Effective communication is a way that individuals can insure that the needs, wants and desires that they are expressing are being understood and comprehended by their partner. Some of the keys to improving not only communication, but your overall relationship is to say what you mean and make your feelings and needs clear at all times. Real time feedback is important for two main reasons, the first being that your partner isn’t equipped to be able to read your mind and likely has no idea what you are thinking or feeling. Relaying this information gives them an insight into what you are experiencing, which can invoke action on their part. The second reason that real time feedback is essential is that if you contain feelings and emotions inside, this could lead to anger or frustration down the road that could have been easily avoided.
That being said, there are many ways in which individuals can communicate; with words, touching, visual cues, expressions and gestures. Not everyone has the same communication preferences or picks up on each format in the same way. It is important that you take the time to figure out how your partner best receives and interprets the information that you are relaying to them. Active listening is also required on your part. Have you been picking up on all the subtle things that your partner has been trying to communicate to you? They could be sending information that you are not picking up and vis versa, leading to miscommunication and misunderstanding.
The danger in miscommunication is that you can miss the opportunity to build trust and intimacy and feel frustrated in the relationship with your partner. If you think your messages are not being clearly understood, take a moment to sit down with your significant other and express this concern, with sincerity and respect.
To make this personal, I thought I would share an experience that happened while I began researching this topic and writing this post. I had been dating this girl for a month or so and things were going great; we got along well, had compatible traits and shared similar interests. I had developed feelings but neither of us had ever communicated how we felt about each other, so I took the opportunity to make myself vulnerable, put my feelings out there and share my mind and heart.
We went and got ice cream on a Sunday evening and sat outside talking together at a table. I started looking for a perfect opportunity to begin this discussion but also was afraid that I might mess up something that was going well. After all, there was only a few ways this could go; well, in-different or bad, but didn’t I owe it to myself and to her to share? I took this as a chance to build trust and intimacy, as described above.
After what seemed like an eternity, I finally mustered up the courage to start the conversation. I was very nervous but I told her that I had really enjoyed our time over the past several weeks, named the various traits & values that she possessed that I found attractive and that I had developed strong feelings. She took it well and quickly responded with a question, “Would you like to be exclusive?”. I was very relieved to hear these words and excited to hear that she felt the same way. My large risk was met with an even greater reward, the possibility of a exclusive relationship.
I firmly believe that communicating feelings and what is on your mind is the best way to approach life, in all sorts of relationships. So, the next time you have something on your mind, or are feeling a particular way, open yourself up and be vulnerable. I challenge you to try it.