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Relationship Communication: Should You Speak Up or Shut Up?

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Do you really need to tell him EVERYTHING you think?

Most people believe that it’s the outside noise from our social media timelines, phone notifications and endless forms of entertainment at our fingertips that are getting between our relationships. Truth is, it’s the noise in our head that’s doing the most damage.

According to a study by the National Science Foundation, the average person has about 50,000 thoughts per day. That’s an overwhelming load of thoughts to carry for a single person.

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The real trouble comes when you feel the need to vocalize all of these thoughts to your partner so that they “understand” you, the way you think, and the way you feel. We particularly want to share our thoughts when we feel insecure, vulnerable and negative.

Your feelings, emotions, doubts and fears are yours alone to manage, and you shouldn’t depend on the one you love to solve or analyze these thoughts for you. It’s time to stop vocalizing them to your partner and learn when it’s an appropriate time to shut up or to speak up.

When It’s Time to SHUT UP:

The first thing you have to ask yourself is, are my thoughts facts or feelings? When you answer that question with a lot of “I feel this,” or “I think this,” or “I’m assuming that,” it’s time for you to take a step back to manage and reflect on those issues on your own.

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Why do you feel this way? What’s leading you to these thoughts? Could it be a result of your own insecurities or indecisiveness?

If you’re having recurring doubts or fears, it’s on you to push through it. There’s no point in making the one you love feel insecure or doubtful along with you – instead, it will only lead to stress in your relationship. Hold off on speaking to him about those thoughts until you have a better grasp on what you want that conversation to accomplish.

When It’s Time to SPEAK UP:

If you’ve thought about what’s bothering you on your own and you realize your thoughts are triggered by cold hard facts or a need for a resolution, then it’s time to speak up.

When a particular behavior from him is what’s bothering you, talk to your partner about it and work together to resolve that issue. You should also figure out a way to handle it if (when) it happens again.

But be sure to stick to the facts – avoid bringing your feelings or emotions into the situation, as they can escalate the issue to something that you both can’t handle. Speak up when there is something to resolve and when you are ready to focus on the solution to make it better.

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Once you’ve spoken your piece, it’s time to shut up and listen to your partner. Instead of interrupting, judging or criticizing, simply stay quiet and hear what they have to say.

Remove your partner from your own emotional rollercoaster and take responsibility for resolving your own thoughts and feelings. When you do, you will create a stable, balanced and happier relationship.

This guest article originally appeared on Why Learning To SHUT UP Can Make Your Relationship SO Much Better.

Relationship Communication: Should You Speak Up or Shut Up?

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APA Reference
Guest Author, P. (2018). Relationship Communication: Should You Speak Up or Shut Up?. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 29, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 Jul 2018 (Originally: 4 Jan 2016)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 Jul 2018
Published on Psych All rights reserved.