How to Improve Communication

An excerpt from

A surefire way to communicate better with your partner and reduce misunderstandings

It is very rare that anyone wakes up and says "I think I'll have a fight with my partner today." These things just happen, right? Well, not exactly. Over time, all of the past conversations that we have had with our partners help us to predict how today's particular conversations will go. If the relationship is rocky lately and communication has been breaking down, we tend to assume that this time will be no different. The problem is that that assumption becomes self-fulfilling and it's easy to see why. Communication is about opening up; it's about sharing a part of you. When we expose our thoughts and feelings, we can feel exposed or vulnerable. If I think that I'll just be dismissed or shot down when I open up, I'm certainly not going to bother. Better safe than sorry, right?

Here are a few steps to help you and your partner move away from the arguing and towards a better understanding of each other. 

1. Choose To Have A Good Conversation

How you speak to each other today can be different than it has been for the last few weeks/months/years, but you have to make a choice that you do not want to repeat old patterns. No one ever wants to admit this, but it starts by acknowledging that no matter how justified you feel in saying what you usually say, you might play a role in how bad those conversations go. Ask yourself if your partner is so completely unreasonable that he or she is 100% responsible for all of your misunderstandings at all times and you are completely blameless. If the answer is no, and it almost certainly is, then you can start to see what is within your control to change.

If there is something that the two of you need to discuss, it is important to see that every conversation is a two-person dance. We all have our own vulnerabilities and sensitivities and by acknowledging your role in where it goes wrong, you have the opportunity for it to go right.

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