Everyone can agree that good communication is vital in any relationship. However, it is not always easy to achieve. After many years of struggling to improve communication in my relationships, here are some steps which have helped me:
Identify areas for improvement
Think of instances when poor communication negatively impacted your relationship. Do you or the other person need to listen more actively? Has there been any dishonesty? Has one of you been avoiding talking about important things?
Example: I avoid telling my partner if I am upset.
Open a discussion
With the other person, try to identify the potential reasons for your communication problems. The reasons might be habits, or they might be dynamics specific to your relationship. Either way, discuss with the other person how you can help each other fix those problems.
Example: I need my partner to act more encouraging when I am opening up to them.
Sometimes we glaze over the truth in ways that aren’t always helpful. Having to be honest about something which may be difficult to talk about may not be pleasant, but as long as you and the other person agree to have uncomfortable conversations, your relationship will improve.
Example: I need to tell my partner when they have upset me even though I don’t want to make a big deal out of it.
A therapist can help you identify exactly why you fall into certain communication patterns and how you could undo them. Alternatively, you can embark on this journey alone by beginning to ask yourself questions about why you react to certain things the way you do.
Example: I don’t like confrontation because of how many times I have expressed my discontent and it has been turned against me.
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