We’ve heard it time and time again, “Why are you not talking to me?” or “Why didn’t you tell me?” Some people have poor (or nada) communication skills. It’s the way they are programmed. Professional counselors will tell you that healthy communication is required for a lasting relationship. Try these 10 tips to keeping the lines of communication open.
1. Be A Good Listener
“Blah, blah, blah.” Is that what you hear when your partner converses? Are you truly listening? Take the time to stop and listen. You must be a good listener if you want a successful relationship. Don’t be afraid that you won’t be heard. Talking over someone is rude and irreverent. You will get your time to talk.
2. Open Your Ears
You may be listening, but if you are not hearing, then what good is communication? Take the time to intentionally absorb what your partner is saying. Let their words saturate your mind. Words are important. Make sure you are hearing what your partner wants you to hear. Don’t jump to conclusions or misconstrue what someone is saying.
3. Open Your Heart
Relationships are all about compromises. Yes, you can be stubborn and obstinate, but at the end of the day, compromise will bring harmony and peace. It’s a difficult thing to do, especially if you want to control the conversation/event. Compromising doesn’t mean that you always have to give in. Take turns with compromise.
4. Read Nonverbal Signs
Gestures and nonverbal communication says a lot about how a person is feeling. Watch for hand gestures, tone of voice, head movement, eye contact, and body language. All of these things are communication. Even if your partner is not saying anything, non-verbal signals have an impact on your relationship and how you perceive your partner.
5. Be Open
When you are open to new ideas and creative ways to communicate, you are on the path to a concrete relationship. Be open to your partner’s intuition and personal insight. Embrace their differences and uniqueness. When you are open, ask questions and become engaged in the conversation.
6. Be Honest
Honesty in a relationship is everything. Healthy communication in a relationship pivots on honesty. Truthfulness, no matter how disappointing or harmful, is the foundation of a solid, lasting relationship. Honesty is always the best policy. If you find it difficult to be honest, seek professional counseling. A counselor can help you overcome fears and things that hold you back from speaking the truth.
7. Don’t Argue
You may feel like it, but don’t argue just because your partner is not talking. Sometimes we take events/words way too personal, and, at the end of the day, it may not be about us, it may be about another event or scenario. Don’t take things personal. When you do, it leads to raised emotions and arguments. Back off. Take a deep breathe, and walk away. There is no such thing as a fairytale relationship, but too much arguing can make or break a partnership. Read the secrets of couples who rarely fight here.
8. Don’t Get Emotional
If it’s a not-so-serious conversation, don’t boo-hoo and cry a river just because your partner is not communicating – “You don’t talk to me.” Be calm, cool, and collected when you open the lines of communication. No one likes to have a conversation with a cry-baby. It is difficult to converse with someone who is emotionally distraught. Leave the drama for your mama (or something like that). Get a grip, get it together, and then communicate.
9. Interject Humor
Humor has its place and it can be an ice-breaker. We all have a playful side that likes to laugh and have fun. Interjecting a funny anecdote can open the lines of communication between you and your partner. Be playful and add serendipity to a stressful moment/event.
10. Stay Real
Relationships are not one-sided. It takes two to tango (and all those clichés you have heard before). Be real about your relationship. If your partner does not give you the time of day, or does not want to communicate with you, then there may be an underlying issue that requires a professional counselor.
Communication in a relationship is everything. Some couples can communicate without verbal expression. They are so connected, it’s like osmosis; they just know what the other person is thinking/saying. Couples like that are rare. Most of us must make intentional effort to communicate with our partner. When we open the lines of communication and truly embrace our partner’s words, life becomes better and the relationship flourishes. Take Dr. Phil’s Relationship Communication Test to see how you score in healthy relationship communication.