10 Ways To Improve the Way You Communicate

10 Ways To Improve the Way You Communicate

I’ve learned from past experience that while it is futile to try and change other people, we can take steps to improve the way we communicate with others. As we change our form of communication, we are putting out the fire instead of fueling it.
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We all love talking to people that get us. People that really listen to us, understand where we come from, laugh with us, cry with us, and just make us better people.

What we don't like is when the people we once trusted, once loved, turn their backs on us. We feel like we just can't communicate with them anymore, we can no longer relate to them. Every little conversation turns into an argument and as a result, we no longer want to be around these people anymore.

Are you in a situation like this? Where you have people in your life that you desire to be in a loving relationship with, and yet, you feel like this person is always against you.

But, I want you to be honest with yourself first. Do you have a role in 'fueling the fire?'

Not many of us like to evaluate the way we talk to others. We all would like to think we are great communicators, that it is the other party's fault for not getting us. While that can be true, I think we can all admit that we play a role in the way others respond to us.

When we get into arguments with people, we don’t really take the time to hear what they are really trying to say behind all of their words, tones, and comments. Instead, we like to retaliate with our own frustrated, angry, and hurtful remarks. This sparks contention, and unless the fire is extinguished, the flames will only continue to burn and sever the relationship ties we once had with our loved ones.

I’ve learned from past experience that while it is futile to try and change other people, we can't give up on them, and we can't give up on ourselves. We can take steps to improve the way we communicate with the people we are in relationships with. As we change the way we communicate with others, we are putting out the fire instead of fueling it.

Here are 10 important ways you can improve the way you communicate with your loved ones:

  1. Don’t be quick to criticize.
  2. Enter every conversation with humility knowing that you don’t know how that person feels, and you’re coming to hear them out. Why even bother talking someone if you’re only trying to say your own point? Communication starts with listening.
  3. Choose to use words that lift that person up instead of putting them down. Don't use conversations as a way of tearing someone down, even if you’re upset and hurt by them.
  4. Don’t repeat information. If you feel like someone isn’t getting what you’re saying, it won’t help by being repetitive. When you do, you're just giving them the excuse you to mentally shut you out. Instead of repeating yourself, try asking them questions about what they are feeling or thinking about what you are trying to get across.
  5. While the other person is talking to you, don't try to be defensive. If you spend all of your energy being defensive, you won't really be listening to the other person. All you will be doing is thinking about how to respond to them instead of being present and actively listening.
  6. Make the conscious effort to turn towards the person instead of turning away. The more you try running away from the problem, the worse it becomes.
  7. Seek to understand instead of seeking to be understood. Come into conversations with true genuineness. Look past their faults, because truth be told, you have faults too. You are there to talk because you love that person and you want to your relationship with them to heal.
  8. Don’t treat conversations like a competition. You are not here to win an argument, and even if you do 'win' the argument, you've just burned an important bridge in your relationship that can cost you your relationship with that person.
  9. Don't try to rush through conversations. Good things take time. When you are in a rush, you are not giving yourself the space and time to be vulnerable. If you cannot be vulnerable about how you feel first, then how can the other person be vulnerable with you? Vulnerability brings people together, so please carve out a space and time where you and the other party can be vulnerable with each other. Be the first person to step out in vulnerability.
  10. People don’t care about what you know - they want to know how much you care. Are you showing you care for that person with both your words and actions? Remember, you need both to sustain a healthy relationship.

It is not always going to be easy to do all of the above, but I can assure you that if you make small changes now, it gets easier. You'll start becoming a person that people will love to be around. Your words can be empowered to serve a very special purpose - by building up the people up around you.

Cover Image Credit: https://racheldangerw.files.wordpress.com/2011/06/couple-talking-on-couch.jpg

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8 Reasons Why My Dad Is the Most Important Man In My Life

Forever my number one guy.
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Growing up, there's been one consistent man I can always count on, my father. In any aspect of my life, my dad has always been there, showing me unconditional love and respect every day. No matter what, I know that my dad will always be the most important man in my life for many reasons.

1. He has always been there.

Literally. From the day I was born until today, I have never not been able to count on my dad to be there for me, uplift me and be the best dad he can be.

