- Don’t sweep things under the carpet. This first tip maybe pretty obvious but in actuality, people often struggle the most with this. In order to be a good communicator you must be willing to talk about the problem. Keeping things in will only make them fester and eventually you will snap. It’s better to let things out a little at a time so that the pressure doesn’t build up. However, it’s important to keep in mind that this doesn’t mean talking to your partner about every little thing that bothers you but rather focusing on the important matters. It is still important to let some of the little things go.
- Don’t put them on the defensive. It can be very easy to get caught up in the moment and give your partner a long list of what you think they are doing wrong. However, doing that will only put them on the defensive. Instead, I recommend using “I” Statements. Simply that means to talk in terms of how things make you feel. An example would be, “When I don’t get a call when you’re running late, I feel worried that something might have happened to you.” By putting the focus on yourself, you are taking responsibility for how you feel and helps your partner to not feel attacked.
- Pick a place and time. It’s not just about what you say and how you say it, it’s also about where and when. At times, it can be beneficial to plan a time and place to have a discussion. This can help with allowing you to prepare what you are going to say and not be as reactive with your statements. It also, will allow you to give your full attention to the conversation without worrying about a time restriction.
- Make time to talk AND listen. At times we get caught up in making sure that the other person understands us but it’s just as important that you understand what your partner is trying to communicate. A lot of times, people will only be listening to respond, rather than listening to understand. While your partner is talking, you are thinking of how you are going to respond rather than truly understanding what they are saying. To help you make sure you are understanding your partner, try repeating or summarizing what you just heard them say. This will allow you to fully understand them as well as keep you both from getting defensive.
- Practice. It takes time and effort to become a better communicator. Practice with smaller topics and work your way up to more challenging ones. There will be times that you’re better at it than others but keep trying. You will become better at it.
Learning how to communicate effectively with your partner is an important aspect of a relationship. This is what most people know. However, what people don’t always know is how to be a good communicator. Below are five tips to help you become more successful at communication.
Parent and Child Psychological Services is a private practice serving children and families in the Sarasota, Florida area. The practice is owned and operated by Dr. Gibson, a Licensed Psychologist who is Board Certified in Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology.