4. You say things to hurt the other person or make them feel badly.
If you’d like to cultivate your ability to communicate authentically, I have these suggestions:
1. Be present to what the other person is saying. That means listening to their words and their nonverbal communication. It means not formulating your response while they’re still talking.
2. Pause before responding. Take a couple of seconds to notice how you feel about what they said, and to decide what you want to say.
3. Be honest and kind. Thank them for their openness, and let them know how you felt about what they said. If you have something else to say, do so after acknowledging what they said first.
In arguments, there are many other tools you can use. I’ll write about them next time. For all other conversations about your feelings, these three tips are a good start. It may feel awkward at first, but keep practicing until it becomes second nature.