Feature by Simran Bharadwaj
Image via Freepik
If you are in a relationship, chances are you have had your fair share of arguments. Conflicts in relationships are normal and maybe even healthy. However, there are signs to recognize poor communication as well as tips and tricks to help improve poor communication.
How to recognize poor communication
Passive aggressive behavior:
Individuals who express passive aggressive behavior might feel angry or frustrated while exhibiting neutral or pleasant behavior. Partners might drop hints about how they are feeling through passive comments. For example, if an individual is annoyed about a partner constantly being late, they might joke about their partner’s punctuality.
Bottling up feelings:
Partners might ignore issues that bother them until they pile up resulting in an explosion of all the things that have angered them in the past even if that is not what the present argument is about. You might find yourself acting like everything is okay in an effort to avoid a fight, while still being angry about something from the past.
There are various forms of aggressive speech including yelling, pointing blame, and controlling a conversation. Partners may use aggressive speech to dominate the conversation and try to prove their point of view.
If you notice toxic communication patterns that you are exhibiting or that your partner is consistently using, there are methods you can use to avoid these patterns and communicate more effectively and openly.
How to improve poor communication
Using “I” statements can be helpful when trying to express what you are feeling. They can help with avoiding accusatory statements that make your partner feel attacked. For example, “I feel like you are spending too much time with your friends” is less accusatory than “you are always spending time with your friends.”
In conjunction with “I” statements, active listening can help your partner feel heard while also conveying your point of view. Body language can be key to active listening through looking at your partner instead of turning away or trying to do other things at the same time. Allow for your partner to express their views or concerns without interrupting or jumping in to defend yourself. Create space for both of you to speak.
Process your feelings:
It is not always the worst thing to step away from a fight and understand how you are feeling first. This can help to avoid saying things that you do not mean in the midst of a heated argument. Allow for your partner to do the same. Taking time to stay in control of your emotions can help with miscommunication.