Effective Communication

Effective Communication
I recently made some curious observations about how difficult it seems to be for many couples to communicate with each other, regardless of how long they have been dating. It doesn’t take a dating genius to recognize that effective, open, and sincere communication is absolutely vital to the long-term viability of any relationship and yet, this is precisely the area with which both men and women seem to struggle the most.

Perhaps part of the problem lies in the fact that people generally have a misconception about what it means to communicate effectively. In order to genuinely communicate, it is often necessary to step outside of your comfort zone by making a conscious effort to actively open your heart, mind, and ears to what the other person is saying without trying to put your own spin on it. Unfortunately, this is a remarkably difficult thing to accomplish since people are usually far more self-centered than most are willing to admit. It is important, however, to keep in mind that each of us comes equipped with a highly subjective lens through which we construct our views of the world around us as well as our place within that world and how others may or may not fit into that picture.

The kind of communication that we are all so accustomed to is tragically superficial. Most people tend to do a lot more talking than listening and even when listening, the odds are that they are only partially listening since most of the time spent not talking will be mentally devoted to either preparing a response to key issues that were mentioned or simply thinking about things that are completely unrelated to the topic at hand. It seems that many people tend to operate under the assumption that getting one’s point across is the essence of communication. If you believe that relaying your point of view to someone else is all that it takes to communicate effectively, then of course you are not going to bother investing much effort into listening to how somebody else may be feeling or perceiving a given situation but it is precisely this type of mentality that will eventually lead to the kind of misunderstandings that cripple and very often devastate otherwise healthy relationships.

Effective communication is a skill that, if acquired, can prove to be an invaluable asset to your dating life as well as to your professional, familial and platonic relationships. Start improving your communication skills by implementing some of the tips below:

  • Be straightforward - If there is something on your mind, say so. Remember that others are not usually gifted in the mind reading department so if you are bothered by something that someone said or did (or in some cases what wasn’t said or done), then it is your responsibility to bring it up so that it can be resolved.

  • Be honest - Communication that is based on lies, manipulation and/or misinformation is not communication at all. Speak truthfully and make it clear that you expect others to be truthful with you.

  • Be objective - Try to step outside of your inherently subjective lens and instead, put yourself in the other person’s shoes.

  • Practice active listening - Make it a point to listen actively and intently to what the other person is saying.

  • Avoid blame - As tempting as it may be to point fingers at others for the way that we feel, doing so stands in the way of effective communication. It is okay to state how you feel but it is not okay to blame other people for those feelings. Take responsibility for your own emotions.

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