Today’s article is all about communication. Here are a few tips that can help improve communication between you and your partner.
Don’t assume that your partner can read your mind.
You might know why you are giving your partner the cold shoulder, but he/she probably doesn’t. Not only is this type of behavior counter-productive, but it creates a negative pattern for dealing with your/their emotions. Vocalize the issue in a productive manner as soon as you are aware of it in order to avoid unnecessary emotional stress for both parties.
Say What You Mean (And speak for yourself)
Obvious right? This dovetails perfectly with the whole mind-reading thing. If you don’t vocalize your concerns, emotions, and thoughts then your partner has no chance of adapting their behavior in a way that suits your needs. When you say what you mean, make sure to only speak for yourself and not project feelings/actions/motives onto your partner. Even though you think you know exactly what cause the behavior at hand, letting your partner speak for themselves will do wonders for your communication. Not only does it let them validate their actions and emotions, but it remind you to be an active listener (see below).
Put Yourself in Their Shoes
We have been hearing this advice since kindergarten, and yet it is the first thing to fly out the window in a disagreement. Make mental note of the external pressures that your partner faces and how these might be shaping their actions. Take the time to retrace the situation from their perspective and examine your own actions from this point of view. What you observe in this exercise might be enough to resolve the conflict and move forward.
Connection Before Communication
A five hour long talk is not going to get you anywhere if you are not connected to your partner. Brainstorm ways that you and your partner connect— do you love taking long walks with your dog, are you a great team in the kitchen, is there an album that puts a smile on both of your faces and moves you to dance around your living room? In addition, make sure that you cool off before entering a conversation. Coming in with a hot temper and bruised ego is not going to get you anywhere— and it will likely send signals to your partner to shut down and break off any emotional connection.
Be an Active Listener
Staring off into the space behind your partners head and shutting down emotionally is not helping anyone. Maintain relaxed body language, make eye contact, nod and try your hardest to synthesize the information coming your way. Ask questions to clarify anything that is still muddled in your mind. Focus on your partner, his/her emotions, and what they need from you to move forward.
Remember Why You’re Here
You love this person- don’t let a disagreement get blown out of proportion. In the same light, don’t harp on useless topics— slowly hacking away at your partner for a minor issue that is unlikely to be completely resolved. While forgive and forget is not a useful approach— you have should be able to forgive and adapt.