Relationships of any kind will inevitably be fraught with some level of conflict. Contrary to popular belief, conflict alone is not harmful, but a natural part of being in a relationship or friendship. How it’s handled, however, can bring two people closer together or split them apart. Uncertainty, disagreements, and misunderstandings can grow into anger and distance, but if mitigated with effective communication skills, these situations can serve as a springboard for a stronger relationship with the person you care about.
Let me show you how.
Tips for Healthy Communication with Others
Try these tips for healthy relationship communication the next time you’re faced with conflict, to help you achieve a better outcome.
Keep Focused On The Current Situation
Sometimes it’s tempting to bring up past conflicts when dealing with current ones. It feels natural to want to address everything that’s bothering you at once, but it is actually better to pause that thought and stay focused on the current conflict at hand.
Talking about past issues can muddy the conversation and makes navigating towards a mutual understanding and a solution to the current issue more tricky and confusing. Try not to bring up past topics. Stay focused on the present, your feelings, understanding one another and finding a solution together then and there.
Be Sure to Carefully Listen
Often, people think they are listening when they are actually thinking about what to say next when the other person is finished talking. Watch to see if you do that next time you have a conversation.
It is only when communication goes both ways that it is truly effective. Although it might be difficult, try your best to listen to what your friend or partner has to say. Avoid interrupting. Stay calm and don’t get defensive. Listen to what they have to say and reflect on their words so they know you are listening. Then you’ll better understand things from their perspective and they’ll be more willing to listen to your thoughts and feelings.
Avoid using “You” Messages
In place of saying, “You really screwed up here,” try something like “I feel frustrated when” and try to start each sentence with “I,” to make the point your own. This way, the other person is less likely to feel attacked and will be open to understanding your point rather than being defensive.
An argument is not about “winning”, it is about sorting through your issues to come to an agreed-upon decision.
Instead of trying to “win” the argument, focus on finding solutions that satisfy everyone’s needs. A focus on compromise or finding a creative solution that gives both parties what they want is much more beneficial than one person getting what they want at the expense of the other. Healthy communication involves finding a resolution that both sides can be happy with.
Conflict is a natural part of relationships, and through healthy communication, you can make your bond grow stronger and navigate you both towards smoother waters. If you are looking to learn how to become a more effective communicator and other types of personal development, contact me today to begin forging your new path.