2. He learned to adapt and suffer through girly trends to make me happy.

I'm sure when my dad was younger and pictured his future, he didn't think about the Barbie pretend pageants, dressing up as a princess, perfecting my pigtails and enduring other countless girly events. My dad never turned me down when I wanted to play a game, no matter what and was always willing to help me pick out cute outfits and do my hair before preschool.

3. He sends the cutest texts.

Random text messages since I have gotten my own cell phone have always come my way from my dad. Those randoms "I love you so much" and "I am so proud of you" never fail to make me smile, and I can always count on my dad for an adorable text message when I'm feeling down.

4. He taught me how to be brave.

When I needed to learn how to swim, he threw me in the pool. When I needed to learn how to ride a bike, he went alongside me and made sure I didn't fall too badly. When I needed to learn how to drive, he was there next to me, making sure I didn't crash.

5. He encourages me to best the best I can be.

My dad sees the best in me, no matter how much I fail. He's always there to support me and turn my failures into successes. He can sit on the phone with me for hours, talking future career stuff and listening to me lay out my future plans and goals. He wants the absolute best for me, and no is never an option, he is always willing to do whatever it takes to get me where I need to be.

6. He gets sentimental way too often, but it's cute.

Whether you're sitting down at the kitchen table, reminiscing about your childhood, or that one song comes on that your dad insists you will dance to together on your wedding day, your dad's emotions often come out in the cutest possible way, forever reminding you how loved you are.


7. He supports you, emotionally and financially.

Need to vent about a guy in your life that isn't treating you well? My dad is there. Need some extra cash to help fund spring break? He's there for that, too.

8. He shows me how I should be treated.

Yes, my dad treats me like a princess, and I don't expect every guy I meet to wait on me hand and foot, but I do expect respect, and that's exactly what my dad showed I deserve. From the way he loves, admires, and respects me, he shows me that there are guys out there who will one day come along and treat me like that. My dad always advises me to not put up with less than I deserve and assures me that the right guy will come along one day.

For these reasons and more, my dad will forever be my No. 1 man. I love you!

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Why The Idea Of 'No Politics At The Dinner Table' Takes Place And Why We Should Avoid It

When did having a dialogue become so rare?

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Why has the art of civilized debate and conversation become unheard of in daily life? Why is it considered impolite to talk politics with coworkers and friends? Expressing ideas and discussing different opinions should not be looked down upon.

I have a few ideas as to why this is our current societal norm.

1. Politics is personal.

Your politics can reveal a lot about who you are. Expressing these (sometimes controversial) opinions may put you in a vulnerable position. It is possible for people to draw unfair conclusions from one viewpoint you hold. This fosters a fear of judgment when it comes to our political beliefs.

Regardless of where you lie on the spectrum of political belief, there is a world of assumption that goes along with any opinion. People have a growing concern that others won't hear them out based on one belief.

As if a single opinion could tell you all that you should know about someone. Do your political opinions reflect who you are as a person? Does it reflect your hobbies? Your past?

The question becomes "are your politics indicative enough of who you are as a person to warrant a complete judgment?"

Personally, I do not think you would even scratch the surface of who I am just from knowing my political identification.

2. People are impolite.

The politics themselves are not impolite. But many people who wield passionate, political opinion act impolite and rude when it comes to those who disagree.

The avoidance of this topic among friends, family, acquaintances and just in general, is out of a desire to 'keep the peace'. Many people have friends who disagree with them and even family who disagree with them. We justify our silence out of a desire to avoid unpleasant situations.

I will offer this: It might even be better to argue with the ones you love and care about, because they already know who you are aside from your politics, and they love you unconditionally (or at least I would hope).

We should be having these unpleasant conversations. And you know what? They don't even need to be unpleasant! Shouldn't we be capable of debating in a civilized manner? Can't we find common ground?

I attribute the loss of political conversation in daily life to these factors. 'Keeping the peace' isn't an excuse. We should be discussing our opinions constantly and we should be discussing them with those who think differently.

Instead of discouraging political conversation, we should be encouraging kindness and understanding. That's how we will avoid the unpleasantness that these conversations sometimes bring.

By avoiding them altogether, we are doing our youth a disservice because they are not being exposed to government, law, and politics, and they are not learning to deal with people and ideas that they don't agree with.

Next Thanksgiving, talk politics at the table.

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