Communication is the key to any successful relationship. But, communicating how we really feel about any given situation can be more difficult than we usually realize. When we aren’t given the correct communication tools, or we don’t do it properly, it can lead to arguments and frustration on both parties.
Thankfully, communicating what you feel, and doing it effectively, doesn’t have to be extremely difficult. Use the following tips for healthier communication overall, and to make sure your partner is really able to understand how you feel when you’re trying to tell them something. The clearer your communication, the less chance of conflict.
Choose Words that Don’t Attack
When you’re feeling a certain way (especially if you’re feeling hurt), it’s easy to use words that can feel like an attack on your partner, even if that isn’t your intention. Saying things like “you” can instantly put your partner in defense mode. If you really want to talk about your feelings without attacking them, start statements with “I” or “we.” This simple switch can help to get your point across clearly, and it will give your partner an open opportunity to listen without feeling judged.
Always Be Honest
It’s easier said than done sometimes, but being completely honest is extremely important in sharing your feelings. You will feel better about your openness, and though the truth may hurt at times, in the end, it’s likely to make your relationship stronger. Don’t tip toe around what you’re trying to say. Keep the truth as simple and as uncomplicated as possible.
Engage in Face-to-Face Conversations
In a world filled with technology, a lot of our daily communication is done via text, video chatting, email, and everything in between. Those are all fine mediums for casual conversation, but if you really have something on your mind, having a face-to-face conversation is necessary.
It’s not possible to fully communicate how you’re feeling if you’re not looking directly at your partner. They could misconstrue what you’re saying, or you won’t be able to get your full emotion across in another medium. Plus, if you talk face-to-face, things are less likely to get misinterpreted, and the conversation can be resolved faster.
If you’re used to communicating via mediums like text, etc., and you’re worried that you won’t have the right words to say in a direct conversation, consider writing down your thoughts and feelings ahead of time. Don’t create a ‘script,’ but jotting down how you feel and some important things you want to say can increase your comfort level, and make it easier to share everything you need to with your significant other.
Share Your Feelings and Save Your Conversation Style
These simple tips can make a huge difference in the way you converse within your relationship. Expressing your feelings directly is important for your personal emotional health, and for the health of two people as a couple. When you know how to communicate what you feel properly, you’ll likely experience less arguments and less frustration.
Make sure your partner is aware of these tips, as well. Two people who can communicate honestly in a relationship are always on the right track. Even if important disagreements arise (and they will), being able to be open with one another can make even the biggest problems seem manageable together.
Written by Kin Leung, MFT, providing couples therapy Burlingame