Communication is everything in a relationship. In fact, communicating is so important and so widely touted by experts that it's possible you're actually making communication mistakes in your relationship, such as communicating too much or about the wrong things. Hey, you tried, right? So what can you do if you feel like all you do is talk in circles and nothing gets better? Maybe it's time to switch up either how you're communicating, when you're communicating, or what you're communicating about.
One of vital first steps to better communication is to communicate about how you communicate best. I know, I know — it's a mouthful, but it's the truth. If you're not both ready to show up and listen, you're not going to get anywhere. And it's OK to mess up. Communicating is difficult and awkward at first, according to healthy relationships site LoveIsRespect.org, and each personality type communicates differently.
For example, maybe you're a "let's do this thing right now" type while your partner is a "let's take some time to think on this and process how we feel" type. If you don't get to know how each person needs to communicate, you'll be wasting a lot of breath (and a lot of potential Netflix and chill time) arguing.
1. You Have Bad Timing
If you try to talk to me first thing in the morning, all you're going to get is irritated eye rolls, no matter how seriously I take my wedding vows of kindness. I'm just not in control of myself until I have a good amount of caffeine in my bloodstream. The right time is when you're both together, awake, and not doing anything else that could distract you from the conversation, according to LoveIsRespect.org. Doing something else can also include stressing about something.
2. You're Talking Face-To-Face
Face-to-face seems like the most respectful way to tackle an issue, but it isn't the only way. "Some couples also find that using email or another method is easier to discuss emotional issues rather than trying to do so face-to-face," according to John M. Grohol, Psy.D. for PsychCentral. If you just can't seem to tackle one certain issue without devolving into a hot mess of arguments and drama, text may be a better way to get some of your feelings out.
3. You're Relying On Your Words Alone
Non-verbal cues, such as body language, facial expressions, and distance, can say just as much, if not more, than your words. It's important to pay attention to both you and your partner's verbal cues, according to non-profit mental health website HelpGuide.org. If your partner has crossed arms and is tapping her foot, she might be irritated and in need of a breather.
4. You're Demanding Answers
You might be a quick thinker and talker, but your partner might need time to process. If you push, you might get an answer that you didn't want and that your partner didn't mean, simply because he or she felt backed into a corner. Demanding answers and not giving your partner space to process isn't part of creating a safe, loving environment for discourse, according to LoveIsRespect.org.
5. You're Sweating The Small Stuff
There are some things that just aren't worth fighting about. Little annoyances like social media posts you don't like or the fact that your partner leaves towels on the bathroom floor aren't worth blowing up about, according to Liz Marie for the Huffington Post. Instead of "communicating" (read: yelling) about the problem, wait until you're not annoyed anymore and then casually mention it in a loving way.
6. You're Just Wrong
Sometimes you're just wrong or the issue at hand is totally your fault. Or maybe you've incorrectly assumed how your partner would react to a situation. That's a big no-no, according to Help Guide. "People change, and what you needed and wanted five years ago, for example, may be very different now." according to the article. You have to be open to challenging your motives and assumptions. You have to give and take in equal amounts.
The whole point of communicating is to share feelings and resolve disagreements. If you're not getting toward any type of resolution and the only feeling you're sharing is anger, it might be time to go to your separate corners and rethink how you're approaching your communication.
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