3 Communication Problems That Are Easy to Fix
The biggest complaint I get from couples is that...
"We just can't talk anymore. We fight about the littlest things and can't seem to stop."
You don't need years of therapy to learn how to communicate. With the right tools you can start to transform your communication today. When you know how to communicate effectively, it changes everything. You aren't afraid of conflict. You know you can say what you mean without saying it mean.
The key is to get the focus off of the other person and back onto you. This is the biggest shift I help my clients make - and it's very powerful because you can't improve communication while expecting the other person to change.
1. Making assumptions
When making assumptions you make an jerk out of you and me....but we all do it.
You think you know what's being said but you're not always right. Getting defensive happens in a nano-second when you let your reactions dictate your behavior.
Did you know that 93% of all communication is non-verbal? That means most of what we interpret is based on body language and tone of voice. Only 7% of all communication is conveyed through words.
Non-verbal communication is very subjective and easy to misinterpret. How you interpret someone else's behavior comes from important life experiences.
For example, if your father had an intense look on his face when angry, that look defined anger for you. If he was violent, that look likely caused fear. This is why communication varies from person to person. Every little grimace and movement gets interpreted differently. Everyone make assumptions, but acting on them is what gets you into trouble.
Tip ~ Check out your assumptions. If you find yourself starting to react, get clarification. Don’t wait because the longer you assume, the more off track a conversation gets.
2. Staying Too Long
Arguments get worse when no one wants to stop.
Having a win/lose mentality prevents you from taking a much needed time-out. You may think that you’ll appear weak if you leave. It becomes a battle of the last word but in extreme cases, the risk of emotional or physical abuse increase.
Staying too long escalates arguments. In arguments that turn violent, staying too long could be the difference between becoming abusive and staying safe.
Most people can look back and identify a moment when you “should have left” but didn’t. Trust your intuition, it's usually right.
Tip ~ Recognize the point in the conversation where it starts going downhill then LEAVE. Let your partner know you’re taking a break. Reassure them that you’ll come back when you are calm.
3. Forcing Communication
Most fights happen when you’re not expecting it. You come home from work and your partner starts in on what you didn’t do. You try explaining yourself but feel annoyed. You just want to come home and relax.
When one person is ready but the other isn’t, you end up forcing a conversation that almost always leads to an argument.
Think about the last argument you had. Were you hungry, angry, stressed out or tired? Your mood and physical state has a lot to do with reaction time.
Tip - Give your partner a heads up if you need to talk. Ask if it's a good time and if it's not, wait! It builds trust to not push it.
Stay the course
Use these tips as reminders to keep things civil. Be aware of your reactions and when it doubt, check it out! Show this article to your partner and support each other in taking a break when you need it.
Work together without trying to get the other person to change. It'll be worth it!