How Communication Can Make or Break a Relationship

It’s all about communication. Having a healthy relationship also includes trust, love, and respect, but I don’t think any of that is possible without clear communication…

The concept of communication can seem so basic because people just talk to each other, right? How can it be so hard? Well, it’s important to realize that communication can either be extremely complex, or very simple—it all depends on whether you’re utilizing the appropriate tools or not.

So, one might wonder, what constitutes good communication? Is it how a couple speaks to one another? Is it when they speak to one another? Is it about feeling safe enough to openly share thoughts and feelings? Is it about being kind and listening?

The answer is YES. All the above create for healthy, clear, and concise communication. Being able to respectfully speak and listen to one another, and engage in a dialogue vs. a fight, is what communication is all about. Allowing enough space for each person to express his/her thoughts about an issue, have a discussion, and come to a compromise, is truly the epitome of love.

Ok, so now that we’ve got that down, why can communication make or break your relationship? Let’s discuss…

1. Back to the basics

Let go back to the basics: how do two people get to know one another? They talk.

Above all else, learning about your partner is what it takes to build a relationship. By openly speaking to one another, whether it’s sharing your deepest, darkest secrets, or talking about your favorite dinosaurs and make-believe lands, engaging in any kind of talk that provides comfort and freedom is crucial. This will allow couples to really get to know each other.

2. Safety in speech

Feeling safe sharing anything and everything with your partner is such a vital factor when it comes to healthy relationships. How can two people have a relationship, and potentially build a life together, if they’re not comfortable sharing things with one another? It’s basically impossible. If you don’t feel safe talking with your partner, this will most likely lead to fights and/or break-ups.

3. Respect

Respect is the most important aspect of communication. Speak respectfully to your partner. Try not to be hurtful, don’t place blame, take responsibility for your feelings, listen to one another, and tell the other person what you need in that moment. The sooner you start, the better. It makes all the difference…

4. Discussing needs

Expressing your thoughts, feelings, and needs is necessary for a healthy relationship to continually move forward. Happiness is super important, and when you’re not able to share what you need with your partner, happiness just won’t be in the cards for either of you. Being unhappy is not only detrimental to you, but also to the relationship. Some of the negative feelings that may also occur when needs aren’t met are anger, resentment, and frustration. They’re not fun, I promise.

It’s of the utmost importance, to both your wellness and the vitality of your relationship, to feel comfortable sharing your needs with your partner…

5. Compromise, compromise, compromise—cheese or fries?

Making changes in a relationship so that both parties are happy requires compromise. This can sometimes elicit a little bit of a back-and-forth discussion, and will also involve a great deal of open and clear communication.

Remember when we talked about respect and safety? These aspects are particularly valuable in a situation of compromise. Talking about “issues” in your relationship can potentially bring up negative emotions, however, with listening, respect, and feeling safe with your bleeding heart wide open on that table, you’ll find a way to work out your differences.

6. Communication styles

The more you talk to one another and share how you feel, the sooner you can learn about your communication styles. Maybe during a heavy discussion, one of you needs to step away to cool down. Some people may potentially be offended by this, but if you’re aware of the way in which your partner communicates, you will allow them the space they need without it damaging the trust in your relationship.

Everyone communicates differently, and that’s okay. Just make sure that you’re aware of the differences…

7. Body language

Communication isn’t just about words, it’s also about body language. Body language can be conveyed positively with kisses, hugs, smiles, eye contact, and all those fuzzy things. However, it can also suggest negative or mixed emotions. If your partner says he/she is “fine” after an argument, however, is rolling their eyes, has crossed their arms, and won’t look at you, you’re faced with conflicting verbal and physical reactions. Definitely something to discuss using our handy-dandy communication skills, right?

It’s important to be aware of those frowns and mean faces, or anything that is out of the ordinary, as it’s a good indicator that something is going on…

The first step to improving your communication is remembering that patience is a virtue. Sooner or later you and your partner will have communication down, and you’ll function like a well-oiled machine. Until then, continue to learn about one another, love one another, always respect one another, and forgive one another quickly.

communication | trust | respect | body language | relationships

Is there something you’re not sure how to share with your partner? Check out some tips on how to say the difficult things here!

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Communication: How to Say What You Need to Say

Communication can be super tricky….

Have you ever had an interaction where you wanted to say something totally different than what you actually got to say? Yeah, I’ve had a lot of those lately. What would the world be like if we could say what we wanted to say? What if we could be direct? What if we didn’t need to sugarcoat everything? Yeah, that would be awesome. But how can we do that and get away with it? Let’s discuss…

Saying certain things to people can be seriously frowned upon, socially speaking. This can be true especially if someone is sensitive, or if you’re in a professional setting. Regardless, I believe that people should be able to freely express themselves without being hurtful to others.

I know this may seem impossible, but it’s definitely not. So what can you do to make this a reality? Open and honest communication is key. Regardless of what you need to say, the way that you say it makes all the difference. What the hell does that mean, right? It means that you can say what you need to say, but word it in a way that is respectful and kind.

Being open and honest can potentially benefit you and the other person. But again, it needs to be done appropriately.

Check out these tips on how to say what you need to say:

Know your audience

Depending on the setting, and who you are with, decide if this is the right time and place to say what you mean. Know your audience.

Is this a battle worth the fight?

It can be difficult to discuss certain topics with certain people, so it’s important to figure out whether it’s even worth saying whatever it is that you need to say. If it’s a work thing, you may just need to go up the chain of command. Not everyone is willing to engage in an open dialogue, and that’s okay.

Stop and think

How’s the best way to phrase what you need to say without being hurtful? Take a second to think about it—rushing in a situation like this can potentially cause a lot of harm. It’s possible to completely step away from the situation, collect your thoughts, and re-visit the issue at a later time. Regardless of when the interaction takes place, be cautious, and be thoughtful.

Use “I” statements

Using “I” statements can be really beneficial in a situation like this because you are taking responsibility for your thoughts and feelings. With this, you will not be placing blame on anyone else, and it is purely a reflection of your perspective.

Body Language

Body language is a huge aspect of communication. Tone of voice and facial expressions can sometimes convey a lot more than words, so be aware of some of the other messages your body might be sending…

Don’t be hurtful

I really can’t stress this enough: we can say things without purposely offending or hurting someone else. Again, take your time, think before you speak, use “I” statements, and be as kind as possible.

Be prepared to explain 

Sometimes people may ask for additional feedback on what’s making you feel the way you do—be sure to have some follow-up info to back your statement. This definitely helps the other person, and also provides support for the issue you’re addressing.

It’s always the things that are hardest to say that hurt the most, so be aware of the words you are using, as well as your body language…

Be bold. Be strong. Be kind. YOU GOT THIS!

Communication can be stressful—check out my article on how to cope with stress here.

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