Effective communication is essential in every relationship. Unfortunately sometimes we make mistakes that inhibit us from clearly communication our thoughts and feelings as well as understanding the thoughts and feelings of others. Communication can make or break a relationship. So take the time to see whether you’re making any of these communication mistakes, so that you can correct it.
Have you ever expected that the person you’re communicating with knows exactly how you feel? Even if you’ve known this person for years, it’s not helpful for you to expect that they understand how you’re feeling if you don’t use your words to express yourself. This often occurs in romantic relationships. Know that someone doesn’t love you less if they don’t understand you without you expressing yourself. People can’t read your mind.
You may have a very good point to make, and it may even provide the clearest understanding for the person that you’re talking to, but it’s not a good idea to interrupt them to make your point. When you interrupt someone, you’re showing them that they are not important. That their thoughts and feelings are less important to you than what you have to say. You’re not expressing respect for this person. And this is a surefire way to escalate a conversation. So instead, let your thoughts go when someone is talking and just receive what they’re saying. I know that can be scary for some, but this is truly what listening is.
Assuming that you know what someone else thinks or feels is dangerous. You can only know what is expressed to you. Listen, so that you can understand. Never assume. And if you’re not sure about something, then ask.
4. Letting your emotions control what you say
It’s important that you think before you speak. Especially when you feel that you’re getting emotional during a conversation, assess why you’re feeling emotional. And take the necessary time you need to think before responding. Try to have every conversation without regretting anything you say in the heat of the moment. Think about the emotional impact of your words. Remember that once those words come out of your mouth, you can’t put them back in.
5. Needing to win every argument
Relationships should be seen more as a partnership than as a competition. You shouldn’t aim to win every argument. Think more long term and not just in the moment. How will this impact your relationship in the long term? Is it worth it to continue when you know there is something that you could apologize for? Apologizing is not a sign of weakness, but instead an act of maturity.
If you sweep issues under the rug, they’re going to come back to bite you. It’s important to communicate about issues. No one has a problem free relationship with anyone. People disagree and it’s completely healthy to do so. It’s the way in which we communicate when we disagree that we must ensure is healthy. A relationship cannot grow if you avoid communicating unpleasant things. These issues will likely resurface and it’s impossible to avoid forever. Now this isn’t to say that if you feel you can’t have a conversation in the moment it can’t be tabled, it certainly can be. But you should express the time in which you’d like to return to the conversation.
7. Shutting Down
This is perhaps the worst mistake. Shutting down and refusing to talk stops communication. There can be no progression or addressing of issues without communication. Shutting down completely and refusing to communicate shows that you no longer value improving the relationship.
If you find you make any of these communication mistakes, know that you’re not alone and it’s not too late to correct it. Be mindful of the mistake that you tend to make and develop a plan to address it. You can also let someone you trust know that you’re working on this issue to help hold you accountable.