For any relationship to flourish, it requires a great deal of time and commitment from both people. Putting in the work and showing up is one thing, but without communication, you won’t be able to move forward.
Communication is the key to any functional, healthy, and happy relationship. The trouble is, everyone communicates differently, and if you don’t understand how your partner communicates and learn to work in harmony with that, you’ll end up having unnecessary arguments.
The good news is, most communication problems can easily be solved with a few simple but effective tweaks. Here are some of the most common problems with communication in relationships, and how you can solve them starting today.
Not spending enough quality time listening to each other.
Technology definitely helps make our lives more convenient, and makes it easier to stay connected to the people we care about. But along with phones, the internet, and social media, some of us have become increasingly distracted and glued to screens. Almost everyone is guilty of being with their partner, who’s trying to have a conversation with us, while we’re only half listening as we scroll through our Facebook feed.
You can’t do both, and your partner will end up feeling frustrated and unheard. Next time you’re having a conversation, be fully present. Listen when your partner is speaking, unplug, sign off, and give them your undivided attention. They’ll feel much more appreciated, and you’ll actually hear what they’re saying—it’s a win win.
Being aggressive or defensive.
In a relationship, the two of you are on the same team. Take a moment to let that sink in. Think back to a time when one of you has raised your voice or gotten furious—how did it end? Probably not well. That’s because nobody likes to be yelled at, and often that will cause the other person to become defensive because they feel like they’re being attacked.
If this becomes a habit, you’ll end up creating more problems in the relationship, which will become increasingly difficult to solve. Next time you feel hurt or frustrated by your partner, take a few deep breaths, and communicate your feelings more gently. See what happens.
Not stating the obvious.
The two of you might be deeply in love with each other, but how many times do you communicate this? It sounds silly and obvious, but unless you say it regularly, one or both people in the relationship can end up feeling unappreciated or unloved.
Some people struggle to express their emotions, but even something as small as saying I love you to each other once a day can go a long way. Compliments are always great too—who doesn’t like receiving a compliment?!
Not picking your battles.
You know what I mean. Is it really the end of the world if your partner didn’t do the dishes the way you wanted them to, or if they picked up the wrong type of milk from the store?
If you keep picking at each other over the little things, you’ll end up arguing constantly, over things that really don’t matter in the grand scheme of things. And when something comes up that you feel strongly about, your partner won’t take it as seriously as you perhaps need them to.
Learning to let go of the little things is key to thriving in any relationship, and can be equally important as discussing the big things.
Expecting your partner to read your mind.
We know on a logical level that no one is a mind reader. So why is it that so many of us get upset when our partners don’t know what we’re thinking or feeling every minute of every day?!
Our partners know us better than most people do, but they don’t know everything. How can they? It’s totally unfair to expect them to.
Next time you feel irritated or upset because your partner has fallen short of your expectations, check in with yourself and make sure you’re being reasonable. Try instead telling your partner how you feel.
Failing to take responsibility.
Usually when you have a fight with your partner, the tendency is to blame everything on them and not acknowledge your part in it. The truth is, there’s always two sides, and the blame is usually shared.
When you both take responsibility for your part in an argument it increases your chances of resolving any issues in your relationship, because it encourages you to act as a team instead of two individuals.
Not being completely honest.
Being completely honest with your feelings can be tough, especially when you have to say something you know the other person might not want to hear. But this is the only way to create a healthy relationship. Without honesty, you’ll struggle to move forward when you hit a roadblock.
Anyone will tell you that communication is the most important part of a relationship, but fewer people will tell you what good communication really looks like. Keep things open and honest in your relationship by avoiding these common communication mistakes.