Communication in a relationship is arguably the key to maintaining a healthy, happy and successful relationship. Improved communication means that you can handle disputes better, have a greater understanding and you both feel content knowing that it’s possible to reach a compromise. A lot of the time, relationships end due to built up resentment and hurtful actions as a result of poor communication. To avoid that and to keep each other happy, here are seven steps to improve communication in a relationship.
1. Make small talk
Making small talk about the weather or a TV show that you both like may seem insignificant when it comes to building emotional connections. However, these small and light discussions are just as effective at creating close emotional ties to your partner than “deep” discussions about your feelings. Both are important but learning small things about your partner help to build that foundation and can make both of you feel open to talking about any subject.
2. Keep asking questions
Don’t assume that you know the answer. No matter how long you’ve been with your partner, keep asking questions. It can be anything, from how their day was to about a new series they’ve recently gotten into. People change and grow, and it’s guaranteed that no matter how much you know your significant other, you’ll discover something new. Asking questions in a relationship keeps things healthy as it shows your investment towards the relationship and your partner.
3. Find a balance
When trying to improve communication in a relationship, it’s important that you both get the chance to talk and listen. Finding this healthy balance can be difficult but it’s essential that you do. If you feel that you don’t have anything interesting to say, then you’re probably wrong, and if anything your partner wants to learn more about you. If you’re the one talking the most, then take a step back and allow your partner to tell you something about themselves. After all, communication in a relationship takes equal effort from two parties.
4. Don’t shut down
Shutting someone out or giving them the cold shoulder is one of the worst things you can do. It’ll only cause confusion, misunderstandings, and resentment from both sides. If you have a problem, big or small, tell your partner so that they’re aware of it. Talking out your problems and having civil discussions will make your relationship healthier and a lot more stable, rather than letting unresolved issues snowball into larger arguments later down the line.
5. Be understanding
This is perhaps one of the most important steps in improving communication in a relationship. For your relationship to work, you both need to be understanding and open to discussion. See the problem from your partners perspective, and vice versa, and try to reach a compromise that you can both get behind.
6. Use a scenario
Sometimes it can be difficult getting your partner to see your side of an argument. For example, they may see nothing wrong with grabbing dinner and drinks with an ex, but the idea of that makes you uncomfortable. If that’s the case, ask them how they would feel if you did the same thing with a previous partner – the odds are that they won’t be as approving. Use scenarios so that your partner can put themselves in your shoes, making them more open to your viewpoint.
7. Use “I” rather than “you”
Using “you” statements can put your partner on the defensive and make them feel as if they’re to blame. Pointing out the things they do wrong in such a direct way can feel like accusations and it’s likely to put them on the defensive. To avoid this, you should focus on using “I” statements instead. So rather than saying “You haven’t been spending time with me”, say “I feel like you haven’t been spending time with me”. Putting the focus on yourself means that you’re the one taking responsibility for your feelings and your partner is less likely to feel attacked. It’s a simple change but it’s one that can shift the tone to a more positive one, preventing the conversation from spinning out of control.