Improving communication in your relationships

Communication is key.

Communication is key.

Whether you are romantically involved, family or friends with someone, you have a relationship and can experience conflict at times. Even if conflict may be uncomfortable, especially with a friend, how you communicate during the conflict is what matters most – you want to effectively communicate with the other person to avoid unnecessary conflict

There are 3 communication styles:

  1. Passive:
  2. Aggressive:
  3. Assertive:

Many of us know that assertive communication is the effective way to communicate, especially in a conflict type situation. It can be hard to know how to effectively communicate, so below I have outlined the differences between effective and ineffective communication.

  • Ineffective Communication
    • Using “YOU” statements; You never do anything I like
    • Judgment statements; You sound like a child
    • Catastrophizing statements; You are always late for work.
    • Blaming or “should” statements; You should have known better.
  • Effective Communication
    • Using “I” statements; I would like to have a turn to talk
    • Non-evaluative statements; I have the impression that you do not understand me.
    • Specific statements; I have noticed you have been late to work the past two days.
    • Honest statements; I don’t feel comfortable where this is going.

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Now that you know the differences, let’s apply it to your relationships. I found an article by Michael T. Murray on MindBodyGreen outlining “7 Tips For Better Communication In All Of Your Relationships.” Michael describes how often miscommunication is a high stressor among all relationships, especially when people have different ways of communicating. He provides the following 7 tips for better communication regardless of what type of relationship you have with the person.

  1. Learn to sit still. Allow the person to communicate their feelings and thoughts without interruption.
  2. Learn to be an active listener. When listening, pay attention and stay engaged.
  3. Restate the other person’s feelings back to them. This shows that you are carefully listening to them and what they are saying.
  4. Don’t be impatient. Don’t interrupt and wait until they are finished to start speaking.
  5. Don’t try to talk over the other person. Don’t try to outtalk them or gloat about them interrupting you.
  6. Help the other person become an active listener, too. Ask them if they understood what you were communicating to them.
  7. Don’t be afraid of long silences. Don’t be scared of these silences and try to fill them; but during these silences remember to actively listen.

To read more about each tip or the perks of effective communication in your relationships, read the rest of Michael’s article here.

Want to see how self-assertive you are? Take Donald A. Cadogan, Ph.D’s Assertiveness Quiz here.

If you feel like you need help learning to communicate more effectively within your relationships, give us a call at Life Skills Resource Group Orlando at 407-355-7378 to set up a free phone consultation. Our Orlando Couples Counselors and Orlando Marriage Counselors Cindy Fabico, Risa Bos, and Kelli Skorman are here to help you and your partner communicate better. Want to focus on yourself first within the relationship? Our Orlando Individual Counselors, Amy Smith and Jessica Carmean, are here to help figure out ways to improve your communication in all relationships.

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