Essential Skills to Help Build a Successful Relationship- Improving Communication

 

If you are looking for ways to build a successful relationship through communication, you are off to a great start.

Good communication is the best foundation for any relationship (other than friendship, that is important too!). Many experts agree that communication – loving or non-loving – can make or break a relationship.

Here are some tips on building a successful relationship through communication.

Prioritize: 

Make it a priority to resolve any issue that is bothering you. If you do not talk about it–the issue most likely will grow bigger–along with your resentment!

Be Present:

To truly understand what your partner is telling you, be present, be here now. Put time aside and dedicate yourself 100% to communicating with your partner.

They should truly feel that they have your full attention and that they are your number one priority. Sit up, face them and make eye contact when speaking. Do not take a phone call, text or play a video game when you are talking. Show your partner you respect them by listening and responding.

Talk Face to Face:

Avoid talking about serious matters or issues in writing. Text messages, letters and emails can be misinterpreted. Talk in person so there aren’t unnecessary miscommunications. If you are having trouble collecting your thoughts, consider writing them down ahead of time and reading them out loud to your partner.

Communicate without Blame:

When you communicate, avoid yelling and blaming the other person for what you see as problems.

If you get really angry about something, stop, take a step back and breathe. Tell the person you need to take a bit of time before continuing the conversation. Then go and responsibly clear some of your anger by doing the writing and burning technique or simply going for a run, hitting a punching bag etc. 

Give yourself time to become calm by doing some introspection and finding out why you are being triggered so much. To find out how to identify your triggers click here. Think about the situation and why you got so angry. Was it how they spoke or something they did?

Figure out the real reason and then think about how best to explain your feelings.

Even when we mean well, we can sometimes come across as harsh because of our word choice. Using “you” can sound like an attack, which will make the other person instantly defensive and less receptive to your message.

Instead, use “I.” For example, say “I feel like we haven’t been as close lately” instead of “You have been distant with me.” Or “I have been feeling unheard,” rather than “You never listen to me.”

Even if both of you are trying to apply good communication to your relationship, mistakes will happen. Do your best to be understanding – you are going to make mistakes too!  You know the circumstance is temporary. 

Listen:

After you tell the person how you feel, remember to stop talking, and listen to what they have to say. You both deserve the opportunity to express how you feel in a safe and healthy environment. Reflect on what that person says, and if you are not sure what he or she means, then ask by restating their point and asking if you understand correctly.

Forgive:

The goal of any argument should be to progress to forgiveness. Do your best not to hold people to the past and keep bringing up past things that they have done. You keep your partner in a box that way and it will be harder for them to change.

Compromise:

Relationships are all about compromise. Be willing to compromise.

Understanding versus Agreement:

Understanding someone’s point of view is not necessarily the same thing as agreeing with it. It is possible to hold different view points on various matters, and in fact, that is what makes a relationship interesting and challenging. If someone agrees with you on everything, he or she may just be avoiding conflict.

By paraphrasing what you think he or she means, will help the other person feel heard, and that you get where they are coming from. This makes it a lot easier for them to accept if you do not agree.  At least the other person feels heard, knows you do understand, and have thought about the issue.

Building Trust through Vulnerability

This can be a tough one for some, however,  being vulnerable in a relationship and recognizing and respecting the vulnerability of the other person is an important building block in your communication foundation.

Mistakes are made, of course, and feelings inevitably get hurt at one point or another. By working on sharing those vulnerable tidbits and respectfully listening to those of the other person can go a long way towards building trust.

Speak your Needs Openly and Honestly:

When you first meet someone, your expectations for that relationship may be in one place, but as you get to know him or her more closely, those expectations may change. If you don’t communicate those changing expectations, disaster may result. It’s a good idea to periodically communicate about where you are, what you both want, and where you’d like to go.

 Agree to be honest. Sometimes the truth hurts, however, it is the key to a healthy relationship. Apologize when you make a mistakes instead of making excuses. You will feel better and it will help strengthen your relationship.

Focus on Their Positive Attributes:

Communication is also a great way to share what you love about that person. Sometimes, as we get caught up in life focus on all the things they may not be doing. We lose sight on what they are doing and why we love them. 

Never go to Sleep Angry:

If you have an argument…have a pact in place that you both do not go to sleep till the issue is resolved. This will help you work issues out more effectively and promptly. No-one should have to go to sleep with unresolved feelings. Especially if it is your partner and you are sleeping in the same bed! Tense, awkward, and never makes for sound sleep.

Overall, it is important to be on the same page as your partner. That you are both in agreement on key issues in your relationship, such as how finances are distributed, what key goals you have and your parenting styles.

It is not your job to make your partner happy and vice versa. That is an impossible task. You are the only one who is responsible for your state of happiness. Do your best to resolve issues with accountability and forgiveness. That is the true road to experiencing more joy and peace in your life.