Open, honest communication is crucial in any healthy relationship; whether that be a romantic relationship, a friendship, your relationship with your parents, siblings, co-workers, or even your favorite barista at Starbucks. Communication can be tricky though and often times can create unnecessary conflict. So here are 10 ways to overcome communication barriers in any relationship.
1. Find The Right Time
If something is bothering you and you want to have a serious conversation about it, you have to pick your time carefully. Don’t start serious conversations late at night or in a public place; instead, do it when you’re both in the same room not doing anything super important. Picking the right time is important because it will set the tone for the entire conversation.
2. Talk Face To Face
It is incredibly easy to misread or misinterpret conversations via text, Facebook, Twitter, or any other social media platform. The best way for open and honest communication is to talk face to face. It might be more of a hassle, but it is the only way to make sure that nothing is misunderstood.
3. Be Honest With Each Other
There’s really no point in communicating at all if you aren’t going to be honest about it. Expressing how you feel honestly and openly is the most important thing in communicating with someone. Beating around the bush won’t get you anywhere so dive in, head first, and say exactly what’s on your mind.
4. Check Your Body Language
Do you naturally stand with your arms crossed? Do you tend to avoid making eye contact? Your body language says a lot about you and is especially important when having a conversation with someone else. Make eye contact with whomever you’re speaking with and make sure to actively listen. Communication is not just about speaking, but it’s also about listening so be conscious of your body language.
5. Use The 48 Hour Rule
If someone hurts you, does something to make you angry or upset, or just generally bothers you, you definitely should talk to them about it, but you don’t have to do it right away. If you are still feeling angry, upset, hurt, or bothered 48 hours later, then you should bring it up and communicate how you’re feeling. If not though, consider forgetting about it and moving on.
6. Don’t Attack
When you’re having an argument with someone or are upset because of something, it is easy to get caught up in your emotions and come across as harsh or mean. Even if you mean well (and you probably do), your word choice can really impact how the other person interprets what you’re saying. So instead of saying something like “I don’t like it how you did…” or “It bothers me when you do…” use phrases like “I think that we can work on…” or “I feel that…”
7. Listen, Listen, Listen
Most of the time when we’re upset or need to communicate something important to someone, we don’t go in with the intent to listen. Communication is all about being able to listen and respond rather than just talk. It should be a conversation; talk to someone, not at them.
8. Be Clear About What You Want
Communicating with someone can be made much more difficult if you don’t actually know what you want to say. This doesn’t mean you have to write out exactly what you’re going to say, but having clear ideas about what you actually want and what the problem actually is will help make things go much smoother.
9. Have An Open Mind
If you are having communication issues in any kind of relationship, it might be because that person is afraid to talk to you or is afraid of what you might say. Having an open mind and an understanding heart will increase the chances that you will be able to communicate more freely. Going in with your mind already made up will not benefit anyone and will only guarantee that no real communicating happens. So keep your mind open and try your best to always be understanding.
10. Don’t Stress About It
Most of the time spent worrying or stressing about your communication barriers could better be spent working to make them better. The world will not end if you openly, honestly, communicate with someone. The problem is never as bad as you think it is and if you never try then you’ll never know. Stressing about communication issues will only make matters worse so take a deep breath and relax.
Communication can be hard. Whether the timing is always off, you don’t know how to express your feelings, or you’re too heated to collect yourself. With practice, you can become a great communicator and get through any problem, in any relationship!
Do you have any other tips for overcoming communication barriers? Share in the comments below!
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