How to Communicate Better In Relationships

You could be surrounded by people and feel alone, or be with a partner but still feel lonely. Why is that? Where is this disconnect happening and how can you stop it?

Connection with others is undoubtedly a huge source of our happiness. Knowing how to be happy when you are alone is just as impactful to your overall happiness, and one thing is for sure — you should never have to feel alone with someone.

Still though, it happens, especially when we surround ourselves by the wrong people. When we still feel alone or even just unheard, there are lots of ways to get more connected. Here’s how we think you can do it:

  • Own these facts: Your thoughts are valid, your feelings matter, and when you express yourself 100% authentically, it’s a really beautiful thing that many people would appreciate (whether they’re around you now, or you haven’t found them yet). If you don’t feel like you can be yourself with someone, or their comments make you feel silenced or small, then maybe it’s time to reconsider how valuable that relationship is to the very short life you get to live…

For more tips, PositivePsychology.com features a wonderful and thorough article written by Birgit Ohlin, MA, BBA, on how to communicate effectively in all types of relationships, romantic or not. Click the link to read the full article. If you just have a few minutes, here’s a summary with all the pieces we liked best from it:

  •  What Is Healthy Communication? Ohlin states that healthy communication heavily relies on active listening. She writes active listening is “so much more than not talking. It is an art which requires a genuine interest in the other person, a curiosity rather than an anticipative mind” (Ohlin).

    What that essentially means is showing your focus on the person talking. A lot of times, we try and figure out our response to the person as they are talking and it distracts us from what we actually need to hear.It’s the concept of listen first, think second, respond third. PositivePsychology.com also shares that even if there is silence or a lull in conversation, that is normal, and it shouldn’t be a reason to get nervous. Take that silent time to be more present with who you are speaking with, or take that time to process what you just heard, and try to do so without judgement.

A Take-Home Message from PositivePsychology.com:

“Like painting or singing, communication in relationships is a skill that requires practice. If you would like to improve communication in your relationships, remember the following three things.

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  • Firstly, unhealthy communication starts with negative thoughts or difficult emotions. Words are only the result of those thoughts and emotions. So be mindful of what is going through your mind when you talk with someone. Try to understand and communicate your emotions.
  • Secondly, be aware of your inner lens which is responsible for how you decode a message. Paraphrasing is a great tool when you are unsure whether what you have understood is what the other person was trying to say. Simply use your own words to summarize how you understood the message.
  • And thirdly, listening is the better skill to practice than talking. Focus on your friend’s facial expression as they tell a story. Try to listen without thinking of what to say next and try not to judge what you hear.

You will see your relationships improve with these three simple steps. Why? Because good communication is a sign of appreciation. Easy examples of showing appreciation are: I am curious what you have to say, I enjoy speaking with you, or  I value our time together” (Olhin).

 

Published with permission from PositivePsychology.com.

Ohlin, B. (2019, November 21). 7 Ways to Improve Communication in Relationships [Update 2019]. Retrieved February 20, 2020, from https://positivepsychology.com/communication-in-relationships/