Communication is a fundamental piece of any relationship, whether it’s a romantic partnership, a parent-child relationship, or a friendship. But for some people, open communication doesn’t come naturally and must be learned.
Below, you’ll find an explanation of why communication is so important in relationships, as well as tips and strategies for improving your communication skills. We’ll also provide resources for getting professional help if you need it.
Why is good communication so important?
No matter how close you are with a person, it’s impossible to read each other’s minds. If something is bothering one of you, the other person may not have any idea unless you share it with them.
Even if you have a happy and fulfilling relationship, there will be times when one of you is upset. It may not even have anything to do with the other person, but the unspoken issue could end up casting shadows on your relationship.
When you speak openly and clearly about troubles that you’re having, you can work together on the problem instead of facing it yourself. At the same time, you’ll show your partner, friend, or family member that you trust them and value their input.
For those reasons, communication is necessary for a successful relationship. It’s the only way to know one another on a deeper level and break down barriers between you and the other person.
How to communicate effectively
So how do you communicate in a healthy way — especially if it doesn’t come naturally to you? There are a few tips and strategies that you can employ to open up and share your feelings honestly. With some practice, you should find that it gets easier to communicate — as long as your partner is understanding and willing to hear about your concerns and struggles.
Here are three tips to improve your communication skills.
- Choose the right time and place. When you’re in an argument, you might not be in the right headspace to communicate your feelings clearly. You might also say or do something that you don’t mean. Instead, try to pick a time and place when both of you have a clear mind and can truly listen to each other. If you need, schedule a conversation in advance, so you have time to prepare your thoughts.
- Listen to the other person. So far, we’ve mainly focused on how to get your feelings across to another person. However, listening to someone else’s fears, concerns, and thoughts is just as important. Try to allow your loved one to share everything on their mind without getting upset or attacking them.
- Recognise that you’re in this together. Remember that you’re a team, and you’re stronger when you tackle issues together. In many cases, the other person can help you brainstorm and develop constructive solutions to the problem so that you don’t feel so alone.
Even with the right mindset and strategies, communication is still difficult for some people. If that’s the case, it’s a good idea to seek out professional help.
At WAYS Youth & Family, we offer counselling services for individuals and families that need assistance with relationships, mental health, substance abuse, and more.
Learn more about WAYS and how we can help you develop effective communication skills.