One thing I hate most is talking about my problems, especially when it comes to my relationships. I have many theories about why I am that way. I guess the main reason is that I hate fighting and I hate expressing my feelings. I think that it stems from my childhood. Being bullied throughout grade school and high school. Also the fact that we never discussed our feelings in my family growing up. Even though I hate talking about my feelings, I am a very emotional person. I hate letting anyone see me cry or let them know they have upset me. This can cause a lot of problems when in a relationship. Communication is the key to a good healthy relationship. So how can I improve my communication skills?
• Stop and actually listen. When we are having a disagreement or even a conversation we need to stop and listen to what the other person has to say. If you are like me and get worked up over what someone may be saying its easy to interrupt and start talking.
• Force yourself to listen. I have to tell myself “Andrea shut up and listen to what he says to say”. I am always wanting to jump in as soon as I hear something I don’t like. I tend to give that person my opinion about what they had to say. I will get my turn to talk and say what I need to say if I be quiet and let them say what they need to.
• Be open and honest with your partner. This is so important. You know the saying “I’d rather be hurt by the truth then comforted by a lie”? This couldn’t be more true. I have been lied to many times over the years from friends and significant others. It isn’t worth losing someone over a stupid lie. Tell the truth. It may hurt someone’s feelings but they will always appreciate the truth rather than being lied too. The truth will always come out.
• Pay attention to your nonverbal signals. This one is a big one for me. I am very good at
reading nonverbal skills such as tone of voice and your body language. If your body language tells me that you are angry or shut off I tend to shut down. If your tone of voice is in any way angry or being demeaning I will also shut down because I can’t handle it . It messes with my anxiety.
• Stay focused. Its very easy to bring up past arguments. Staying focused on what it is your are having your discussion about currently. Don’t bring up the past because the past is the past and that is where it needs to stay.
• Cut your emotions when you have a big decision or talk to have. Easier said that done right? I still am not sure how to do this because like I said I am a very emotional person. I am good though at choking back the tears until I am alone.
• Communicating is more than talking. Sometimes talking face to face either isn’t possible or is very hard to do if you are like me and have severe anxiety. You can also have discussions through texting or email. No this isn’t the ideal way to communicate but it is a option if need be.
There are also some ways that can hurt your relationship when it comes to communicating. As everything in life there are pro’s and con’s. Yelling at your partner is one of the biggest things you can do to hurt your relationship. If something has you worked up to the point that you are going to yell, try taking a break to calm down before talking again. If you aren’t able to talk face to face this is when texting or emailing would be helpful. Having a competitive attitude with your partner can be fun. When playing a board game or playing a game of basketball. It can cause problems with your significant other during an argument. A relationship is not a competition, there is no winner, you are in it together.
The most important step to remember is that relationships are about “we” no “me”. You both have to put in 100% dedication and effort for a relationship to work. there will be times where we aren’t 100% and that is why we have our significant other. Dalton has been by 100%. I have times where I am dealing with my depression and anxiety where I can’t give 100%. He has always been there to pick me up and help me any way possible. That is what a relationship is about and I am thankful to have him by my side.