communication needs

Studies show that most relationships fail as a result of poor communication. That’s right, when it comes to the success of your partnership, communication is key. If you’re struggling to communicate with your partner, your relationship may be on the chopping block.

So what can you do? How can you make sure that you and your partner are both having your communication needs met? It can be so difficult, and it only gets harder over time as that communication gulf gets wider.

We’re here with some practical advice that can help you open up that conversation and improve the way you communicate. Read on to learn more. 

Open Up a Conversation About Communication Needs

Before you can start meeting your partner’s communication needs (or they can start meeting yours), you need to understand what those needs are. It can be difficult to have a conversation like this. Many people make the mistake of assuming that their partners should be mind-readers, so when it’s time to voice their needs or ask questions, they feel awkward.

Never feel bad when it’s time to communicate your needs. Remember that communication can only make your relationship better. It can be difficult at first, but if you’re not sharing your needs, your partner has no way of meeting them (and vice versa). 

Try to have the conversation when you’re both feeling safe and comfortable. Don’t do it during a time of high tension. Try to pick a time when you’re both relatively happy and relaxed.

This should set the tone for a more productive conversation where you can feel confident enough to express yourself.

Make sure to encourage your partner to express their communication needs, especially if they tend to keep those needs to themselves. Let them know that you want to build a strong connection, and to do that, you need to know what unmet needs you’re up against. 

Focus on Active Listening

When you’re having a conversation with your partner, how often are you “listening” instead of actually listening? It can be tough to lend an ear to your partner, especially when life gets busy and you have so much on your mind, but it’s essential to do so. You want to hear what your partner is saying rather than just let them talk past you. 

Practice active listening by giving your partner your full attention when they are speaking. Avoid interrupting and focus on understanding their perspective. Reflecting back on what you’ve heard can demonstrate that you are actively engaged in the conversation.

Ask questions and respond when it’s appropriate to do so. Try to avoid getting lost in your phone or other distractions. 

Ask Open-Ended Questions

Prompt meaningful conversation with open-ended questions. These can invite your partner to share more about their thoughts and feelings. This helps deepen your understanding of each other.

This can be a difficult adjustment and it may feel awkward at first. Not every question has to be open-ended, but try to ask at least a few open-ended questions per day as an experiment. See how your partner responds and try to answer the questions yourself. 

Aim for Clear Expression

Clearly express your thoughts and feelings to avoid misunderstandings. Use “I” statements to communicate your perspective and avoid sounding accusatory. For example, say “I feel” instead of “You always.”

Before you express a complicated feeling, take a step back and think about how you plan on expressing it. What words are the best to use in this situation? How can you phrase it so as to not come off as aggressive or accusatory? 

It can be a good idea to take a break from a conversation and come back to it later when you know what you want to say. 

Consider Non-Verbal Communication

Pay attention to non-verbal cues, such as body language and facial expressions. These cues can provide additional insights into your partner’s emotions and reactions. Likewise, be mindful of your non-verbal signals to ensure they align with your words.

Often, we don’t really say what we mean. Our bodies, however, can still express what we’re not saying. Learning how to read those silent expressions can save your relationship.

Some people have a hard time reading non-verbal communication, and that’s okay. Do your best. 

Respect Differences in Communication Styles

People have different communication styles, and it’s essential to respect and understand these differences. Some individuals may prefer direct communication, while others may be more subtle or indirect. Be open to adapting your style to better suit your partner’s preferences.

At the same time, make sure that your partner knows your preferences. Remember that you’ll both have to make adjustments sometimes. Compromise is essential when it comes to establishing clear and healthy communication in a relationship. 

Establish Communication Rituals

Establish regular communication “rituals,” such as daily check-ins or designated times for more in-depth conversations. Consistency helps create a sense of security and connection within the relationship.

Some partners feel these rituals make relationships feel less spontaneous and fun, but this doesn’t have to be the case. Establishing rituals like this allows you to be more intentional about your communication habits. This can improve your communication dramatically at the end of the day. 

Practice Empathy

Cultivate empathy by putting yourself in your partner’s shoes. Understand their feelings and perspectives, even if you don’t necessarily agree.

Empathy can be challenging, especially when you’re in a heated discussion. It can be hard to remember that your partner may be coming from a different perspective than you. Remember that your partner has their own thoughts and feelings and that those thoughts and feelings are likely having a large impact on how they’re communicating.

When you approach your partner with empathy and understanding, it’s almost inevitable that your communication will improve.

Be Mindful of the Timing

Choose appropriate times for big conversations. This is one of the most important things you can do to quickly improve your communication with your partner overnight.

Avoid discussing sensitive topics when either of you is stressed, tired, or in a hurry. Sometimes it’s unavoidable, but when you can, try to put serious conversations off until you’re both in better moods.

Being mindful of timing can contribute to a more constructive and receptive atmosphere. This will lead to fewer arguments and a better conversation overall. 

Use Technology Wisely

Use technology to enhance communication but make sure to use it wisely. While texting and messaging can be convenient, they may not be suitable for all types of conversations. Remember that it can be difficult to read tone through text and that it’s very easy to misunderstand someone through a text message.

Consider the importance of the message and whether it’s better delivered in person or through a video call. Most of the time it’s far better to communicate in person. This way, both people can get all of the nuances of both verbal and non-verbal communication and there are fewer opportunities for misunderstandings.

Seek Feedback

Encourage open communication about your communication itself. Yes, that may seem a bit confusing, but once you get in the habit of it, it may seriously improve your relationship.

Ask your partner for feedback on how you can better meet their communication needs. Try to check in relatively often, especially if you already know that communication has been a hurdle in your relationship. For example, checking in during a weekly date night when you’re both in a good mood is a great idea.

This mutual feedback fosters continuous improvement in your communication dynamics. It allows you both to find places to improve and to compliment each other on what you’re doing well. 

Consider Therapy

Sometimes communication issues seem impossible to resolve on your own. Every conversation ends in an argument and you can’t seem to find common ground no matter what you do. In that case, what’s next?

Do you just give up and deal with poor communication? Do you throw in the proverbial towel?

No! In that case, it’s a good idea to seek out therapy. Both individual and couple therapy can be incredibly helpful when it comes to sorting out communication struggles in relationships.

A good therapist will help you and your partner determine your communication needs and provide a safe place for you to talk through your issues with the guidance of a neutral third party. It can be life-changing and help you build a strong connection.

You Can Meet Your Partner’s Communication Needs

If you’re not meeting your partner’s communication needs (or vice versa), these tips can help you get back on track. Never underestimate the importance of strong communication in building and maintaining a healthy relationship. If you want your relationship to stand the test of time, you need to be able to communicate.

At Therapie, we can help. We offer both individual and couples therapy in Nashville, and our team is ready to help you take your relationship to the next level. We can’t wait to meet you and help your relationship truly blossom.

Reach out for a consultation today. 

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