I came across an article by Robert Leahy about good communication in a relationship. After a lengthy introduction, it gets to the points: Pick the Right Time, Edit it Down, Pause and Ask for Feedback, Don’t Catastrophize, Don’t Attack, Tell Your Partner if You Want to Solve Problems or If You Want to Share Feelings, Listening Is Not Agreeing, Respect Advice, If You Describe a Problem, Describe a Solution, and Validate the Validator. I agree with some points and the others, well…let’s talk about it…
1. Pick The Right Time
The author says that “sometimes you think you need to be heard the minute you have a thought or feeling.” I’m guilty of this. When I get emotional that’s when I want to vent to him the most. It’s because that’s the time, aside from being drunk, where I have the courage to spit it all out. They don’t say “a drunk tongue speaks a sober mind” for nothin’. However, being under the influence of anything may make a person less likely to believe or listen to anything you’re saying.
2. Edit It Down
“Edit down and limit your comment to relatively clear and short sentences.” Nobody’s got the time to do that. There’s being calm and thinking rationally but dissecting it up like that is a little much. This isn’t a research paper.
3. Pause and Ask For Feedback
You should always do this. People have a tendency to run on and forget there’s another person there with thoughts and emotions. You should never go on and on without asking the other person how they feel about what you just said. Even Siri has to talk at some point.
4. Validate the Validator
I try to follow this as much as possible. If someone is advising you, supporting you, or just listening, don’t forget to say thank you. What we fail to realize is everyone goes through things. We aren’t the center of the world even when we’re in crisis mode. Venting about your stresses to another person just adds onto their plate.
I always tell him thank you, especially after I’ve vented. I go through so much crap and throw it on him and he just takes it. Thank you to me just means “I appreciate you listening and taking my crap.”
5. Listening Is Not Agreeing
Just because your partner is willing to hear you out doesn’t mean they’re agreeing with what you say. Listening is simply an agreement to try to understand where you are coming from. You need to realize that we all have different opinions on various things. We are not going to agree every single time you voice your feelings to me.
6. Don’t Attack
This is vey self-explanatory. Think about it, if someone was talking with you and called you an idiot would you still be receptive to what they’re saying? Insulting someone is the quickest way to make your partner shut down and to make the situation ten times worse. Good communication requires patience, understanding, and most importantly respect.
7. If You Describe a Problem, Describe a Solution
This isn’t as difficult as it might sound. But, it does take some time beforehand to think about. If there’s a certain problem you want to address, you should come up with a solution. If you vent about something you want a resolution which makes so much sense, but sometimes, you have to be the one to present it.
It’s pretty clear for for good communication between partners: Listen Really Consider Their Point of View, and Be Nice.