How to Communicate An Issue With Your Partner
Recently I was on the bus home and heard a very amusing phone call behind me. It was a girl talking to her boyfriend, saying things like "If you loved me, you'd think of me!" She wanted him to do little things for her so she knew he was thinking about her and wanted to make her happy. So what's the problem? It was her communication style.
Many relationships suffer because of communication. It is key for any relationship to thrive. To communicate is to share your dreams, desires, wants, needs and dislikes with your significant other. If you don't communicate, you can't get your message across and then you have to suffer inside. Many people in relationships want their partner to "mind read" and "just know" what they want. They feel they are nagging or annoying if they ask. Well I'm here to give you some steps to better communicate your needs and wants in your relationship (whether a friendship, romantic relationship or family member).
This is from personal experience, so may not work for every personality type. More specifically I am talking to us girls out there who want to communicate better with their boyfriend.
Step 1: Think!
Don't just say what comes to the top of your head. Some may advise to do this because you're "being true to yourself" but I disagree. Many continued fights occur because someone said something hurtful that they didn't mean to say. Instead of talking on the spot, think about the most important points to say first instead of rambling on for hours. Quality over quantity, as they always say! Personally (and maybe I'm crazy) I talk to myself and practise what I'll say to someone before I go up to them with an issue to be solved.
Step 2: Pick a good time and place
Whenever I bring up an important topic with someone, I always make sure I pick a good time and place. Don't communicate in the car or just before an important event and especially not in the bus! I usually use a bedroom where it's closed off from other people and hopefully prying ears. Where's your favourite "deep and meaningful" place?
Where do you normally communicate issues with your partner?
Step 3: Don't blame, communicate your feelings
So often, girls (or boys) play the blame game. "You didn't clean the car!", "You didn't remmeber our anniversary." Worse, they use emotional manipulation to get their way, "You'd come and surprise me outside university if you loved me" (aka, the girl on the bus). The latter example implies mind reading. Remember, the opposite sex does not read minds - if only!
Now, the best way to communicate when something is wrong is to say how you feel from something they did. For example, if your partner keeps hurting your feelings verbally, instead of calling them a jerk, it is better to be in a clear and calm place and say something such as "What you said the other day hurt me. It pulls me down when you said "this" and "that"". Isn't it much easier to respond to how someone feels from an action you did than being labelled and blamed? Have you ever been blamed before when you did something wrong? What was your reaction?
One very important point I want to make is NOT to bring up a million issues or examples at once. Work on one event at a time and don't bombard them. Bombarding someone with too many examples you've stored up over the years is tiresome and will set your significant other up to become defensive even if they're in the wrong. So remember, one topic at a time!
Step 4: Work out solutions
You can try to figure out solutions on your own for the issue then communciate them to your significant other or you can try be problem solvers together. What handy tips/solutions have you used before?
Step 5: Revisit if necessary
If the attempted solutions aren't working, don't just leave the issue hanging because you're afraid of bringing it up again. Simply repeat these steps again and you'll find the best solution for you two in time. Has it ever taken you multiple times to solve one issue?
I hope these steps might help you re-think your current communication style. Do you use similar steps or something completely different? Let me know if you agree or disagree :)