Communicating In A Relationship
Communicating In A Relationship
Philip Van Munching (Author) gives expert video advice on: What's the most effective starting point for a relationship discussion?; How can I be a better listener?; How can I prepare for a relationship discussion? and more...
How can my partner and I talk about our relationship more productively?
There are basically four key things that you have to remember when you're trying to communicate with your partner. The first one is: listen up. The second one is: validate your partner's feelings. This is how they feel, it's not about what you're thinking right now. The third one is: keep your cool. No matter what they're saying, just keep listening. The fourth is: mind the gap. Understand that there's a gulf between what you've experienced and what they've experienced.
What's the most effective starting point for a relationship discussion?
If you want to start a conversation with your partner about your relationship, the key to remember is you have to keep it with "me" statements: "This is what I've noticed", "This is what I'm feeling." With that in mind, you go to them and you say: "You know, I've noticed we have this pattern of..." That way you're not going to them saying: "You always do this" or "You never do this". You're keeping it to a sort of a non-threatening "me" statement, instead of making them feel defensive.
Why does listening matter so much in relationships?
Listening is so crucial because basically you make assumptions all the time about what it is your partner is upset about. And you tend you tend to react to those assumptions. And the more you actually sit down, keep your mouth shut, and listen to what they are telling you, the more you can get about what is really causing them to have troubles today, and the more you can keep them from exploding tomorrow.
What should I do if what my partner is saying sounds crazy, stupid or wrong?
If what your partner is saying is so upsetting to you, because it seems crazy or wrong or stupid or whatever, it's time to remind yourself that just because you're listening doesn't mean you're accepting. You're not saying, "OK. I agree with everything you've just said." You have to concentrate on letting them have their say before you can start to negotiate back to what you see as reality.
During a relationship discussion, is it better to make a longer or shorter case for myself?
When you're having a serious relationship discussion, you don't get any extra points for extra words. You really want to keep your points as concise as you can make them, but on the other hand, you don't get do overs either. So you'll want to make sure that you've made a full and complete case for what you want to say. But you don't want to get lost in the thicket where people sort of feel defensive because you've said so much for so long. If you can concisely say to your partner, "Here's how I'm feeling. Here's why I'm feeling it." You tend to get better results.
What should we do if a relationship discussion isn't getting anywhere?
There are times in any relationship discussion when your best bet is to stop the discussion, but the thing is, you don't hang up the phone, you don't slam the door, you don't stalk off. You say 'look we are both getting upset, this isn't going anywhere, but it's really important to me that we work this out so can we come back to it?' If you're reasonable with people it's amazing how much reasonableness you can get right back.