It isn’t uncommon for folks to seek out relationship therapy to discuss ways to improve their communication within their marriage, with their children, or even in the workplace. We have outlined three tips to help you get on the right track, improve your communication, allow for increased depth and overall satisfaction in your relationships.
- State your feeling. Easy enough right? When we articulate what it is that we are feeling, we are able to get right to the heart of the matter. Does this sound too “emotion” based for you? That’s okay too. Just state what is going on for you in the moment. Examples include, “I feel frustrated…., I feel like I need space…..I am angry…..etc.
- What is this feeling about? Acknowledging your feeling is a great start, but its not over. It’s important to articulate what your feeling is about. This step is crucial in making the communication less “personal” We often state things like, “I get so mad when you don’t unload the dishwasher” While this might be true, it doesn’t allow for easy, brief, communication that is quickly resolved. Many times each person leaves feeling more frustrated and resentful than when they started. Try taking the other person out of the situation all together. “I feel frustrated because there are dishes in the sink” is a simple example of this.
- I need….What can be done to help resolve the emotional need at this point? State what you need to move forward. Sometimes this may be an actual task the other person can choose to perform, while other times it is tuning into an emotion. Regardless, when we expect our partner in communication to be a mind reader, we will consistently be underwhelmed. Let them know what you need to move forward, be clear, specific, and direct. To use the same example as above: “I feel frustrated when there is a sink full of dishes, I need to make sure we come up with a plan to stay on top of the dishes.”
Try these three tricks to help increase positive commutation in your relationships. Stay tuned for more from tricks of the trade from two marriage and family therapists.