Communication is key for any relationship, whether it’s a business connection, romantic partnership, or simply a friendship. Effective communication is more important, though. Using effective communication techniques can reduce your number of misunderstandings and arguments. Take these tips from professionals into consideration!
Use “I” Instead of “You”
Instead of “you hurt me,” try saying “I’m hurt.” This small difference removes the blame and makes the conversation about you. People can argue about whether or not they did a certain thing, but no one can deny you your feelings! According to life coach Maddisen K Krown M.A., using “I” language enforces ownership, meaning that no one can take away your experiences. Try using it today!
Use The “DEARMAN” DBT Skill
Dialectical Behavior Therapy is a skills-based therapy that helps people reconnect with themselves and with others. There’s a whole module on interpersonal effectiveness – in other words, effective communication to maintain positive relationships. The “DEARMAN” skill helps us get what we want from other people while minimizing conflict. Using this method avoids blowups and ensures that you are assertive without being taken advantage of.
Don’t Bottle It Up
The sooner you discuss an issue you’re having, the easier it will be to communicate it. That’s because emotions won’t be as intense. Couples counsellor Rabbi Mark Wildes recommends bringing up issues as soon as you’ve discovered why another person’s actions bothered you. This will you to not only bring up the issue calmly, but you’ll be able to articulate why that person’s actions were a problem for you.
Listen Without Giving Advice
Unless someone is asking for advice, don’t give it! Sometimes, we just need someone to hear us out. Elizabeth Scott, MS provides some insight into why we give unwanted feedback. Some of her reasons include wanting to feel needed and simply being sick of someone’s venting. Instead of offering advice, try empathy. When your urge is to say “just dump him already,” replace that with “I can see how his actions would be upsetting.”
Use The “GIVE/FAST” DBT Skill
Here’s another Dialectical Behavior Therapy skill to add to your repertoire! The “GIVE” skill is focused on active listening and compassion, while the “FAST” skill talks about maintaining dignity during a conflict. Tips from the “FAST” skill include not apologising for things you haven’t done and sticking to your values. “GIVE” steps include being gentle with your responses and seeming interested in what the other person has to say (even if you aren’t).
Effective communication isn’t always easy, but it can become a habit with practice! These skills and tips will help you to build stronger relationships without sacrificing your self-respect in the process. What’s better than that?