Your Relationships: Communication

Every relationship we have uses communication to flourish, whether that communication is verbal or nonverbal. We communicate our wants and needs. We show how we care for those who are important to us.

A lack of communication, however, can tear down relationships in an instant. That’s why it’s important to keep those lines of communication open. If a relationship is already severed or damaged, reopening those lines can be the key to repairing the damage.

Evaluate your relationships, particular those that you want to change or repair. How are your lines of communication? Are you able to speak freely? Is there tension? Now think about the relationships you want to have with those people. Is it possible to sit down with them and discuss your concerns, your wishes, your hopes? Are there perhaps situations that may have been misread, or misunderstandings or miscommunications that caused a break in the relationship? Would discussing those situations help heal the damage?

Once you’ve made the decision to open lines of communication, think about your approach. Appearing too confrontational can cause additional strain. The purpose is to express your thoughts and emotions, but attacking the person you’re communicating with doesn’t solve anything. Instead, think about what you want to say, pause before saying anything, and try to stay calm.

On the flipside, holding back how you really feel can cause resentment or frustration. Just going along with whatever he or she says doesn’t solve anything, either – and may cause more damage as you keep your real emotions bottled up inside, ready to explode. Take a deep breath, formulate your thoughts, and express yourself. You might be surprised at the results.

Even in relationships that aren’t strained, having regular conversations to discuss your wants and needs can help keep those relationships healthy. It can also help move your relationship forward. For example, when I was anxious to start a family, I talked about it with my husband to see how he was feeling. I wanted to make sure he was ready to try, too. We discussed fears, concerns, desires, and ultimately decided to start trying. But if we hadn’t had that conversation (those conversations, actually), we never would have gotten to that point. We needed to communicate to know we were on the same page, that we wanted the same things. Even in less important matters, this is critical. Without communication, we would never know how the other person was thinking, feeling, or reading a situation. And that information is key to keeping your relationships healthy.

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