Do you feel vulnerable talking about your feelings and find it difficult to communicate? Discover 8 ways to improve your relationships with these simple communication techniques.
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Estimated reading time: 6 minutes
A relationship is a broad term for any close connection with the people in your life. Whether the relationship is platonic, romantic, or familial, chances are it can be improved with better communication. Before you begin, you first need to assess the situation and assess which type of communication you are lacking.
Birgit Ohlin, of Positive Psychology, describes communication as a verbal or nonverbal message encoded by a “sender” and decoded by a “receiver.” This notion implies a connection needs to be made in the minds of each party in an attempt to interpret and comprehend a certain message.
Most can agree that bettering your communication can have a drastic impact on improving your relationships. The more you can understand about your partner, the closer you can become to knowing and loving them as a person. So ask yourself, what part of communication can you improve for the sake of your relationship?
For instance, begin with implementing these 8 communication hacks to improve relationships.
Here’s What You’ll Learn
1. Listen With Compassion
This first piece of advice appears to be the easiest or most simple idea. However, listening with your ears is not enough. Even if you are listening, you may be making it harder for your partner to recognize it.
Instead, try indicating to your partner that you are listening, but be aware of seeming dismissive or uninterested. Do nonverbal communication like nodding your head and looking them in the eye. This displays respect and makes the other person feel heard.
Another communication technique linked with this tip is reiterating what they are saying. This ensures you understand where they are coming from, and the capability of misunderstanding them is significantly decreased. Combine this tip with listening intently for improving your relationships.
2. Think Before You Act To Improve Relationships
Most can agree on the truth that our words have power. What we say has the strength to affect others whether that be to help them or to hurt them. When you’re in an argument, it can be easy to focus on only your emotions and say things out of anger.
Give each other the space to think through an argument in your separate spaces mentally and physically before you act impulsively on emotion. When you mean what you say, you can build trust between you and the other person. You improve the relationship by being honest in a way that thinks about the other’s thoughts and feelings.
It is more than being self-aware, it is about being empathetic and kind to those you love.
3. You And Them Vs. The Problem
When an issue arises, you may want to blame one or more parties for the cause of the problem. Even if they might be a conduit for how the problem started, blaming them likely isn’t going to solve it.
However, after communicating with one another, would eventually find that neither one of you are the actual problem. Look internally at how you are feeling, and externally to see where that might have stemmed from. Was it internal trauma that was translated? Or, did you feel attacked or hurt by what was done or said?
Go to the root of the problem together and come out of the other side with a relationship improved and have grown together as a team.
4. Acknowledge When You Are Not Okay
Being honest is the source of this communication technique. You must be more than honest to help them understand where you are truly coming from. Saying “I’m fine,” and resenting them for the problem at hand isn’t going to get you anywhere but a long road of holding grudges and letting people take advantage of you.
Letting someone know when they have hurt your feelings isn’t you being weak, it is you choosing to be vulnerable and truthful so that your point may be heard. It is important to tell others when you are not okay with something so that you can fix the root of the problem and prevent it from happening again.
5. Learn To Trust When Improving Relationships
Trust what they say rather than what you assume they mean. Trust that they have your best interests in mind, even if they do not. This communication technique isn’t just about giving them unconditional trust. It is about allowing yourself the space to improve the relationship through trusting their words are true.
Although this may seem like you are choosing to be naive and complacent you are actually teaching yourself to give others the chance to prove you wrong. Don’t assume where they may be coming from. Instead, listen to them and give them the benefit of your doubt.
People can be a lot more than you pictured them to be if you allow them the opportunity to surpass your expectations. Granted, your partner may not always have good intentions. It is up to you to decide whether or not you want to keep improving the relationship or if you want to go your separate ways. But trying and failing once or twice is a good thing.
6. Show You Care By Checking In
After you have constructed a plan to work on the issue you two are attempting to tackle, find time periodically to check in with your relationship.
7. Interpret The Nonverbal Signs
While you definitely shouldn’t be playing any guessing games with the person in question, there are some pretty common signals people give off to indicate clearly how they are feeling. And, you should be aware of a few to help you better interpret the signs of frustration before they get out of hand and someone explodes.
For instance, if you’re in an argument and someone rolls their eyes or furrows their brow, chances are they are in duress or feeling annoyed and frustrated. Take a second and give them the space to say what they really feel without holding them to those words. Or just give them the space they may need.
Be aware of the signs like knowing when someone is crossing their arms they probably feel attacked. Stop that feeling and leave room for communication by simply lowering your tone and temporarily backing down.
8. Try An Outside Opinion
This can be a best friend of yours, an unbiased stranger, or a therapist you know and trust. Regardless of the source, having an extra outside opinion to compare to your own feelings and thoughts can do wonders for improving relationships.
Someone who does not benefit from any biased party provides a decent perspective. With them, you can get across what you are trying to say without the “noise” of misinterpretation.
Sticking To Communication
Sometimes no matter how hard you try or how much better your communication gets, you still may not come to any satisfying solution. As long as you are committing to bettering the place you hold in relationships, you will reap the benefits across all relationships including personal and professional environments.
If you’d like to learn more about improving communication within relationships, make sure to read ‘Love More, Fight Less: Communication Skills Every Couple Needs: A Relationship Workbook for Couples’.