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.

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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To The Friends I Won't Talk To After High School

I sincerely hope, every great quality I saw in you, was imprinted on the world.


So, for the last four years I’ve seen you almost everyday. I’ve learned about your annoying little brother, your dogs and your crazy weekend stories. I’ve seen you rock the awful freshman year fashion, date, attend homecoming, study for AP tests, and get accepted into college.

Thank you for asking me about my day, filling me in on your boy drama and giving me the World History homework. Thank you for complimenting my outfits, laughing at me presenting in class and listening to me complain about my parents. Thank you for sending me your Quizlets and being excited for my accomplishments- every single one of them. I appreciate it all because I know that soon I won’t really see you again. And that makes me sad. I’ll no longer see your face every Monday morning, wave hello to you in the hallways or eat lunch with you ever again. We won't live in the same city and sooner or later you might even forget my name.

We didn’t hang out after school but none the less you impacted me in a huge way. You supported my passions, stood up for me and made me laugh. You gave me advice on life the way you saw it and you didn’t have to but you did. I think maybe in just the smallest way, you influenced me. You made me believe that there’s lots of good people in this world that are nice just because they can be. You were real with me and that's all I can really ask for. We were never in the same friend group or got together on the weekends but you were still a good friend to me. You saw me grow up before your eyes and watched me walk into class late with Starbucks every day. I think people like you don’t get enough credit because I might not talk to you after high school but you are still so important to me. So thanks.

With that said, I truly hope that our paths cross one day in the future. You can tell me about how your brothers doing or how you regret the college you picked. Or maybe one day I’ll see you in the grocery store with a ring on your finger and I’ll be so happy you finally got what you deserved so many guys ago.

And if we ever do cross paths, I sincerely hope you became everything you wanted to be. I hope you traveled to Italy, got your dream job and found the love of your life. I hope you have beautiful children and a fluffy dog named Charlie. I hope you found success in love before wealth and I hope you depended on yourself for happiness before anything else. I hope you visited your mom in college and I hope you hugged your little sister every chance you got. She’s in high school now and you always tell her how that was the time of your life. I sincerely hope, every great quality I saw in you, was imprinted on the world.

And hey, maybe I’ll see you at the reunion and maybe just maybe you’ll remember my face. If so, I’d like to catch up, coffee?



Cover Image Credit: High school Musical

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American Or Christian?

Can you really be both?


This is a thought that has lingered in my mind for a very long time.

Personally, I hate news and politics. It's depressing and it seems like both parties (and people in general) just don't get it. Political conversation gets on my ever-loving nerves and literally gets me down in the dumps for the day.

I just simply don't watch it anymore. There is too much negativity.

That doesn't mean that I am uniformed. I am not advocating for ignorance or anything like that. I prefer to read and figure out my information from sites "in the middle."

As I was eating dinner with my wife the other day we started talking about the new Abortion laws in Alabama and Georgia. As a Christ-follower and a staunch defender of Biblical inerrant, I detest abortion.

Before you read any farther, you must understand something: This article is not about my defense of my beliefs regarding hot topics like abortion or homosexuality. I do not have the time to write about said topics now. I am just asking you to accept what I believe for the sake of the article.

But, anyway, these abortion bills. I can make a pretty good case that they are Constitutional because they are protecting the Life (one of the Rights given to American Citizens) from others. Yes, I know the arguments against said point but continue with me please.

This led our conversation to talk about Homosexual marriage, something that I am against as well. And not just because of Leviticus but because of the New Testament as well.

But, shaking my head, I said something that my wife seemed to agree with:

"As a Christian, I know it's wrong and I cannot agree with it. As an American, I see no reason why it should be illegal. Unless your choices infringe someone's Rights, you should be free to do what you wish (technically speaking)."

This is my dilemma. Well, actually it's not a dilemma. I know that I am a Christian before I am an American. I love this country greatly, and I know how blessed I am to be born here. For all the hate this country gets (and some of it is deserved) and all the problems we have (and we have a lot), we are shoulders above other countries in many ways. I am so thankful for all the men and women who have served to protect me and keep me safe. I'm thankful for a lot of things. And I am proud to be an American.

But my identity in Christ comes first. This is why I do not get into politics much. I don't really care at the end of the day. Because while America has been blessed, we still have work to do here. And this is not my forever home. This is not where I will spend eternity.

I try and respect everyone's opinions, and I earnestly try to love everyone, even when they trash and disrespect my beliefs and convictions. But I must put my call to Christ about anything that has to do with this nation. I will pray for ALL our leaders because I was told to do so (I prayed for President Obama when he was in office). And I will be here to support this nation. But I cannot put it above Christ's commands.

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