Relationships are hard… period. And I’m not just talking about romantic relationships. The truth is all relationships including work, family, friends, and even acquaintances can go south without the proper attention. Why is it so often difficult to connect with the people in your life? The short answer is communication. The sad fact is that many of us simply don’t know how to communicate with each other effectively. But don’t worry, that doesn’t mean it’s time to give up on all human connection. There are things that you can do to get better at communication and improve your relationships. Here are 3 simple steps to solve your relationship problems.
Solve Your Relationship Problems Step #1: Understand Your Own Emotions
If you really want to communicate well with other people, you first need to do some serious introspection. Understanding your emotions and being able to express them is imperative to success. People can’t read your mind and will not know how to relate to you without direct communication. Take the time to think about why you’re feeling a certain way and express it in a way that doesn’t blame or accuse. That way you can avoid things like projecting your emotions onto others or lashing out.
Solve Your Relationship Problems Step #2: Active Listening
People far too often spend time either talking or waiting for their turn to talk instead of actually listening to the other person. It’s important that we learn to really listen to not only the words being used but the emotion behind them. Watching body language and facial expressions is also another way to enhance understanding. Showing the other person that you care enough to listen will connect you in a deeper way and, ultimately, build the relationship.
I also recommend that you really pay attention to how you communicate with others via email and text. These methods leave out important context and emotion. Who hasn’t sent a text only to have it completely misunderstood by the receiver? Yeah, this happens more times than it doesn’t. I always sit on important emails or texts before I send them just in case I’m too emotional. At least proof read them before you hit send. If you receive something that you are not clear about, ask before you assume the worst.
Solve Your Relationship Problems Step #3: Use Patience
Of course, even if you sharpen your communication skills, understand that not everyone is going to be at that stage. If that’s the case, your patience will show them that he or she is worth your time and effort. Some people, especially men (in my experience) need time to articulate and understand their feelings. Check out this article: Why Is My Ex Ignoring Me Completely? Here’s Why! for a great example of how to deal with someone who won’t talk. Again, with your patience and understanding, hopefully, you can get through the conversation when he or she is ready.
Though these steps are simple, there’s a big difference between thinking about them in theory and actually putting them into practice. Even if you’re aware of how important it is, communication can be incredibly difficult. However, being an understanding, loving, patient listener will help with all of your relationships. If it all seems too hard, simply start with one of these steps. Once you see how your effort helps, you will want to work on your skills even more. Additionally, those with whom you communicate will see and feel the change in you. Children, especially, will respond and mimic your ways.