Communication is the key to any healthy relationship. Whether it’s a friend, significant other, parent, professor, etc., it’s necessary to have good communication, and that will lead to healthy boundaries, happiness, and overall, a mutual understanding.
It sounds like the easiest thing in the world, to just tell the person how you feel and what you need, right? Nope, not as easy as it sounds! Taking ownership over your feelings, getting them out in the open and expressing what you need in any kind of relationship is one of the hardest things to do. You either bottle it all up and explode when the last straw is pulled or lose control and lash out at someone who means a lot to you.
Over the past few years, I have struggled with receiving what I need in different friendships and relationships. It’s hard to put yourself and your feelings on the line but it’s easier to make assumptions, lie to them, bottle everything up and not listen because you don’t understand each other. I am a perfect example of someone who sometimes bottles everything up until I lose it and lash out at the person after months of pent-up anger. But I’m also someone who loves confrontation and explaining how I feel when I’m upset. So how do we achieve good communication in our relationships and come to a mutual understanding? Here are some of my steps to try before losing it with someone and saying something you don’t mean.
- Don’t ever make assumptions.
Making assumptions is the worst thing you can do in a relationship. Assumptions lead to over-thinking, and that leads to analyzing a situation or analyzing what someone said in a way that isn’t true. It’s better to come out and ask the person straight-up what is going on or what happened.
- If you’re not happy with something, say it.
Instead of keeping it to yourself when something upsets you or hurts you, it’s healthier to explain why you’re hurt and angry than bottling it up and saving it for when you explode at the other person.
- Set healthy boundaries.
This one is my favorite because it’s so overlooked by everyone. So many relationships and friendships and families have little to no boundaries which are the causation of unhealthy relationships. You need to set limits, tune into your feelings, be direct, give yourself permission, take care of yourself and be assertive.
- Learn how to say no.
Going off of healthy boundaries, learning how to say no is important to healthy, good communication. Learning how to say no will help to set boundaries and make yourself a priority. So many times I find myself not wanting to say no to something I agreed to, or am just not feeling anymore, but after I say no, it feels like a weight is lifted off my shoulders. Saying no is OKAY!
- Listen with care.
The other person’s feelings are just as valid as yours, even if you think you’re right. To achieve good communication skills, you need to listen to his/her side compassionately and take into account his/her feelings and perspective.
- Be clear and concise with your words.
My mom always tells me to be impeccable with my words, therefore no one can make assumptions or read into what I say. Always say what you need and what you feel completely
- Be honest. No matter what.
It all comes down to honesty. With any relationship, communication only works with honesty. Saying exactly what you’re feeling and need and being honest with the other person allows you to build trust and a good base foundation in the relationship. When you have the foundation of communication skills down, you create a peaceful, happy, loving relationship with someone you can enjoy being with and the key of mutual respect.