Somewhere along the way of trying to settle down in relationships, we forget to learn and revise our concepts of communication and conversations. Not giving lucid communication due importance is an erroneous lapse in judgment we all tend to perform. Underplaying the value of talking to each other honestly and clearly whilst maintaining an even temper is what eventually leads to the end of a relationship. So what are we doing? Why aren’t we able to maintain healthy relationships? Can we attribute our break-ups solely to incompatibility? Are we, as a generation, too self-involved to focus on this significant component of long-lasting relationships? These are questions we need to introspect about.
1. Be Present In The Moment
Now, I’m not a patron saint of the cult that believes in the absolute removal of technology from our daily lives. I am as dependent as the second person on my phone and laptop. People are making money off these gadgets and we need to give them their due. But not when someone else is demanding their long overdue attention. When you’re talking to your partner, you shouldn’t be checking your e-mails, Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, etc. It’s not just disrespectful, it defeats the purpose of having a conversation. Also, while we’re on this subject, you also need to lose the wandering trail of thoughts transporting you to your workplace or an event in the future. If you’re not in the headspace to converse properly, don’t volunteer to participate in the conversation. Disconnect from the virtual world and world that’s keeping you from enjoying the pleasure of a real life mundane small talk about laundry or work stories.
2. Enter Every Conversation Assuming That You Have Something To Learn
It’s the most important advice anyone could ever give you about communication. If you’re going to talk to your partner about an article or a new podcast. talk TO them and not AT them. Do not condescend. Don’t listen to them expressing their perspective about the issue at hand while planning your response to them. It won’t allow you to absorb anything more than you already know. It won’t help you grow and it certainly won’t help your partner feel understood. Thinking that you already know everything you need to is only going to make you obnoxious and no one wants to put up with that attitude. Your partner might hang on to you in spite of it, but not for too long. You have to let go all your pre-conceived notions about their intellect. It’s unfair to them. Ask them about their opinions, listen to them, disagree when need be, talk more and arrive at a consensus. You both will learn in this way.
3. Don’t Ask Questions When You’re Not Looking For An Answer
More often than not we ask questions not out of curiosity but to prove a point- it can be about our intellectual superiority, it can also be an attempt to seem curious. When you’re asking your partner about something to prove a point, it’s quite possible that they can see through your ulterior motive. Think about how that would make them feel. Think about how you would feel if they were trying to sabotage your inner self-image just to stroke their own ego. Do not lie to yourself. Asking questions when you already know the answers serves no other purpose except making yourself feel like the smarter one. Don’t engage in such narcissistic behaviour. It helps no one. When your partner would feel the need to ask someone about something that was bothering, you’d be the last person they’d call upon. Is that what you’d want for someone you love? To not be at their beck and call? To make them feel extreme discomfort just for simple things?
4. Do Not Interject With Inputs That Don’t Relate To The Current Matter Of Discussion
It makes the other person feel as though what they’ve been talking about is nothing but a ramble in the background of your head. As though what they’re speaking is utterly devoid of any meaning. Unless it’s a matter of emergency, interjections unrelated to what your partner is talking about are a display of lack of consideration and absence of genuine interest. Do not talk over them or cut them short or tell them that what they’re talking about is pointless. These are simple etiquettes that have lost value over generations. Disrespect is now shoved in our faces in the name of honesty. Propagating passive aggressiveness and rudeness under the garb of being blunt is a major flaw in our present society. It’s mighty simple, ask yourself this question- if you were at the receiving end of this mistreatment how would that make you feel?
5. Do Not Belittle Their Suffering
Words get imprinted in one’s memory. Bitter words get etched with utmost clarity. If you tell them, you’ve suffered worse things in life, it would make them feel small. If the one person you trust the most in the whole wide world makes you feel like a non-entity on the grounds that you haven’t suffered enough to mourn, it feels like slow poison. Not to mention, it’s a sign of emotional abuse. Most of what constitutes emotional abuse are words. Be careful with them. A simple- “I’m sorry that you had to go through that, I’m here for you”, can fix just about everything. Empathy always helps you communicate better. Help them recover from whatever bad time they’ve gone through instead of making them feel alone in their sadness. When they entered your relationship, they signed up for support and not apathy.