Ask any counselor, dating expert or pastor what the secret is to an enduring relationship and almost every single one of them will tell you that effective and open communication is the key.
So, whether you are bursting into a new relationship, blossoming in a committed long-term relationship, or wilting under the strain of a broken relationship, here are some time-tested rules to effective communication that work in any circumstance.
7 Rules To Effective Communication In Any Relationship
These seven rules are true maxims that will help you say what you need to say while maintaining your decorum and peace of mind.
- Know the objective of the conversation: Before you utter a single word to the other person, know why you are doing so. Communication is not effective unless you know what you are hoping to achieve by it.
- Stick to the matter at hand: Keep focused on the main issue you need to deal with. Do not try to tackle all issues at once and avoid getting off subject. Abstain from mixing in minor issues that may muddy up the main matter at hand. Keep to specifics and do not make blanket statements.
- Avoid starting a sentence with “You”: Starting a sentence with “You” can sound like an accusation and put the other party on the defensive. This is very important when discussing the effect of hurtful actions. Try using “I feel” statements rather than “You are” statements.
- Listen, listen, listen: Hear what the other person is saying and listen to their position on the matter. Just listen (most especially if it is a volatile topic) and do not interrupt. Summarize back to them what you heard them say, trying to empathize – even though you might not agree. Make them feel that you understand their position. This will take the other party off the defensive and open the way for them to hear your thoughts and feelings.
- Speak like you want to be spoken to: Maintaining a positive tone and conveying positive emotions can lead to positive reciprocity, the relationship dynamic of one party mirroring the positive actions of the other party. As the old adage goes, you will get more using honey than using vinegar.
- Make it about We, not Me: Understand that the conversation is not all about you. The other person has thoughts, feelings and needs too. Find a common ground that is fair and equitable for both of you. If the topic is a problem you face, then work towards resolving the problem with a win-win solution, giving ground where you can.
- Honesty is truly the best policy: Mistrust is one of the key deal breakers in any relationship. Never lie to cover insecurities. Be honest with your emotions and feelings – you will feel better about yourself and your part in the conversation.
Good Communications Leads To Better Relationships
The next time you find yourself needing to hash out problems with your significant other or a close friend, reach for the 7 rules of effective communication.
By maintaining your dignity using a positive demeanor and good communication tools, you will experience better outcomes and nurture even more secure relationships.