In order for any relationship to last, no matter what it looks like, there must be an open line of communication. Not one person can read your mind. If you haven’t said it out loud, chances are your partner is unaware of how you feel or what you are thinking about. Stop thinking that they just know because you both are connected in other ways, and instead focus on actually communicating your thoughts and feelings.
What can communication do for your relationship? According to Better Health, “communication allows you to explain to someone else what you are experiencing and what your needs are.” The simple act of being able to communicate with your partner not only helps you to express your needs but also builds a stronger relationship. Having a lack of communication of what you’re experiencing from your partner, can lead to the downfall of your relationship, and we don’t want that.
This is not to say that you have to tell your partner everything. In fact, sometimes full disclosure about everything may turn out to be a little mundane. Rather, you just have to ensure that they have all the information they need from you to understand how to be a better partner moving forward.
Communication skills that you will need to strengthen your relationship
Understanding Your Communication Method- Your Partner’s, Too
Just like everyone has their own learning style, we also have our own method of communication. Within your relationship, you can’t assume that your partner is aware of what you are trying to say if you don’t explain what you mean. You know what they say about people that assume.
While you may be more than comfortable with sitting down and hashing things out verbally, your partner might not prefer to communicate the same way. Some people will naturally be less verbal, and maybe even more aware of non-verbal cues, and that’s okay. Determining the type of communication you want to have with your partner is crucial, as we all respond better to one over the other. In most situations, it is best to attempt all forms of communication to ensure that your partner’s needs are being met and that you feel like you’re being heard. When all else fails, use your best judgment.
Be aware that not everyone knows what their communication style looks like, so asking may not get you the answers you need. Rather, you can discover your partner’s communication style by watching how they respond to different cues. This may take some time and effort, but it is definitely worth it.
Not only do you have to understand your partner’s communication method, but you also have to ensure that you are speaking clearly. You can know someone for years, but that doesn’t mean that they know what is on your mind 24/7. I struggle with this myself, in my own relationship. I find that sometimes when I speak, not everything is reciprocated clearly, ultimately leaving him confused. Try your best to avoid that at all costs.
Before trying to communicate with your partner, it is best that you:
- Set aside time to talk without interruption from all distractions
- Think about what you want to say
- Be clear about what you want to communicate
Whether you are aware of it or not, we all communicate non-verbally when we are interacting with others. This can be from your body language to RBF. Your non-verbal cues help to show your partner how much interest you have in the conversation, which means putting that phone down and giving eye contact.
You might be asking, ‘How can someone understand how I am feeling non-verbally if they can’t read my mind?’ Well, the answer is simple. If your words do not match your actions, it is more likely for your partner to believe your non-verbal cues. So don’t go saying I love you with a straight face; that won’t be received well.
Let’s be honest, sometimes we don’t always listen effectively. You can get lost in conversation and start thinking about the food you are going to have later or even the time you are going to bed. Don’t act like your mind hasn’t wandered off. It’s okay. I’ve been there too. However, this is not the best thing to do when you and your partner are having a conversation. Hearing and listening are not the same thing. Trust me.
So what does it mean to listen effectively? According to Wright State University, when you are listening effectively, you are “actively absorbing the information given to you by a speaker, showing that you are listening and interested, and providing feedback to the speaker so that he or she knows the message was received.” In fact, non-verbal communication and listening go hand in hand. If you don’t seem interested in the conversation, then that shows your partner that you aren’t really interested in listening. But if you are listening attentively, this shows your partner that you are paying close attention and making sure to shake your head or even give the appropriate eye contact.
Within your relationship, you must ensure that you and your partner are on the same page. This comes with open communication and being actively aware that you are meeting your partner’s needs. With these skills, you can begin to communicate well within your relationship and grow closer together. In essence, communication is key to becoming official.