Saturday, September 24, 2011

Communication in Your Relationship

Ivana Pejakovic, B.Sc., MA

Communication is key to success in all relationships. From romantic relationships to professional relationships to parent-child relationships, it is important individuals learn to and are able to effectively communicate with each other.

Why is communication important? Good communication can and will increase the satisfaction of your life just as bad communication can and will reduce it. How so?

Well, we all have something to say and we all wish to relate our needs, desires, thoughts, and emotions to our romantic partners, co-workers, children, friends, and loved ones. Sharing our thoughts allows us to express our feelings, it relieves stress, and it is important for building a bond and strengthening the relationship. More importantly, if you communicate well you’re more likely to be well-liked and respected.

Communication is always important, but particularly important during time of conflicts and stress. It will prevent (or minimize) misunderstandings which can lead to unnecessary arguments. These are the times when our personal feelings and biases come into play and what we say is often reflected in our feelings, insecurities, and limiting beliefs. If you practice good communication skills, however, it will help you resolve conflicts at a faster rate.

Tips to Enhance Your Communication and Your Relationships

Listen: Listen to what you are being told. A person’s words are a good give away of what they want from you. Try not to add your own interpretation of their words. Repeat what they say in different words and see if your partner agrees with you.

Attention: When someone is trying to communicate with you, place your full attention on that person. Sometimes it’s tempting to split your attention between your partner and the television/ work/ other activity. It can even be tempting to just tune your partner out. This is hurtful and can cause your partner to feel insignificant to you.

Body language: A picture tells 1000 words. So does your body language. What is your body language saying? Through your body language you can convey annoyance, boredom, love, disinterest, etc. It is best when body language matches what you are trying to say.

Be direct & concise: Often times we speak in code (especially women) and just want our loved one to guess what we want. Sometimes we say one thing hoping s/he will know we mean another thing. Of course this leads to confusion, fights, frustration, and disappointment. Be honest and direct (get to the point) when communicating.

Think ahead: Most of us (if not all of us) can recall saying something only to regret it as its coming out of our mouths. Words can be wounding. When communicating with your partner stay in the present moment and think about how your words will affect your partner and impact your relationship. Remember, once you say it you can’t take it back.

Need to be right: While it’s great to be right, we are seldom right ALL the time. Many times your discussion has nothing to do with who is right and everything to do with understanding where each of you is coming from. If there is a right or wrong, it’s important both parties accept responsibility for their own mistakes. Do not make your argument about whose mistake is bigger, or different, or stupider, or worse. Concentrate on solving the issue at hand and not on who is more right.

Ivana Pejakovic, Life Coach in Toronto

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