future conflicts are less likely to happen.

    The IBR Approach to Resolve Conflicts

    Here, we introduce to you an effective approach to resolve conflicts – the Interest-Based Relational (IBR) approach. The IBR approach was developed by Roger Fisher and William Ury in their 1981 book Getting to Yes. It stresses the importance of the separation between people and their emotions from the problem. Another focus of the approach is to build mutual understanding and respect as they strengthen bonds among parties and can ultimately help resolve conflicts in a harmonious way. The approach suggests a 6-step procedure for conflict resolution:

    Step 1: Prioritize Good Relationships

    How? Before addressing the problem or even starting the discussion, make it clear the conflict can result in a mutual trouble and through subsequent respectful negotiation the conflict can be resolved peacefully. And that brings the best outcome to the whole team by working together.

    Why? It is easy to overlook own cause of the conflict and point the finger to the members with different opinions. With such a mindset, it is likely to blame rather than to listen to the others and fail to acknowledge the problem completely. Such a discussion manner will undermine the good relationships among the members and aggravate the problem.

    Advertising

    Example: Before discussion, stress that the problem is never one’s complete fault. Everyone is responsible for it. Then, it is important to point out our own involvement in the problem and state clearly we are here to listen to everyone’s opinions rather than accusing others.

    Step 2: People Are NOT the Cause of Problem

    How? State clearly the problem is never one-sided. Collaborative effort is needed. More importantly, note the problem should not be taken personally. We are not making accusations on persons but addressing the problem itself.

    Why? Once things taken personally, everything will go out of control. People will become irrational and neglect others’ opinions. We are then unable to address the problem properly because we cannot grasp a fuller and clearer picture of the problem due to presumption.

    Example: In spite of the confronting opinions, we have to emphasize that the problem is not a result of the persons but probably the different perspectives to view it. So, if we try to look at the problem from the other’s perspective, we may understand why there are varied opinions.

    Step 3: Listen From ALL Stances

    How? Do NOT blame others. It is of utmost importance. Ask for everyone’s opinions. It is important to let everyone feel that they contribute to the discussion. Tell them their involvement is essential to solve the problem and their effort is very much appreciated.

    Why? None wants to be ignored. If one feels neglected, it is very likely for he/she to be aggressive. It is definitely not what we hope to see in a discussion. Acknowledging and being acknowledged are equally important. So, make sure everyone has equal opportunity to express their views. Also, realizing their opinions are not neglected, they will be more receptive to other opinions.

    Advertising

    Example: A little trick can played here: Invite others to talk first. It is an easy way to let others feel involved and ,more importantly, know their voices are heard. Also, we can show that we are actively listening to them by giving direct eye-contact and nodding. One important to note is that never interrupt anyone. Always let them finish first beforeanother one begins.

    Step 4: Listen Comes First, Talk Follows

    How? Ensure everyone has listened to one another points of view. It can be done by taking turn to speak and leaving the discussion part at last. State once again the problem is nothing personal and no accusation should be made.

    Why? By turn-taking, everyone can finish talking and voices of all sides can be heard indiscriminantly. This can promote willingness to listen to opposing opinions.

    Example: We can prepare pieces of paper with different numbers written on them. Then, ask different members to pick one and talk according to the sequence of the number. After everyone’s finished, advise everyone to use “I” more than “You” in the discussion period to avoid others thinking that it is an accusation.

    Step 5: Understand the Facts, Then Address the Problem

    How? List out ALL the facts first. Ask everyone to tell what they know about the problems.

    Why? Sometimes your facts are unknown to the others while they may know something we don’t. Missing out on these facts could possibly lead to inaccurate capture of the problem. Also, different known facts can lead to different perception of the matter. It also helps everyone better understand the problem and can eventually help reach a solution.

    Advertising

    Example: While everyone is expressing their own views, ask them to write down everything they know that is true to the problem. As soon as everyone has finished, all facts can be noted and everyone’s understanding of the problem is raised.

    Step 6: Solve the Problem Together

    How? Knowing what everyone’s thinking, it is now time to resolve the conflict. Up to this point, everyone should have understood the problem better. So, it is everyone’s time to suggest some solutions. It is important not to have one giving all the solutions.

    Why? Having everyone suggesting their solutions is important as they will not feel excluded and their opinions are considered. Besides, it may also generate more solutions that can better resolve the conflicts. Everyone will more likely be satisfied with the result.

    Example: After discussion, ask all members to suggest any possible solutions and stress that all solutions are welcomed. State clearly that we are looking for the best outcomes for everyone’s sake rather than battling to win over one another. Then, evaluate all the solutions and pick the one that is in favor of everyone.

    Read Next