Quick Tips for Communication: Part 1

Are you in need of some quick tips to help jumpstart positive changes in your relationship? One of the major things that impact relationships is communication. It is definitely a two-way street and most people struggle to stay on the road. We are not taught effective ways to communicate, and it most likely was never modeled for us. But that’s okay! It doesn’t mean that you can’t add some tools to your toolbox now. These tips are broken down into part 1 and 2, you can read part 2 here!

  • Take turns sharing - Letting one person share at a time allows one partner to feel empowered to express themselves. The other partner should really be focused on what is being shared.
  • Tune into your feelings before sharing - Say your partner does something that really frustrates you… You want to run over and just dump it all on them. “I can’t believe you just did that! You KNOW how much I hate that. You never listen to me,” etc, etc. - Take a pause BEFORE you rush to them. Tune into what feelings you’re feeling. Where are you feeling those feelings in the body? Focus on that and breathe through it.
  • Check yourself - If you need to approach your partner about something, take a couple minutes to reflect on what you want to get out of this interaction. Don’t want it to escalate or turn into conflict? Okay, make that a goal before going to speak with them. Think about how you want the interaction to play out.
  • L-i-s-t-e-n - If your partner is sharing, then you need to be listening. This doesn’t mean that you’re thinking about what you’re going to say, how you’re going to respond, or that time that your partner did whatever… If this is the type of thinking that you’re doing when your partner is talking, then you need to work on this. Practice putting yourself in your partner’s shoes.
  • Use “I feel ___” statements - These statements are important because they give us guidance on how to share our emotions in a way that we aren’t attacking our partner. They can look like “I feel (label your emotion) when (____) happens.” Avoid using “You” statements, such as “You always __” or “You never ___”. These are attacking statements and definitely not effective. They just create defensiveness for your partner. So not only will you be attacking your partner, you won’t even be making your point. Also, saying “I feel you don’t care about (___)” is not using an “I feel” statement. You have to actually label your emotion.

Try these out when you’re chatting with your partner throughout the week. Read part 2 of this blog series here.

About Rosann Raftery

Rosanne Raftery, LPC, LLMFT, holds a BA in Psychology from Central Michigan University and a MA in Marriage and Family Therapy from Western Michigan University. She is passionate about pre-engagement or premarital counseling, divorce recovery, open relationships, women’s issues, anxiety, depression, and working with the LGBTQ+ community. She specializes in working with individuals, couples, and families in building their communication skills, healing, and strengthening their relationships at Lifeologie Counseling Grand Rapids Ada and Lifeologie Counseling Grand Rapids Cascade.

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