This International Women’s day, I thought about addressing one of the main dilemmas, we, as women in the Indian culture, face on a daily basis; Effective communication within a relationship.
Most of us have multiple relationships in the course of our lives; Parents, Spouse, Children, Friends, Colleagues, Relatives, Acquaintances,… and the list goes on. Communication in an effective manner is the key to a successful and healthy relationship.
Effective Communication Pointers
Listening is a forgotten skill. The main goal of this activity is to develop an appreciation for the other individual’s perspective. In other words, consciously working towards understanding where that perspective is stemming from and not just being a part of a dialogue, only for the purpose of replying. Effective listening can make the other party feel heard and this, in turn, can promote effective two-way communication.
2. Say NO to bottling everything inside
Research has shown that women are more likely to avoid expressing their feelings in cases where there are high chances of hurting the other person’s feelings. Not expressing what’s happening in one’s mind is one of the biggest obstacles in the road towards effective communication. Clearly communicating one’s thoughts and feelings can save oneself from a lot of unnecessary emotional baggage.
3. ‘I would like you to…’ is the new alternative to ‘shoulds/musts’ and ‘buts’
Paraphrasing negative sentences to positive sentences can take you a long way. A big part in any relationship is; how to communicate in a relationship is keeping the tone positive and supportive with your partner. Start by deleting “But”. “But” is a hazardous word with huge consequences. In a way, ‘but’ actually cancels out what the other individual originally said. For example, instead of, “But you should know how I feel”, try paraphrasing it to, “I would like you to please hear me out on this.”
4. Focus on the issue at hand and not on what happened last month.
We, as humans, have a tendency to think more about what happened in the past and also live in the world of ‘what if!’. What if I had said this then, what if I had done that. It will be beneficial to all if we make conscious efforts to stay in the present and communicate about what is happening currently, in the present as opposed to what happened in the last week/month.
5. Do mundane tasks together
Simple tasks such as making a grocery list together, cleaning together, cooking together, can all be ways of sharing space and time and actually making the other individual a part of your daily life. With these small initiatives, we can help create better bonds.
Click here to know more about your own cognitive structuring and how understanding these can significantly improve your communication skills.