Humans are social creatures. Even if someone doesn’t like having the pressure of a constant relationship, they still have “their people” who they enjoy calling friends.
We also have family connections that sometimes extend beyond genetics. It’s nice to have a mother and father, even if they are adoptive.
If there aren’t connections available, these circumstances make people feel misunderstood, isolated, and alone. These outcomes lead to negative emotions that can make someone believe that they are worthless.
We need communication to develop and maintain healthy relationships. Whether you’re dealing with a co-worker or an intimate partner, here are some of the ways you can improve this skill quickly.
How Can I Start Communicating Better Today?
Each relationship is different, which means your approach to communication must be flexible. Everyone has a unique way that works the best for their needs. Some people like using touch, others prefer talking, and even gift-giving is an option.
You likely know the style you prefer, but what about the other person’s style? What helps them understand the information you want to convey?
When you can step into the other person’s shoes to see their communication strengths, it allows you to avoid miscommunication more often.
That’s one way to improve your communication. Here are a few more ideas to consider.
1. Be present in each relationship.
You must be in the moment with other people when your goal is to improve communication. Each person should feel as if they have your full attention. Are you making them the first priority in your life at that second?
If you feel stressed out, angry, or disappointed, it’s harder to be fully present and neutral when communicating with someone. Setting aside any negative emotions to focus on building trust can help the relationship flourish.
That doesn’t mean you should ignore or forget about the potential harm someone has tried in the past. Your safety is always the No. 1 priority. For this issue, think about setting aside the disappointment of having your partner come home an hour late from work without calling to discuss your concerns.
When you can separate the person’s emotions, it’s easier to get onto the same page.
2. Stop holding a grudge.
Resentment kills communication quickly. It shuts down your mental processing centers, encourages you to hunt negative emotions, and seeks out the problems that someone else causes.
If you look for negativity, you’ll always find it!
Forgiveness is sometimes more about you than it is about the other person. If someone reaches out to make amends, it’s healthy to give them the benefit of the doubt. When we can listen and be supportive of each other, relationships can grow.
3. Identify your negative patterns.
You might not think that you’re communicating negatively, but it could be the message that other people receive. Each conversation delivers non-verbal cues that clue someone to how you are thinking or feeling.
- If you talk quickly without taking a breath, it can communicate excitement or anger.
- When you attempt to interrupt someone before they’re finished speaking, it communicates a lack of listening.
- Should your voice rise in pitch when talking, it could make you sound defensive or doubtful of what you hear from the other person.
If the conversation seems to be spiraling out of control, try something different outside of your usual routine. Using a little humor or consciously choosing to stop hostility can quickly restore the foundations of communication.
4. Be honest about how you feel.
Miscommunication happens in relationships because people don’t want to hurt others. Instead of choosing careful words that express honest emotions, we shove it deeper inside so that it festers. It might seem comfortable to retreat from conflict, but that choice often causes more harm than good.
Trust in a relationship allows a disagreement to be heard, understood, and respected. Instead of walking away from an argument, look for ways where you can work together to find some common ground.
5. Are the other person’s needs getting met?
The only way to know if the other person in your relationship has their needs met is to ask questions. When they provide an answer, actively listen to that response. Even if something feels hurtful or untrue, try to remember that you asked for their perspective.
When miscommunication happens, it’s usually the result of a listening failure. Instead of waiting for someone to finish or making assumptions about the conversation, ask questions to ensure you’re getting on the same page. These steps can help you connect and communicate better at every level!