Effective communication is essential for any healthy relationship. It’s important to be able to share your thoughts, feelings, and needs with your partner and to listen to and understand their perspective as well. Almost every relationship has some kind of conflict. Conflict isn’t a problem in and of itself, but how it’s handled can bring people together or drive them apart. Poor communication, disagreements, and misunderstandings can make people angry and push them apart, or they can be the start of a stronger relationship and a happier future.
- How do you communicate well?
- How important good communication is?
- How to Talk to Each Other During a Conflict
- Practice active listening:
- Stay on task
- Mindfulness practise
- Communication works best when it goes both ways.
- Respond to Criticism with Sympathy
- Personal responsibility is a strength.
- Try to Find a Middle Way
- Avoid criticism or contempt
- Take a Time-Out
- Keep at It
- Ask for Help
- How to Talk to Your Long-Distance Lover
- Be open and honest:
How do you communicate well?
People can communicate well when they share their thoughts and feelings with each other. People usually take turns talking and being listened to. When people talk to each other in a healthy way, they should be committed to the exchange. Both people in the conversation are aware of how they are acting.
For example, if you are the one talking, you might make eye contact or move in a way that shows you are there and interested. If you’re the listener, you’re open to hearing what the speaker is saying and don’t cut them off in the middle of a sentence or pay more attention to what you’re going to say next.
How important good communication is?
Maintaining long-term relationships requires good communication. One study found that couples were happier with their relationships when they talked to each other well. Healthy communication can also bring people closer together.
How you and your partner talk to each other is often a big part of how you solve problems. If you talk to each other in a healthy way, you’re more likely to find something you both agree on, even if you disagree. This can help your relationship get stronger over time.
Obviously, the best way to talk to someone depends on the situation. If someone doesn’t listen when you talk in a gentler way about something important, you may need to be more direct. On the other hand, focusing on love, forgiveness, and validation can help with everyday relationship problems.
It’s important to know how to talk to people in a healthy way and how to change your style of talking depending on the situation.
How to Talk to Each Other During a Conflict
Keep these tips for effective communication in mind the next time you have a disagreement, and you can make things go better.
Practice active listening:
It’s not enough to just hear what your partner is saying – it’s important to truly listen and understand their perspective. This means giving them your full attention, and asking questions or seeking clarification if you don’t understand something.
Stay on task
When dealing with current conflicts, it can be tempting to bring up old ones that seem to be related. You might think it’s best or necessary to talk about everything that’s bothering you at once, while you’re already dealing with a problem.
Unfortunately, this approach often confuses the issue and makes it harder to come to an agreement and find a solution. It could make the whole conversation harder and even more confusing. Try not to talk about hurts or other things from the past. Stay focused on the present, your feelings, understanding each other, and finding a solution.
Meditation can help you be more present in all parts of your life, including when you talk to other people.
People often think they are listening, but when the other person stops talking, they are thinking about what they are going to say next. Try to pay attention to whether you do this the next time you’re having a conversation.
Communication works best when it goes both ways.
Even if it’s hard, try to really hear what your partner is saying. Don’t interrupt. Don’t get defensive. Just listen to what they say and repeat it back to them so they know you heard. Through this activity, you’ll learn more about them and they’ll be more willing to listen to what you have to say.
See things from their point of view.
Most of us want to be heard and understood when we have a disagreement. We talk a lot about how we see things to try to get the other person to see things the same way we do. This makes sense, but putting too much emphasis on our own need to be understood over everything else can backfire. Ironically, if we all do this all the time, we don’t pay much attention to the other person’s point of view, and no one feels understood.
Try to see things from the other person’s point of view so you can better explain your own. (If you don’t “get it,” ask more questions until you do.) If people feel heard, they are more likely to listen.
Respond to Criticism with Sympathy
When someone criticises you, it’s easy to feel like they’re wrong and get angry. Even though criticism is hard to hear and is often exaggerated or coloured by the other person’s feelings, it’s important to listen to the other person’s pain and respond with empathy for their feelings. Look for what’s true in what they’re saying, too, because that can be useful information.
Take what is yours.
Personal responsibility is a strength.
To communicate well, you have to be able to admit when you’re wrong. If you and the other person are both to blame for a problem, which is usually the case, look for and admit to your part. It calms down the situation, shows maturity, and sets a good example. It usually makes the other person respond in kind, which brings you both closer to understanding each other and finding a solution.
