In The Series of Articles On Communication article 5
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In The Series of Articles On Communication article 5
Stumbling Blocks to Good Communication
In the preceding pages, we’ve discussed what makes for good communication. But just as important are the things that are stumbling blocks for good communication. Here are eight communication hang ups to avoid.
1.) Don’t jump to conclusions
2.) Don’t be defensive
3.) Don’t be aggressive
4.) Don’t argue just for the sake of argument
5.) Don’t take an adversarial attitude
6.) Don’t rain on your partner’s parade when they have good news
7.) Don’t prophesy doom and gloom.
8.) Don’t play games.
What You Should Tell Your Partner
If you have a good relationship, you should be able to tell your partner almost anything with the key word being “almost.” You should avoid cruelty in your relationship and if disclosure will lead to pain, it is not a valuable communication tool.
This is not to say you should hide your real feelings or hide your real interests and intentions. Remember, playing games is one of the destructive communication habits couples fall into.
But, you should stop and ask yourself why you are saying something. If it is to get it off your chest or alleviate guilt for something you wish you hadn’t done, your partner may not need to know it. Only share if the communication will strengthen the relationship rather than drive a wedge between you.
If telling your partner will boost your own ego at the expense of your partners, don’t say it.
This issue comes up when there has been an affair. If you’ve had a none-night stand, what is to be gained by speaking up? It will only serve to hurt the other person.
If you feel that a secret that will hurt your partner does need to be shared, be compassionate about how and when you speak. Do what you can to mitigate your partner’s pain.
What to Do When One Partner Won’t Talk
The stereotype is that women will talk about anything any time anywhere while men keep everything to themselves. A man is often described as the “strong silent type” whereas a common description of a woman is a “chatterbox.” While these stereotypes are often flipped, there is enough basis in reality for them to exist.
For more than 25 years, the Virginia Slim’s polls have showed that a major complaint women have about me is that they don’t talk about their feelings. However, some men today have started to complain about how women have closed up.
It sounds so simple to “just talk about it” but when one partner won’t talk, communication breaks down.
Getting your partner to open up and share his feelings can take time and trust. You can speed along the process by talking about yourself first. Don’t feel shut out or hurt when he doesn’t talk. Recognize that he might not be used to sharing. Unless his silence is a weapon, there is not an intrinsic problem but rather a matter of styles.
One way to get a partner to open up is to ask him what he thinks rather than what he feels. Using this language is less threatening to many men.
Another practice is to use the four A’s to get him to open up: Accept, Accommodate, Appreciate, and Agree. This means that you accept the way your mate is. You chose him and he is what he is. Accommodate him by making changes in yourself that are more ain alignment with your partner by approaching him with a more positive attitude, showing him by example how you like to be spoken to, and learning to communicate in other ways including touch. Appreciate him by giving positive reinforcement for the behaviors (including sharing) that you like. Finally, when your mate is in a receptive mood, find common grounds for agreement.
What if you are the one who doesn’t find it easy to talk? There are strategies that you can employ to open up communication in your relationship.
• Reassure your more talkative mate that you are not withholding on purpose but have trouble expressing yourself. Ask him or her to be patient with you.
• Examine your own fears about talking. Have you been burned in the past? Do you distrust people with your personal information?
• Was there a triggering event in your childhood that made you think silence was the best policy? Are you modeling the behavior of one of your parents? Were you criticized for your opinions and felt that keeping quiet was a defense mechanism?
• Are you naturally shy? If so, practice things that make you feel more confident about what you have to say. You can admit to being shy and still take a risk and say it anyway.
• Simply practice talking. If you have to, watch the news and practice talking about current events in the mirror. When you hear yourself tell a story, it makes it easier to tell it to someone else.
• Try to express one feeling in response to something your mate says every day. If he tells about a success at work, say “I’m happy for you.” If she tells you that she didn’t pick up your laundry like she agreed to, tell her you are frustrated about that.
Article 6 in this series on “Communication” will pick up on “Talking About Sex”. read more Love advice blog
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