7 Easy Ways to Improve Communication in Relationships
Strong communication in relationships is integral to lasting romantic attachments. Here are seven practical tips for improving your communication skills.
Communication in relationships is fundamental. When we stop communicating honestly, regularly, and emotionally, it's easy to drift apart. But, with just a little awareness of the issue, and consistent efforts, keeping the channels of communication open is something that's within everyone's reach. It can make a world of difference to any relationship.
Communication is vital — we know that. The question is, how can couples make the best use of their communication skills? How can they learn to relate in ways that keep their bond tight and their interactions fresh and inspiring? It's not easy, but anyone can improve their communication in relationships, and here are seven easy ways to do so.
1. Schedule Occasions When Talk Takes Center Stage
First off, give yourself a chance to engage in conversations that last for more than 20 minutes and get away from distractions like computer screens or TVs. Instead, schedule dates outside the home which provides a setting for one-to-one communication.
Restaurants always work well but pick intimate venues where you won't be annoyed by ambient noise. Failing that, galleries and museums are great places to wander and chat, but just picking a walking route in a beautiful spot can also catalyze the kind of talks that clear the air and keep you both on the same page.
2. Always Be Prepared to Listen
One of the most obvious, but overlooked aspects of communication in relationships is that they are a two-way street. When we talk about issues relating to communicating with a spouse or partner, people's first questions are often "What should I say?" or "What should we talk about?" Those questions are fine to ask but it misses something crucial: listening.
If you can't listen to your partner, you'll never understand them. If they are trying to say something important, or if they are providing clues about undercurrents of trouble, you'll miss every detail.
This means that adopting a more passive approach is a core aspect of effective communication. Don't talk over your partner, or bring everything back to your own experiences. If you sit back and let conversations develop, you can both provide input and create a more beneficial environment.
3. Silence is Fine
Another mistake that many people make in relationships is fearing silence. Silence isn't an absence of communication and it's not a vacuum that has to be filled as quickly as possible. If you take that approach, you'll more than likely fill the void with evasive statements and conversations that avoid important subjects.
Instead, silence is a time to reflect. It lets you think about what you've heard, how you feel, and what to say next. Because of this, it's actually very healthy to pepper conversations with silences. It's a sign that both people are taking their partner seriously.
More than that, silence allows you to take a look at your partner's body language. Even if they aren't saying anything verbally, their demeanor, posture, smile, eyes — everything about them — is communicating information. And you need to process that if you want a full picture of how they feel.
4. Think About Formalizing Your Communication Time
It's not going to apply to everyone, but this tip can work wonders. If you sense that your relationship is faltering, or you are both talking at each other, rather than actually communicating, setting some rules could make a big difference.
Some couples find that setting aside 5–10 minutes to chat about their day and how they feel is a good strategy. The timer ensures they won't be interrupted, giving them space to explain what's happened, and their responses. That way, couples can be open and frank, both of which are keys to effective communication in relationships.
5. Reassess Your First Response, and Take a Step Back if Possible
Anger is another common toxin for relationships, along with related emotions like frustration or impatience. But expressing anger is usually a counterproductive strategy — whether you're in a boardroom meeting, waiting outside a cinema 10 minutes after the feature has started, or reading a text saying that your date will be there in 15.
Even if you've been wronged, learning how to dial back your primary emotional response is vital. Try to see your date's tardiness as something minor and something that needn't poison your time together. Sure, mention it if it really bothers you (we all hate unpunctuality), but don't make a big deal of it.
6. Be Assertive When You Feel a Genuine Need
Being excessively accommodating is the flip-side to instinctively reacting with anger, and it can be just as wounding for communication in relationships. It's never good to allow your partner to walk all over you. It's not healthy to be the one who takes orders, instead of making your desires clear. That may work for a while, but it's a dynamic that never ends well.
Instead of giving in, when you feel a need, let your partner know. If you need time alone, be open about this. If you can't stand another superhero movie, stand up for yourself. And if you aren't allowed the freedom to influence your collective decisions, express your objections. If that doesn't work, maybe you just aren't compatible. You can easily find more accommodating, tolerant partners at EliteSingles who will respect your freedom.
7. Start Your Communication From a Foundation of Respect
Finally, let's suggest an approach that always bears results. If you're struggling to repair the dynamics of a fractured relationship, it may be that your approach to your partner is all wrong. Perhaps you take them for granted, or perhaps you just don't value them fully. Either way, if you begin every interaction by assuming that they deserve the very best, and nothing else, you'll find that the dynamic shifts.
This kind of approach isn't easy. We can't always change who we are, but we can try. And you'll find yourself communicating in different ways, saying different things, and hearing a whole new side of the one you love. So the prize is well worth it.