The # 1 reason couples seek my help is because of “communication issues.” Of course, that can cover a lot of things. Once I dig down what kind of communication issues they have, there are three common mistakes that keep coming up. Today I’m going to tell you which are the three most common mistakes that can derail your relationship and how to avoid them.
1. MAKING ASSUMPTIONS
Making assumptions is one of the most common ways people make things worst. When your partner says ‘Oh for the love of Pete!’ as soon as they come home from work, we can make all sorts of assumptions. Did I do something wrong? What’s the problem now?
You can avoid unnecessary hurt feelings by just asking your partner what’s wrong or if you can do anything to help. Maybe they had a frustrating day and just tripped over their shoelaces. You’ll never know what’s really going on unless you ask.
Making assumptions is natural. Checking your assumptions is the only way to avoid mistakes and unnecessary hurt.
2. SHUTTING DOWN
There are many reasons people shut down. I have heard all kinds of excuses for it: “My partner has a short fuse, I don’t want to make things worst.” “When my feelings are hurt, it takes a long time for me to be able to talk about things.” Growing up they always told me to shut up. Now I just can’t talk.” “I don’t easily have a quick answer and don’t want to appear stupid or let my partner get advantage over me.” And on and on. .
Avoiding talking, giving someone the silent treatment, turning your back to them, or telling them that you don’t want to talk is a way of stonewalling and refusing to solve a problem. It’s okay to let yourself cool off if you are experiencing emotions like anger or hurt and you are worried about saying the wrong thing.
When your anger, fear, or sadness get the most of you, you are more likely to hurt your partner’s feelings in communication, which solves nothing. But instead of shutting down all communication, let your partner know that you’d like some time to cool down or think about things before continuing the conversation. Then take responsibility for reopening the conversation once you are calmer.
3. TAKING THINGS PERSONALLY
Many times it’s hard not to take things personally, It’s especially difficult if you don’t have a strong sense of self-love. When your partner says that they hate it when you cook cabbage, it has nothing to do with your effort to cook them a healthy meal, or their love for you. It might have to do with having to eat too much cabbages growing up and getting to the point of hating it. So don’t take it personally. You don’t have to apologize for it, or get hurt by it.
Everyone has their own preferences and they have a right to ask you to do, or not to do, things their way. However, so do you. You have every right to make your home stinky with cabbage, whether or not it’s everyone's favorite vegetable.
So whose rights are more important? Neither. That’s where the art of communication and compromise comes in. When you feel hurt by words that your partner says, look inside rather than blaming them for hurting you. Words can hurt, but only if you let them hurt you. Ask more questions. Try to understand better where your partner’s comments are coming from. Stop making a drama of everything. Instead, learn better ways to communicate.
If you feel that your communication doesn't work well when you need to resolve issues in your relationship, and your connection and bond of love is threatened, there are simple do's and don'ts that can help you restore your communication and find true connection again.
If you want to have at the tip of your fingers the do's and don'ts about communication, I have an easy to follow infographic with guidelines that can help. Get my FREE Communication Guidelines below: