30 Communication Habits That Will Help Your Relationship Thrive

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communication
Communication is one of the easiest paths to relationship bliss. It's also easy to get off track.

16. Don't bottle anything up. Your feelings are like steam; If you let them all build up, they'll create enough pressure to make you blow your top. Instead, let the steam out little by little.

17. Don't be so quick to place blame. Finger-pointing sabotages the team dynamic that a successful relationship thrives on. Consider the roles that you, your partner and circumstances played; in any given situation, it's almost always a combination of the three. 

 

18. Express appreciation. Don't get into the habit of communicating only when there are problems. Communicate positive things too, like appreciation for something your partner did.

19. Learn to compromise. If you're not willing to give and take, negotations will break down pretty swiftly. Swallow your pride once in a while.

20. Say what you mean. Try not to dance around the point. If you're worried about things escalating, find a graceful way to say exactly what you mean. Using "I feel..." sentences is a good place to start.

21. Let your partner finish. Don't interrupt—remember, you should be listening anyway!

22. Don't shut down. It isn't fair to your partner or yourself for you to throw in the towel on communication. If you need a few hours or a few days to clear your head before talking about something, express that directly.

23. Be vulnerable. Expose weaknesses and insecurities if you feel them. It can be hard, but ultimately it will always bring you closer than you were before.

24. Use more sentences that begin with "I" and less that begin with "you". As mentioned previously, the best way to avoid placing blame or letting communication spiral out is to stick with what you yourself are feeling or thinking; No one can (or should) argue with that.

25. Talk face to face. Text, email and instant message are ubiquitous these days, but one thing they're not is a suitable replacement for in-person communication. Not even a phone call or Skype can duplicate that dynamic.

26. Don't assume. There's a reason a dialogue requires two people; You can never know what your partner is truly feeling unless she tells you. 

27. Don't bark orders. One-sided communication is a fallacy.

28. Don't manipulate emotions. It's fine to tell your partner he's making you feel upset, but it's another thing altogether to withhold your love during an argument or until you get your way.

29. Respect your partner's views. Like validating her feelings, respecting your partner's opinions or views—yes, even political ones—is paramount to healthy communication. Again, you don't have to agree; You just have to acknowledge and respect.

30 Say 'I love you'. These three words wield an enormous amount of power. Yes, there are ways to say it without saying it, but the hands-down most effective approach is to...say it. (And mean it!)