SAYREVILLE, N.J., April 24, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Only 18% of couples are satisfied with how they communicate with one another, according to a April 2020 report by The Knot and Lasting, a relationship health app. "When people are in close proximity for long enough, conflict is inevitable," says Brian J. Roberts, writer and lead researcher at Talking The Talk, a site dedicated to sharing easy, proven ways to communicate with anyone.
Recommendation 1: practice fighting fair. Couples are now 35% less likely to discuss their issues in a healthy way, according to the report. So now's the time to practice fighting fair. This means:
- No blaming
- Giving ultimatums
- Blasting someone with a cacophony of issues before bed
- Masking other feelings with anger
Instead, remember there are no winners or losers, that both of you have valid needs, and both of you can win. So work together.
Recommendation 2: practice listening. "If fighting fair is how you solve problems, listening is how you prevent them," says Roberts. "It builds trust, promotes transparency, forthright discussion, and reduces unnecessary conflict, anger and resentment."
But, most people pseudo-listen, which could be anything from:
- Rushing to judgement or applying labels
- Pretending to be interested or daydreaming while listening
- Filtering for what you want to hear
- Looking for weak points to use in your argument
- Or half listening to placate and not come off as difficult
Instead, listen intently to get an understanding of how your partner feels. "Summarize what you're hearing back to them until your partner feels validated and heard," says Roberts. "Then, agree on next steps to rectify the concern." And don't just do it with your words. Remove distractions, like your phone, and actively listen with your body, via eye contact and affirming.
Recommendation 3: avoid sending mixed messages. Most people share contaminated or partial messages, which are typically filled with:
- Negative comparisons.
- Attacks or attempts to open up old wounds
Instead, take inventory of your thoughts, observations, feelings and needs. Then put it all together and put it out there. "A partial or contaminated message is like a food fight. You're just flinging a tray at somebody," says Roberts. "A whole message is the opposite. It's putting everything on the tray and sliding it across the table so they can see the full platter–full spectrum– of how and why you're feeling what you're feeling."
SOURCE Talking The Talk