We’ve all heard time and time again that communication is the key to a successful and happy relationship. It seems simple enough. Unless we live in a isolated environment, most people spend a large majority of their day talking. From the weather to sports to politics to who is going to be the next person eliminated on the Bachelor, we are essentially chatter boxes. However, most of what we talk about isn’t truly important. Yes, we don’t want to spend our dinners in silence, but that is not the type of communication that is going to save our crumbling relationship or keep our flourishing one afloat.
The key communication that all relationship experts talk about refers to honest, open conversation about issues that arise. For most of us, this is where we go from chatter boxes to silent mimes. So how can you open up and have healthy conversation about problems that arise?
- Find the right time. If something is bothering you, then you need to talk about it. Bottling up your feelings is only going to make you slowly go insane. However, do not let your feelings explode out of you, especially when your partner is in a public place, currently carrying another conversation, or working. Pick a time when you are both able to talk about the issue in a private place.
- Talk face-to-face. Try to avoid talking about problems over the phone or through a written message. Even if you are currently too far apart to meet up, speak over Skype. Talking face-to-face will ensure that you are both heard and miscommunication is not occurring.
- Be honest. Honesty is a huge part of any relationship. Even though the truth can hurt and is not always what the other person wants to hear, lying hurts worse.
- Maintain respect. Even though you may currently be disagreeing, they are still a person you care about that deserves your respect. Talk to them and not at them. Don’t make accusations or assumptions. Explain to them your point of view in a calm manner without attacking them and make sure to give them a chance to talk after you said your piece. When they are talking, truly listen to what they have to say, look them in the eyes, and try to see the situation from their perspective.