Use “I” statements: Rather than blaming or accusing your partner, try using “I” statements to express your feelings and needs. For example, instead of saying “You never listen to me,” try saying “I feel like I’m not being heard when I speak to you.” This helps to focus on your own feelings rather than attacking your partner.
Rather than saying things like “You really messed up here,” start sentences with “I.” Make statements about yourself and how you feel, like, “I feel frustrated when this happens.” This way is less accusatory, makes the other person less defensive, and helps them understand your point of view instead of making them feel attacked.
Try to Find a Middle Way
Instead of trying to “win” the argument, try to find solutions that work for everyone, whether that’s through a compromise or a new, creative idea that gives you both what you want most. This is much more effective than trying to get what each person wants at the expense of the other. Finding a solution that makes everyone happy is an important part of healthy communication.
Avoid criticism or contempt
Criticism and contempt can be damaging to a relationship, and are often not helpful in resolving conflicts. Instead, try to focus on understanding your partner’s perspective and finding a solution that works for both of you.
Take a Time-Out
When people are angry, it can be hard to keep talking without it turning into an argument or a fight. If you or your partner are getting too angry to talk in a constructive way or are using destructive communication patterns, it’s fine to stop talking until you both calm down.
This could mean going for a walk and coming back to the conversation in half an hour, “sleeping on it” so you can think about how you’re feeling more, or whatever feels right for the two of you, as long as you do come back to the conversation.
Take breaks when needed: If a conversation is becoming too heated or emotional, it can be helpful to take a break to cool down and regroup. It’s okay to take some time to process your thoughts and feelings before continuing the conversation.
Knowing when to take a break is sometimes an important part of good communication.
Keep at It
Even though it’s sometimes a good idea to take a break from the conversation, you should always get back to it. If you both approach the situation with a constructive mindset, mutual respect, and a willingness to see the other’s point of view or at least find a solution, you can make progress toward the goal of ending the conflict. Don’t stop talking unless it’s time to give up on the relationship.
Ask for Help
If you’re struggling to communicate effectively with your partner, it may be helpful to seek the assistance of a therapist or counselor. They can provide guidance and support in you learn how to effectively communicate with your partner. If one or both of you have trouble staying respectful during fights, or if you’ve tried to solve fights with your partner on your own and things don’t seem to be getting better, you might benefit from seeing a therapist.
Couples counselling or family therapy can help with fights and teach people how to get along better in the future. If your partner doesn’t want to go, you can often still get something out of going by yourself. You can also use apps like “Happy Couple” to improve your relationship and figure out why you lost love for each other.
How to Talk to Your Long-Distance Lover
One study found that couples who live far away from each other have different ways of talking to each other than couples who live close by. People in long-distance relationships are:
video calling, voice calling, and texting more.
expected their partner to answer their calls and texts more often.
Texting more often and responding to texts made them happier in their relationships7.
In a long-distance relationship, both people need to feel like they can talk to each other.
If you are trying to solve a problem with someone far away, typing out everything you are thinking may not be the best way to talk. This can lead to misunderstandings and doesn’t let your partner respond in the moment.
When compared to other ways of communicating, like texting or emailing, audio and visual mediums can help bring people closer together.
Texting might be fine for quick check-ins, but video calls or phone calls are better for longer conversations.
Try not to do other things while talking to your partner on the phone. Staying in the moment and valuing the time you spend together will go a long way toward making the other person feel like they are important.
Think of a video call as if you were talking to someone in person. If your partner says something you don’t want to hear, try not to hang up on them. You should both agree to listen to each other. It’s fine if one of you needs to take a break and set up a different time to continue the conversation.
But don’t leave your partner in the lurch. If you and your long-distance partner are fighting, it might seem easy to ignore your phone for a while, but that will probably hurt them even more. Even when you’re not in the same room, you want to feel like you can still talk to each other. Before you hang up, think about when your next phone call or video call will be.
Be open and honest:
It’s important to be open and honest with your partner about your thoughts and feelings, even if they may be difficult to express. This helps to build trust and understanding in the relationship.
Effective communication is essential for any healthy relationship. By practicing active listening, using “I” statements, avoiding criticism and contempt, being open and honest, taking breaks when needed, and seeking help if needed, you can improve your communication and strengthen your relationship.