Communication is important in every type of relationship. But as far as you and your significant other are concerned, it’s the number on priority and needs to be on the table at all times. There are rough patches and fights of course, but keep a line of communication open so it can be done in a healthy way. Here are 10 communication tips for you and your S.O.
1. Figure Out Each Other’s Communication Style And Needs
First thing’s first, not everyone has the same communication style and that tends to lead to miscommunication and friction. As far as communication tips go, this one is big. It’s important to learn each’s others style and go from there. This is the way we share information with others. There are different styles of communication. Affiliative styles tend to want to bring people together and solve problems together. They prefer collaborative communication and see open disagreements as aggressive, hostile, and personal. Competitive styles see the need to “win” and their conversations are more direct. They tend to make decisions on their own without the cooperative style affiliatives like. There’s also direct and indirect communication. Direct styles will speak up when the need or want something. Indirect styles tend to test the waters before they come out and say how they feel. To simplify it without technical terms, we all have different styles. You may come across a problem and want to fix it immediately. Waiting may make you anxious and cause you to overthink, but maybe your partner needs time to cool off and think. Take a breath and take a step back. The argument isn’t you vs them. You’re not the reason their style is to take some time away. But if you both realize that the other has another approach, you can compromise. He doesn’t want to confront the issue right away and needs time to cool off and you want to fix it right away so you don’t feel sick. Come to an agreement where he can have x amount of time before you guys sit down and talk the issue through. If he needs more time, give him another x amount of time and then it needs to be talked about. Some talks are going to need more time than others but this puts you guys on the same page with the same expectations about getting through problems. Once you figure out who you are, and who they are, understanding and being aware can make you more sensitive, more flexible in the style of communication you use, and ease the tension in certain situations. Needs also need to be communicated so each person knows what to expect out of the relationship. Communication is the hardest thing in every relationship and should be worked on every day. You and your S.O. will be happier for it.
2. There’s No Such Thing As Over-communication
If there is something that is bugging you or throwing you off, address it. Even if it doesn’t seem big. Partners tackle issues together, there’s no reason to bear weight alone when you have someone that loves you and wants the best for you. Whether it’s about them or not, they can sense when you’re off and just want to help. The world’s weight gets a little heavy sometimes, and even something as just letting your partner know you’re having an off day lets them know that it’s not on them and they can better care for you.
3. Expectation And Communication Go Hand In Hand
Sometimes we set ourselves up for disappointment when we have outlined expectations without ever communicating them with our partner. Like we said before, there’s no such thing as over-communicating. If you expect him to come to a work party with you, let him know. And vice versa. You both should know what each other expects so it doesn’t lead to an argument over miscommunication and hurt feelings.
4. Body Language is Communication
You may notice little quirks your partner has. They cross their arms when they’re mad. They lean away from you. They jump on you when they get excited. They roll their eyes at your jokes. All of this is body language and the more you observe your S.O. in situations, the more you will know about their body language. You can feel them tense up or relax, you can tell by the way they lean into you or away from you. Take body language into account when talking through problems. Open arms is more open to communicating. Crossed arms is more closed off. Realize and evaluate how to handle your issues.
5. Silence Is Communication
Another one of these helpful communication tips is silence is communication. While is not always the best form of communication, there are times it can be productive, or understandable. Silence can be an outcome of your partner shutting down. Something happened that they feel the need shut down or are so hurt they turn to silence. Read into it. Think about what you said or did that would cause them to shut themselves off like that. Silence also helps certain types figure out what to do without any cooperative method. It gives them some peace to think and then come back to an issue. Silence is communication. Understand what it means and how it affects you and your partner.
6. Wishes Need To Be Voiced
Just like expectations and needs, wishes all need to be voiced. If you wish your partner rubbed your back before bed because it calms you down, tell them. If you want more attention, let them know. It will not get done otherwise and you’ll be stuck wishing for it. Your partner can’t read your mind. They may be thoughtful and loving, but they need your help.
7. Pick A Time And A Place To Communicate
First thing in the morning might not be everyone’s cup of tea when it comes to tackling an issue. That being said, be mindful of your environment. Don’t passive aggressively bring things up at a work event or a family reunion. Be mindful where you are and what time it is. Neutral territory and not too early or late is a good place to start.
8. Look At How Their Family And Friends Communicate
This could be a big indicator on how they were raised or taught to communicate. Yes, it may not be a good style of communication but this will give you a clue on how to approach them and lend more understanding of where they come from.
9. Listen And Respond
Everyone and their mother wants to pick apart the conversation and choose what they think they should respond to, or what they want to respond to. Everything your partner says has weighed on their mind and needs to be acknowledged. You cannot pick and choose what seems worthy to talk about when they open up to you. Listen to what they have to say and respond with patience and kindness. It’s not always easy or a go-to, but it will make your S.O. feel heard, loved, and more willing to open up again.
10. Respect Your Partner
Recognize what you’re discussing does not just affect you. Sincerely put yourself in their shoes and be an advocate for their needs. You should be empathetic and loving at all times, even when it feels like you’re “losing” the argument. Lets be honest, if you guys make up and have a better understanding of what the other needs/wants/feels, then is anyone actually losing? Respect how they feel by taking a step back and trying to see both points of view. It’s hard, but practice makes perfect and you’ll be a better communicator for it.