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18 Strategies To Improve Communication

 

1. Create your own marriage or relationship rules. People don’t always know how to start this process, but they really like this idea! They find it to be eye-opening, beneficial, and helps create a conversation about their relationship.

2. Before you get into any discussion, determine the emotional mood you are in and then communicate that to the other person. Ask, “Is this a good time to talk?” If not, ask when might be a good time? Schedule a time and then both people need to honor the plan.

3. Forgo technology one night a week. Research has proven that overuse of technology can negatively affect relationships.

4. Request an apology if you think you deserve one. Be the one to extend the olive branch once in awhile.

5. Mind-reading does not work and is futile—though, people keep trying. It’s your responsibility to tell your partner what you want and need. It is not his or hers to figure it out.

6. Take certain trigger words off the table, I am leaving/I am out of here—especially in the heat of an argument.

7. If your partner is making an honest attempt to repair the relationship, then try and make a physical connection.

8. Negotiating is not the same as complaining. Negotiating means that you state clearly, without fighting or blaming, how the status quo needs to change, embarking on a new direction.

9. Learn how to self-regulate! By this, I mean, manage your own emotions. You are responsible for yourself, not anyone else.

10. Use your energy to take care of yourself and not to try and manage another person. This does not work and is also just as futile as mind-reading.

11. Have respect. If they ask you to do something, do it.

12. Be kind even when they are not. Again, be the one to extend the olive branch once in awhile.

13. Learn how to not take things personally all the time. I see this often and this prevents a person from taking ownership where it’s needed, and discarding ownership of an issue when it is not warranted. It’s not always about you.

14. Be flexible in your thinking, how you solve a problem, and be open to other alternatives and options. People have a tendency to be close-minded and overly opinionated. These traits get in the way of good communication and thwart progress.

15. Stay on topic by asking, “What is the real issue?” I often see couples who, once a conversation turns heated, throw in the “kitchen sink,” which means all unresolved issues and sensitive spots of the other is fair game.

16. Tone and inflection goes a long way. They really do. Just a change in inflection in one or two words will change the course of the conversation. So does starting a statement with “I” versus “you.” Nothing sends a person into defensiveness mode more than a statement that begins with “you.”

17. Employ the 5:1 ratio. For every negative comment, you should be stating 5 positive comments.

18. Add humor! Be a little lighthearted. Humor has a way of diluting and diffusing tension and has immeasurable positive results. Keep in mind that it’s about creating the conversation and encouraging compassion for one another that will steer you away from the confrontation and criticism.

These are just a handful of strategies to improve communication.

What has worked for you in your relationship? Which of these tips would be the most valuable for you to remember?

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