3 Tips for Better Communication During Difficult Conversations
Don’t make things harder than they have to be.
Communication is one of the core elements of healthy relationships, which is why learning how to improve your communication skills is critical.
Effective communication can stop arguments before they start, help you overcome misunderstandings, and leave nothing in the way of confusion about what you and your partner want or need.
One of the most upsetting feelings you could ever experience when you’re in a relationship or marriage is when you feel like you can’t say what you think or how you feel and be understood. You feel unbearably empty inside, which sucks the life out of you and your relationship.
There are plenty of reasons when you may not feel like you can open up and be honest with your partner or summon the courage to ask for what you want.
But, if you want to be happy, knowing how to communicate effectively and ask for what you want — in a way your spouse or partner can hear it — is something you must be able to do.
If you can’t communicate with your partner in this way, you not only feel disconnected from them, but you’re probably also angry and upset, even if you don’t want to admit it.
So, what’s the solution? How can you say what’s on your mind and in your heart without fear of what your partner might say, do or how they might react and still hope to be understood. How can you really talk to your spouse or partner without either of you getting angry, hurt or defensive?
In a nutshell, there are three things that can make the difference when you communicate with someone important to you: It’s your mindset, your strategy, and the words you use.
You’re fed up with something your partner’s doing, but you know that if you say anything, you’ll start a fight and make it worse. But there are ways to avoid this!
Here are 3 of the most effective communication skills happy couples in healthy relationships use to make even the most difficult conversations easier.
1. Remain Open to Possibilities
Before you say a word, look at your internal mindset. It might be saying, “They will never change. It will always be this way,” — or whatever your mind chatter says.
You have to open to the possibility that things could get better between the two of you. It starts with you softening your approach toward him or her and seeing even small results. You also need to get clear within yourself what it is that you want and that comes from a “knowing” inside you.
When you’re calm, clear, and not coming from anger, you’ll not be triggered so easily to fall into old destructive patterns.
2. Change Your Approach
If you’re not getting what you want, you’ll need to change your pattern of behavior. Whatever you’ve been doing that hasn’t worked (like withdrawing, complaining, arguing or manipulating), can be put behind you so you’re open to a different approach.
What do you really want? How can you put some good communication skills to work instead of just feeling hurt and walking away?
If you want more attention from your partner, what might be something tangible you can ask him or her instead of veiled complaints about what you’re not getting? This is an approach that can really make a difference to your and your partner’s connection in the relationship.
3. Explore Changing the Words You Use
So often the words you use and the way you say them are just habits from the past, but you can learn how to communicate better.
You learned ways of communicating from your parents and other influencers and you may not be aware of how those words are understood/received by someone else.
Compare this sentence and the way it’s said. With sarcasm: “You’re never romantic! How about dinner out and a bouquet of roses every once in a while!”
Or, when said with sincerity: “I’d love to have some time alone with you this weekend. Would you be willing to set aside some time for a special date night together?”
As you read both of these, you can feel the difference. If you can feel it, your partner will also! If you’re afraid to say what you think or what you feel, don’t stay frustrated and don’t say or do something you’ll come to regret later.
Use these tips to improve communication in relationships and turn difficult conversations into something positive for both of you! It’s time to create the relationship you’ve always wanted.
This guest article originally appeared on YourTango.com: How To Make Even The Most Difficult Conversations With The Person You Love Easier For Both Of You.
Guest Author, P. (2018). 3 Tips for Better Communication During Difficult Conversations. Psych Central. Retrieved on April 1, 2020, from https://psychcentral.com/blog/3-tips-for-better-communication-during-difficult-conversations/