Without a doubt, communication can be the make-or-break factor for a dating relationship. Often, two people who seem perfect for each other at first can’t make their relationship last because they are unable to really talk to each other and share their feelings. The following tips will help you work on communication skills and break down barriers to healthy communication.
Make your conversations balanced. Whether you are extremely happy, angry, or sad, there may be times when you feel like you could talk for hours without stopping. There is nothing wrong with talking for hours, but effective communication requires that both people be involved every step of the way. Every few minutes, take a break and ask “What do you think?” or “How does that make you feel?” Sometimes, it doesn’t hurt to think of your dating relationship like a court room: each side presents their case, reacts to the other side, and then sums up their position. It’s not the most romantic analogy, but it can help you communicate better.
Reflect what your partner is saying. Building a solid dating relationship is all about understanding each other, and the way you communicate has a lot to do with that. After your significant other has expressed their thoughts, beliefs, or feelings, don’t just assume you understand what they mean. Use reflective language to confirm that you have heard and comprehended everything correctly. Say “From your perspective…” before contributing your opinion. If you both start operating off from assumptions instead of facts, your conversations can spiral out of control and leave you feeling frustrated and misunderstood.
Don’t respond to yelling with more yelling. If a dating relationship continues for long enough, it is undeniable that some problems will arise and someone will get angry. While yelling is not the most effective way to communicate, it is sometimes helpful to blow off steam. The most important thing to remember is that when your partner is yelling, you need to respond calmly and firmly. As long as you don’t feel threatened, it is OK to let them raise their voice for a while.
Then, calmly say “We can discuss this when you lower your voice.” Your partner will likely be surprised by your level-headedness and realize that they are being irrational.
Talk about the good things. It is easy to think about communication skills while having big, serious conversations about the future of your dating relationship. Don’t be afraid to talk about the small, happier things, though. Tell your partner you love them. Remind them of your favorite date. Explain the article you just read. These little instances are perfect times to practice your communication and grow closer.
Learning to communicate effectively and honestly can be one of the hardest parts of creating a healthy and happy relationship. Being intentional about sharing, listening, and understanding can be the first steps toward unlocking the power of communication for you and your love.