How to Improve Communication in Relationships
Good communication is a vital part of any relationship. Take a moment to reflect on the relationships your friends have been in, for example. You may notice that one of the most frequent issues they encountered, or the one that may be the beginning of other problems they faced, was lack of communication.
When there is good communication in a relationship, there is more trust between you and your partner and fewer arguments.
Why Is Communication Important in a Relationship?
Communication is important in a relationship because it is the foundation of any relationship. You need to communicate well with your partner if you want the relationship to last and if you’re hoping to maintain a healthy relationship. When there is bad communication, assumptions are made, and misunderstandings can lead to arguments and disagreements.
What can happen if you have bad communication in a relationship?
The relationship will begin to go downhill very quickly if there is bad communication. You won’t be able to connect with your partner the same way you once did, you may feel like your partner doesn’t care about you the same, and you may start to feel lonely. All of these feelings are ones you ideally want to avoid in a happy and healthy relationship, which is why you want to make sure you also avoid having bad communication.
How to Improve Communication in Relationships
Here are 18 things you can do to improve communication in your relationships.
Allow curiosity, ask questions.
Asking your partner questions is important, it allows you to have more topics to discuss and know more about your partner. Make sure you’re not having toxic behaviors with the questions you’re asking, and avoid being nosey, but definitely ask them about their day or how something went to keep each other in the loop. You can also ask them questions that may spark conversations.
Don’t assume, listen.
Ask for clarification if you don’t understand something, or simply make sure you are doing your best to be a good listener when your partner communicates something. Whatever you do, avoid making assumptions. When you assume instead of gathering actual information, misunderstandings can lead to conflict or arguments.
If you’re talking about something and you can’t seem to agree on what you are discussing, instead of going in circles and not being able to come up with a solution that favors one or the other, compromise. Compromising improves your communication with your partner because it shortens the argument and helps you find a solution faster, benefiting the relationship greatly.
Accept you’re not the same.
Don’t compare yourself to your partner, and accept that you are different. Accepting your differences will improve your communication by allowing a better flow of communication between the two of you because when you’re not comparing yourself to your partner, you avoid having negative feelings or jealousy. This makes you happier and less likely to be in a bad mood, avoiding arguments and allowing you to actually communicate.
Make your partner feel heard.
It’s important to not only be a good listener but to make your partner feel heard. Although it can be difficult to identify the difference between the two, you could be listening, but if they don’t really feel like you are, it will not feel good. Ask them questions or comment about what they share with you to make them feel heard. This will encourage more communication between you and your partner.
Have a good attitude.
A good attitude is very important if you want good communication in the relationship. They are less likely to want to talk to you and share about their day or experiences if you always have a bad attitude. People like talking to other people that are happy and have a positive attitude, so do your best to set aside your problems so your partner wants to talk to you.
Give each other space.
When you’re not giving your partner enough space, they may lessen communication as a way to seek space or distance themself a little bit. So although it may not seem too related to communication in your relationship, it definitely impacts the communication you have with your partner. Make sure you’re giving each other the space you need and also communicating when and if you need space.
Don’t explode with your partner.
Establishing good communication can be tricky, but one thing you want to make sure you avoid is exploding with your partner. It’s normal to have a lot of stress built up or maybe be in a situation where you had been avoiding telling your partner certain issues you were having with them. However, it’s not okay to explode with them all of a sudden. So make sure whenever you have a bad day, you take a moment to cool off, and also that you avoid not communicating issues, however small they may be. This will help improve your communication and be an incentive for you to communicate even the little problems you may face.
Remember better moments.
If you’re particularly frustrated because you feel like you can’t figure out a good way to communicate with your partner, try to remember better times. If you’re in a functioning relationship, it’s likely because, at one point, there was good communication between the two of you, especially in the beginning. So just go back to those times in your mind and try to re-establish that same communication you once had.
Ask for what you need.
Part of having good communication with your partner is being aware that they are not mind readers, you’re going to have to ask for what you need if you’re not getting it. Your partner can be expected to know basic things, but nobody is perfect, and they may forget. Instead of holding that against them and causing an argument, simply ask for what you need.
Tell them how you feel.
This goes along with the previous point, your partner isn’t a mind reader. You need to communicate how you feel. If they know more about what’s going on in your mind, they will be able to communicate with you much better because it’s not a constant guessing game.
Don’t change the other person.
Avoid constantly trying to find a way to change the other person. If you don’t like something about them, you can communicate it if it’s a bad habit of theirs, but don’t pressure them into changing anything. They will likely feel attacked and will start backing away. To improve communication, be supportive of them and accept them for who they are.
Take your time.
Don’t have rushed conversations with them. Take your time talking to them and listening to them. This will make them want to have better conversations with you and more of them as well, improving the communication between the two of you.
Acknowledge your partner’s point of view.
Make your partner feel heard and seen when they share their point of view. Especially if it’s different than yours, make sure you acknowledge what they have shared with you. Even if you don’t agree, you can disagree respectfully and have a conversation about it.
Make sure you are being clear.
Being clear when you communicate is important to avoid assumptions being made, and miscommunication. Don’t make it hard for them to understand you on purpose. Be to the point and don’t say things in a way that could be easily misinterpreted.
Make sure you are both trying to solve the issue.
This is important because if only one of you cares about solving your communication problem, you probably won’t solve anything. You both need to be on board to solve the same thing to do it successfully. This way, you both do your part to fix the issue.
Be patient with one another.
Remember, you’re not going to improve your communication overnight. It can take time, and that’s okay. So just be patient with one another and take little steps towards your shared goal.
Let things go.
This is another very important thing you need to do if you’re hoping to improve communication with your partner because if you hold grudges or constantly bring up a past issue, you’re not going to overcome anything.
Things to Avoid While Communicating
- Raising your voice. Don’t yell at your partner, and avoid raising your voice. This can make them feel like you are seeking a fight or attacking them.
- The silent treatment. If you don’t like something, communicate it. Don’t give them the silent treatment. Even if you need a moment to yourself in silence, let them know that that’s what is happening so they don’t think you are giving them the silent treatment.
- Blaming the other person. Avoid blaming each other for things. Instead, take responsibility for your mistakes, and talk about them and how you will improve.
- Trying to control the conversation. No one is in control of the conversation, and it’s something you are sharing. You are both equally as important in the conversation.
- Bringing up mistakes that are in the past. Let the past be the past. Unless something is truly unresolved, don’t bring up the past.
- Walking away. Make sure you are having a full conversation. Don’t walk away, even if you’re angry, and if you absolutely have to, let them know you need a minute but that you’re not leaving.
Having good communication with your partner can be difficult. It may even seem unattainable at times, but if you follow all the tips mentioned above, you’ll improve your communication before you know it. Remember to always have the same goal in mind, let go of anything in the past, and to be patient with one another while trying to improve the communication in your relationship.