Open and honest communication is essential to every relationship because it allows you to share who you are and what you need from the people around you. Miscommunication is common but can often lead to problems, misunderstandings, and hurt feelings. These tips will help you talk to your partner honestly.
Speaking: Be open and clear about how you are feeling; if you don’t understand something, tell them; use “I statements” so that the other person doesn’t feel like you are blaming or attacking them (“I feel that….); be honest, even if you think the other person might not like hearing I how you genuinely feel; apologize when you are wrong or hurt the other person; when talking about something negative, also mention something positive.
Listening: Pay attention without distractions (put your phone away) when the other person is talking; listen to what they are saying instead of just thinking about how to respond; wait for them to finish talking before you say something; use acknowledging statements like “interesting,” to let them know you hear what they are saying; ask questions if you don’t understand something to avoid confusion and misunderstanding; don’t leave them hanging (if you need to think about what they said before responding, tell them that); be prepared to hear something that you don’t like and think about it before responding.
Body Language: Make eye contact; face them; give your full attention and lean in as they speak.
Digital Communication: Don’t have an important conversation over text or online. When chatting online, focus on the conversation instead of being distracted by other things or having multiple other discussions; if you can’t respond, let the other person know, so you don’t leave them hanging.
Where and when to have a meaningful conversation: When talking about something important, talk when you feel calm or take some time to cool down if you have fought. Please talk about your concerns before they become problems and get worse. Make sure you have privacy so you can be open about your feelings.
Source: New York Gov. (The link opens in a new window)
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