In both a personal and professional setting, you’ll often hear that good communication is key to having a good relationship. And although this message tells you about the importance of communication, it doesn’t actually give you any clues on how you can improve it. Here are our top 10 tips on how you can improve your communication
So, to help you understand what it takes to communicate better, here are some tips on what you can do.
Why is good communication important?
But before we get into it, it’s good to understand why communication is so important. When looking at romantic relationships, better communication can lead to more trust within your partnership and, thereby, lead to greater intimacy. And, as your communication improves, it also can help with conflict resolution.
What does poor communication look like?
Poor communication doesn’t always look or sound the same and can be difficult to identify. In some cases, poor communication may show up in the following ways:
- Passive-aggressive behaviour is often a sign that the person is unhappy about a particular situation. But instead of facing the problem head-on, they find other ways of expressing annoyance or frustration.
- Ignoring problems and bushing them under the rug is another sign of poor communication. Although we’re probably all culpable of such behaviour to a certain extent, ignoring problems and not talking about them will not make them magically disappear (at least, in 99% of the cases).
- Never having any fights or fighting a lot. Although opposites, they both can be signs of poor communication. If you find yourself fighting a lot, especially when it’s about the same issue, it may be a sign that neither of you is getting the message across or properly listening to what the other is saying. On the other hand, having no fights at all can be an indication that you simply choose to ignore the problems without attempting to find a solution.
These are just a few examples of what poor communication in a relationship can look like.
If you want to improve your communication in your intimate relationship, with friends or even at work, here are some useful suggestions.
10 tips to improve your communication
- Understand your feelings
Learning to understand why you’re feeling what you’re feeling is an important first step toward better communication. Taking the time to gain some understanding of your emotions will allow you to better put them into words and explain them to your partner.
- Choose the right time
Though no time is necessarily the perfect time, you may want to talk about certain topics with your partner when, for example, you’re both calm and have the time to talk it out.
- Use ‘I’ statements
By using statements, such as “I feel…” you are expressing how something made you feel. It avoids the risk of falling into a communication style of blaming each other. This is especially important in conflict situations.
- Ask open-ended questions
Instead of asking questions such as: “Were you excited?”, ask open-ended ones, such as: “How did you feel?”. In this way, you’re not preempting or suggesting how they should have been feeling, but rather allow them to evaluate the situation themselves. It also helps create a more in-depth conversation and can easily spark new follow-up topics.
- Be present and listen
Say your part and listen to what your partner is saying. In this way, you ensure that both of you have the chance to talk and be heard. Not only does it feel good to be heard, it also allows you to build more intimacy, as you learn to pick up on subtle queues you may have otherwise missed.
- Find a compromise
In conflict situations, compromise can help you find the middle ground in your relationship. What’s important is that you both agree and don’t walk away feeling resentful of one another. A little give and take is needed in every relationship and through good communication, you can find what suits you both.
- Check-in with each other
Knowing what’s happening in each other’s worlds and heads – whether you live together or not – is good for any relationship. This doesn’t mean that you’ll be hounding each other every hour of every day, but a simple question such as: “How are you?” can bring about important conversations you may have otherwise never had.
- Be open and honest
Being open and honest with each other is a cornerstone of improving your communication. Though you may sometimes feel like your emotions are written on your face, deciphering them may not be as easy or obvious as you think.
- Let things go
Holding on to past mistakes or grudges doesn’t allow your relationship to grow or evolve. And, by bringing up past mistakes or problems which you already solved is often counterproductive.
So, instead of holding on, learn to let go of the topics for which you and your partner have already found a resolution.
- Spend more quality time together
Remove any distractions (including your phones), go for a walk or play a game where you can easily chat throughout. By doing this you may be surprised where the conversation will lead you and how much you can learn from each other.
There are many ways that you and your partner can work on improving your communication. These top 10 tips will hopefully offer you a starting point through which you can deepen your relationship by creating more intimacy and, at the same time, help improve your conflict resolution.
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