I think we can all agree that communication is one of the most essential factors in any relationship. How we communicate with each other can make or break us. But if the solution were just about talking to each other, nearly all of our problems would be solved instantly. The problem lies within the ways we communicate and how we perceive how we communicate.
What does good communication look like?
Ok, so now what exactly does good communication look like? Try breaking down some of your most recent conversations with your partner and see how many boxes you can check off:
- You listen – You both are actively engaged in what each other is saying and not just waiting for your turn to talk or add input.
- You say what you mean – being passive-aggressive or vague will get you nowhere. If you have something to say, just say it!
- Your conversations have balance – there is a good back and forth of talking and listening and bringing your genuine thoughts and feelings to the table.
- You stay away from accusatory language – if you are saying more “you” statements than “I” statements, you might need to reevaluate your way of speaking. The constant “you” statements can come off as accusatory and could take the conversation in a negative direction.
- You can address the issues without dragging your partner – You address what you are really concerned about and stick with that topic throughout the conversation. You don’t turn this into the blame game and keep the real issue in mind while staying on topic.
Sign that your communication needs work
Even if you checked off every box, we should still take a look at some signs that your communication needs some work:
- One of you is constantly talking – “Constantly talking doesn’t necessarily mean communicating.” Your conversations need to balance talking and listening to be effective.
- You need to get away from your partner after an argument – If you or your partner feels like they need to get away after a conversation or discussion, there was no obvious resolution.
- You’ve become a bit of a pushover – If you’re willing to bite the bullet every time just to keep the peace, then nothing is getting resolved. You’re sacrificing your own well-being to spare your partner’s feelings, but that really isn’t fair to either of you.
- The criticism is not constructive – Criticism can be a super helpful thing, but only if something is to be gained from it. Otherwise, it just comes off as mean.
- Multitasking during conversations – “Did you even hear what I said?” Doing other things during a conversation (ahem…cellphone) can lead to distractions and ultimately a complete lack of listening from one or both parties. Is that really a conversation?
Time to level the playing field
The best thing to do for any relationship is to learn the best ways to communicate with each other. Get to know yourself and your partner better and break down how you speak with one another. SUM offers a unique solution by breaking down a person’s perception, conception, and behavior to better understand your partner’s communication style as well as your own. Sometimes how we think we communicate and how we actually communicate can be two different things. It is crucial to get a non-biased perspective of ourselves to know ourselves better. When you start a conversation with your partner, be mindful of the ways you communicate and observe the not-so-obvious nonverbal cues, too. Doing these things will create a fair and equal environment for everyone to have a healthy and meaningful conversation.