College relationships can be tricky to navigate if you don’t have the proper tools. You often hear “communication is key,” but what exactly does that mean? Communication is possibly the best skill you will learn. Not just in romantic relationships, but also friendships, family relationships, and work relationships. Today I am sharing with you my top tips for improving communication in relationships that can help BIG TIME.
This post is all about improving communication in relationships for stronger and long lasting relationships.
Practice Active Listening
I have learned an important lesson over the last year. There is a huge difference between hearing and listening. By active listening, you show your partner that you care about what they have to say. Make eye contact while they are speaking and avoid distractions like your phone. You should also respond when they are speaking to you.
Avoid “You” Statements
There are multiple reasons you shouldn’t make statements that include “you.” For one, you are a team. Additionally, “you” statements can seem accusatory. So instead of saying “you don’t listen to what I have to say,” you could say “I feel…” This creates an opportunity for you to have a conversation about your feelings instead of placing blame. I have found that “you” statements often feel like an attack but sharing how you are feeling creates room for more conversations.
Understand Body Language
Body language can say a lot about how you are feeling. It is a great idea to learn what your partner’s body language says about how they are feeling. Make note of arms being crossed or lack of eye contact. It works both ways though. You must be aware of what your body language is saying when you speak to your partner as well. Practice becoming aware of the negative forms of body language you use as communication in relationships and try to replace them with more positive movements such as relaxed shoulders and eye contact.
Your Partner Can’t Read Your Mind
No matter how obvious you think you are being, your significant other won’t know how you’re actually feeling unless you tell them. If your feelings are hurt about something, you need to speak your mind. It can seem easier to brush something off and tell them nothing is bothering you. However, holding in these annoyances and hurt feelings can lead to big explosions down the line. By effectively sharing your thoughts, your communication in relationships can improve significantly. On the flip side, I find that it helps to also check in with your partner to see how they are really doing. Something could be bothering them that has nothing to do with your relationship, but this offers an opportunity for you to support them.
Have Important Conversations In Person
Too many times I have taken to text to handle hard things and I know I’m not the only one. Sometimes it feels like it is so much easier to handle conflict or stressful situations over the phone. This is wrong for so many reasons.
First, it is not effective communication in relationships. Relationships are hard and it’s important to face hard topics and situations head on. Texting about them is a cop out in my opinion. It also allows you to hide behind a screen and gives you a false sense of safety. Finally, things can be easily taken the wrong way via text. You want to be in a relationship where you feel safe enough to have hard conversations face to face.
Know Your Partner’s Love Language
Communication in relationships looks different for everyone. Sometimes the best way to communicate your feelings for your partner is to use their love language. I encourage every couple to take the love languages quiz so you can better understand and serve each other in the relationship. For someone who needs words of affirmations to feel loved, acts of service may not communicate your appreciation for them in the way they need.
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