Last Friday was Valentine’s Day, a day dedicated to loved ones. A day dedicated to expressing and celebrating your love for people in your life. I personally hate Valentine’s Day (not just because I’m single) but because I think you should show your loved ones you care every day. You shouldn’t have to force yourselves to spend time together (my love language is quality time). Recently, I’ve been thinking a lot about communication and how to successfully communicate with someone you love. It can be difficult and when you love someone so much you can let your emotions get the best of you. But there are a few things you can do when communicating whether it’s with a distant loved one, to when you are expressing your feelings in a fight. If you keep a few little things in mind you can create successful lines of communication with your partner or loved ones.
First, listen, take the time to stop and actually listen to what your partner has to say. Don’t take that time to think up your response but comprehend what your partner has to say. This is something often when I’m heated in a conversation I can overlook. I don’t want to hear the reality of the argument and I will tune out the other person to ignore what’s going on. This isn’t good and will lead to more issues.
Don’t Communicate Via Text Message
This is exceptionally hard when you have distance between you. Communicating through phone calls is really the only way to interact day to day. But making time to see each other is also good, plan FaceTime dates or trips to visit when you can to get that face to face interaction. Also, when there is an argument instead of becoming keyboard warriors and saying things you don’t mean take a step back, compose yourself and call. When you can hear the other person’s tone you can get a real understanding of how they mean what they say.
Take Time to Calm Down
As I mentioned instead of getting angry and saying things you don’t mean take a moment to compose your thoughts and cool down. It took me so many years to give up on the fantasy of “don’t go to bed angry” sometimes you need to go to bed a little bit angry to give yourself some time to really evaluate whether the argument is worth fighting or if you were just mad in the heat of the moment. This is where the 48-hour rule comes into play. Take two days to step away from the issue, if after those two days you’re still upset talk about it. If you’ve cooled off you might want to just let it go.
I think a positive relationship teaches you to let those small disagreements go for the greater good of the relationship. I used to be the biggest grudge holder. I would even unpack some of the tiniest issues every time an argument would arise. Now I’ve learned its ok to let things go and realize some things aren’t holding onto. With that lesson talking about things that do still hurt you and making the mutual decision to work on those things together is also a sign of a strong relationship.
When discussing your issues it’s so important to use assertive communication. Speak clearly of your needs and wants, with that again let your partner also express their wants and needs. Try to come to some kind of understanding. Use eye contact to show your partner you are focused and acknowledging what they’re saying. Finally, use a calm and steady voice, don’t raise your voice or get emotional when having these conversations.
Express Yourself in “I” Statements
Lastly, use “I” statements whenever you’re in an argument or expressing something that may be bothering you. When you start pointing fingers and putting blame on the other person is when they will inevitably get defensive. Instead of saying “You made me feel…” Or “You did this…” change it up and say “I feel…” and “this situation made me feel…”
Use assertive communication and “I” statements when you argue to prevent defensiveness in your conversation. Make time to take a step away and evaluate whether the disagreement is worth letting go, don’t rely on text messages to communicate and most importantly listen to your partner’s wants and needs. Do you and your partner use any of these rules to communicate?