COMMUNICATION MISTAKES AND HOW TO FIX THEM IN A RELATIONSHIP
Communication mistakes impact negatively on relationships. Good and healthy communication is something that should not be taken lightly in any relationship because it is very important for the survival of relationships. All relationships have ups and downs, but a healthy communication style can make it easier to deal with conflict, and help build a stronger and healthier relationships. At this point I know you are wondering “what are some of the communication mistakes and how to fix them?” I’ll take my time to address some of the basic communication mistakes couples make and how to effectively fix them.
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What is communication?
The basic definition of communication is the transfer of information or data from one place or point to another. Communication is also defined as a process whereby information is exchanged between individuals through a common system of symbols, signs, or behaviours. The Communication model has a sender who is sending the message and the receiver who is receiving the message.
Types or forms of communication
Generally, communication can be categorized into three basic types: verbal, written and non-verbal communication. Written communication is particularly important in a long distance relationship where couples mostly get in touch via email and writing. Each type has its own advantages and disadvantages
In relationships, written, verbal and non-verbal communication allow to you explain your feelings, problems, need and experiences to your partner. The act of communicating not only helps to meet your needs, but it also helps you to be connected in your relationship.
Non-verbal communication is the most important form of communication. Peter Drucker put it this way: “The most important part of communication is hearing what isn’t said.” –Although verbal communication is important, spoken words make up only a small part of communication. In fact, a study by
Non-verbal communication is also known as ‘body language’ and includes facial expressions, body positions, hand gestures, tone of voice, smell, and other communications perceived by our senses.
Mastering non-verbal communication will enable you to be a better communicator in your relationship because you will have a better understanding of your partner’s nonverbal cues and actions.
Verbal communication takes place orally. It can also be defined as the sharing of information between individuals by using speech. In relationships, verbal communication takes place over the phone or in person.
Couples need to effectively use verbal communication that employs readily understood spoken words, as well as ensuring that the enunciation, stress and tone of voice with which the words are expressed is appropriate.
The Purpose of Communication in Relationships
Communication mistakes happen because most couples have a basic misconception of the purpose of communication. They approach communication as a debate in which each presents a preconceived version of the reality of what is going on between the two. The purpose of communication is to Strengthens the levels of trust, honesty and respect, and to solve conflicts in the relationship. Being able to communicate effectively with your partner will help build a stable and healthy relationship.
Some Basic Communication Mistakes in Relationships and their Fixes
Mistake 1: “Not Really Saying What You Want or Think.” Some people choose to hold back and not saying what they want or think for the fear of hurting their partner or for whatever reasons best known to them.
The Fix: Speak your mind or the truth, realize that you cannot make another person feel anything because their needs determine their emotions not your actions.
Mistake 2: “Expecting Your Partner to Read Your Mind like a psychic.” The only sure path to not getting your need met is by holding it back and not expressing it.
The Fix: “Express your needs and wants.” Once you begin share your needs with your partner, then your partner will be able to meet them.
Mistake 3: “Assuming That More Communication Is the Solution.” Sometimes we communicate more than necessary, even when the communication is heading nowhere we still continue with it.
The Fix: Explore new tools and avenues to bring higher quality communication into the relationships. Try new ways of communication to spice up your relationship.
Mistake 4: “Not Considering Things from your partner’s perspective or point of view.” This is a very big communication mistake because to connect with your spouse, you’ll need to let her feel heard, understood, and her opinion respected.
The Fix: Empathy is the capacity to understand or feel what another person is experiencing from within their frame of reference. In relationships, empathy is a special kind of listening. It asks the listener to focus their attention on what’s happening to the other person.
Mistake 5: “Asking close-ended questions.” Another communication mistake is the asking close of ended-questions. This gives no room for proper explanations of the issues at hand. A closed-ended question is one that can be answered with a simple “yes” or “no,” or a limited set of answers, such as “Tuesday” or “Wednesday.”
The Fix: Ask Open-ended questions. By contrast, an open-ended question is one that does not dictate any specific response like ‘yes or no’. Open needed-questions include ‘What do you find meaningful about our relationship?’ It should be noted that in some cases closed-ended questions are appropriate.
Mistake 6: “Not listening before talking”. Always interrupting conversation with your partner is a bad way of communication. You are only stealing his or her opinion and moment by interrupting.
The fix: Listening is a very important part of communication. Being good listener can encourage your partner to talk openly and honestly. Tips for good listening include:
- lean towards the other person and make gestures to show interest and concern
- have an open, non-defensive, fairly relaxed posture with your arms and legs uncrossed
- face the other person – don’t sit or stand sideways
- avoid distracting gestures such as fidgeting with a pen, glancing at papers, or tapping your feet or fingers
- Mute telephones or other communication devices to ensure you are really listening
- be aware of your tone.
Mistake 7: “Focusing on more issues at a time and bringing up issues at inappropriate time”. Why bring so many issues up in a single conversation? Another communication mistake couples do.
The fix: Let’s say your partner forgot to do the dishes. You’re upset. So, you decide to yell about the dishes and then get into how he was late for dinner last week or how he didn’t walk the dog on Tuesday morning. That is not a great move. The thing is even if you have a lot of issues bothering you about your partner, it is highly advisable that you bring up a maximum of only one per conversation,” says Bregman. “If you ignore this vital rule, you will overwhelm the other person, and they will have a tendency to emotionally shut down in your avalanche of criticism and hear nothing you are saying,” says Bregman.
Mistake 8: Trying to “win” an argument. Communication in relationships is not like a debate championship where you aim at winning. “Trying to “win” an argument by defeating or belittling your partner not only fails to address the underlying problem, but generally intensifies it,” says
The Fix: Remind yourself that you are not in any competition so you should stop trying to win. Focus your energy on getting the issue solved or getting your message across without hurting your partner’s ego. You both “win” an argument if the issue is discussed between both parties and the relationship remains good afterwards. Conflicts usually come from differences in opinion. Good relationships can overcome differences of opinion.
“If all you want is to prove that you’re right because … you are right! And maybe you are. But when you get locked in this kind of battle you both lose because you become opponents; you’re fighting against each other, and the other person becomes your enemy. And if you’re in a fight, then chances are he thinks you’re wrong, and chances are, he’s probably right. He’s probably a little wrong and a little right, just like you’re a little wrong and a little right.”
You can’t win every argument, and some conflicts will never be solved. You just need to respect each other‘s differences.
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