Communicating Effectively Can Make Or Break A Relationship
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Communicating Effectively Can Make Or Break A Relationship

Communicating during hard conversations is tough stuff, but it is almost always what will make or break a relationship.

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Communicating Effectively Can Make Or Break A Relationship
Julie Myers


Everyone loves to talk. It's our favorite thing without argument to do. We love interacting and connecting with other people. We love sharing our thoughts, whether that be through social media or through actual dialect, and will jump at any chance we can to do so. We will talk about politics, the weather, and unfortunately even others. We will talk about new TV shows and fashion trends and what celebrities are up to, as well as new artists and albums. We will talk about future goals and money and businesses and really anything that comes up. We can talk for hours about nothing and days about everything. Yet it always seems like everyone seems to shut down when it's the most important time to speak up.

In this case, I'm referring to relationships.

It seems that when we get frustrated with our significant other, we stop talking. We throw up our hands and walk away from the person, out of the room, and sometimes even out of that location entirely. Sometimes this is even a permanent dismissal, one that doesn't end with hugs and kisses and exchanged I love you's, but instead no calls, no texts, and no more relationship. In some cases, walking away is the right thing to do, such as in toxic or abusive relationships, but to be clear those are not the ones I am referring to here.

I'm referring to an average relationship.

Too many times the reason people break up and walk away is because they never learned how to communicate. They never learned what it was like to sit down across from someone that they might disagree with and figure out exactly where the misunderstanding is occurring. There is never a conversation that happens where one person says, "I don't agree with you. These are my thoughts. This is what it sounds like you're telling me. I don't know if the way I'm taking it is what you mean, and you may not mean it that way, but this is how I'm taking it and I would like clarification."

And yes, I said a conversation.

And yes, I would like to really emphasize the fact that I didn't say, "What you're saying is not what I think you're saying, so you're wrong."

Again, it is a conversation. It's non-accusatory. It's saying to someone else that you very well could be taking it the wrong way, but that doesn't mean that you are wrong for taking it that way, because you're not. Someone else doesn't get to determine how you interpret something any more than you get to determine how they interpret something. Think of how many different lines in the Bible have been taken out of context. Think of how many times you have accidentally said something in passing that offended a friend or someone you know when you didn't intend for it to. Think of how many videos where if one line is pulled from it, it has a totally different meaning than watching the whole clip. Think of every time you were in any English class ever where your teacher tells you you're supposed to interpret it one way, but you couldn't even tell that was even a thought until after she mentioned it.

It's the same thing with these types of conversations.

They could be saying one thing and meaning one thing, but you could be hearing something else entirely. It's like that "yanny vs. laurel" trick. Some people get it one way it is being said, like your significant other, and others may hear something else, like you. You aren't wrong for taking it one way because that is what you are hearing. However, it may not be what is being said. Both sides just have to listen and hear what the other is saying because odds are you're on the same page and just didn't know it.

However, to get there, you have to talk and keep talking. You have to talk through the parts where you're so frustrated that they just don't seem to get what you're saying. You also have to have patience and be listening all the while. You have to listen and be sure you're being listened to. Feelings are flimsy but they are valid and they can go away just as easily as they came with the right words being said. You will never get to the point of understanding how to reassure your significant other and them reassuring you though in the way it's needed unless you get through the nitty-gritty time and time again.

Which brings me to my next point: resolution.

Never, and I repeat NEVER, go to bed angry. Don't carry today's problems into tomorrow. Sit down and talk it out for as long as it takes until you reach a resolution. The second you stop talking before the argument ends (and it only ends when there is a resolution on both sides) you're setting yourself up for it to come up again. If you stop talking and just pout in the corner, hoping for it to stop because you're frustrated and don't want to deal with it anymore, then I can almost guarantee it'll come up again down the road. If you talk about it until you have reassured every issue, until you have figured out a solution that is going to stop the problem where it is or what will help should the issue come up again that both of you are happy with through compromise and communication, then the issue is solved. You have communicated effectively. You have learned about your significant other, the way they think, what they need to hear, and solutions that will make them happy. In the end, they have learned the same thing about you.

Patience is a virtue, and it is one that is immensely important to communicate well. It is SO hard not to raise your voice when you're angry or frustrated or you feel like you're cornered or you're being accused of something that you would never do or when you're hurt that they might think that of you. Just take a second, breathe, and respond with a, "Honey what's the matter?" Realize that they aren't trying to attack you, they are probably just hurt by a misunderstanding – a "Well it SEEMS like that even though I know you wouldn't do that". What it looks like isn't what it is, and you must understand their viewpoint even if it isn't an accurate representation of who you are (side note: if it isn't, then you may want to rethink what will be a more accurate representation of who you are for the future).

Don't get me wrong, that one is so hard.

It's very hard to not get frustrated when your words aren't landing how you mean them to. It's very hard not to get upset when it feels like your character is in question, even though it isn't. It's hard to keep calm when you're hurt. However, if you can talk through it with calm voices, there is a better chance the other side will be willing to hear you versus pushing their own agenda. Gentle words can calm flames. Plus, just knowing that someone cares about you enough to stay calm and watch their words and reassure you, even in the worst of times, of how much they love you versus getting offended is VERY comforting. It's harder to stay mad.

Communicating during the hard conversations is tough stuff, but it is almost always what will make or break a relationship. Tell them what you need. Tell them how you feel. Tell them how it seems. Tell them you're sorry. Tell them how much they mean to you. Tell them about how much they're appreciated and all the things they do right that you love. Tell them it's you two versus the problems. Tell them you're in it for the long haul and you aren't backing away because of a silly argument. Tell them you love them. Words are powerful, so use them most in the worst of times.

Tell them. Communicate.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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