Relationships are built upon communication. And so, how we carry ourselves in these daily interactions matters a lot. If you have been facing troubles on this front, you can take the help of this article. Read on:
Offer advice only when asked
We all have that one person in our life who has to give their two cents on every single thing. Maybe, we are that person. Whatever be the case, remember that unsolicited advice is one of the easiest ways in which you can disrespect someone. Advice is advice only when it is solicited, otherwise, it is condescension. So, understand the tone and purpose of the conversation. There are different reasons for which we may open up a conversation about something. From needing understanding, advice, a safe space, or a different point of view – your partner may have different needs at different times, just like you. So if all they needed was for you to listen but you get too caught up in coming up with a clever observation or solution, it can lead to dissatisfaction.
Be present in the conversation
Keep the phone, newspaper, TV show aside. A conversation with gravity requires everyone involved to be present fully and completely. Even if you think you can multitask – please don’t. Just take a few minutes to hear out your partner and take an active part in the conversation as and when required. You need to prioritize a real person and their feelings above all else.
Respect your partner’s boundaries
We are not always up for sharing things. A lot of times, we prefer being a closed book – and that is perfectly okay. When you feel a sort of reluctance to share or open up from the other end, resist the urge to grab a shovel and go digging. The best thing you can do is let them know you are here to listen whenever they are ready, and that you understand. That’s all. Probing and asking invasive questions only leads to discomfort. And that is not the kind of energy you need in your relationship.
Understand what you need
This is an immature habit that many of us possess – we don’t tell the people around us what is bothering us, and no matter how many times they ask what happened, we keep mum, expecting them to decode it by themselves.
A simple question to ask ourselves when we begin to shut down like this is: Who is getting benefitted through this? You are still angry or flustered, and your feelings haven’t been acknowledged because the other person doesn’t know what has happened. And your partner is no better off as they are left worrying and over-analyzing every single thing. Simple statements like “I need some time and space,” “This *thing* bothered me today,” or “I just need you to listen to me” can go a long way.
You are not a mind reader
However much we may like or need to know exactly what the other person is thinking, it is not possible. You can read cues and observe body language – but that is about it. Beyond a certain point, the best form of the deduction is simply asking. By doing so, you are actually respecting your partner’s thoughts too – because you are including them in a conversation about their own actions and reactions, and not going off based on your assumptions or expectations.
Use language that acknowledges you both
The language we use says a lot about how we feel about ourselves and the people around us. The use of the word “you” vs. the word “we” also shifts and places emphasis on different things. In order to feel like the team that you both are, try to use the second one more. Pause to ask questions that look for their opinions and point of views. As you do so, you both feel less alone in your feelings and decisions, and life in general. Your questions should not be looking for a certain kind of reply either. Notice the difference between “How was your day?” and “Was your day good?”
The crux of all these tips is learning how to be kinder, more patient, and sensitive to the other person. When such acts are mutual, couples are able to bring about long-lasting improvements in their relationship.