25 Jan Healthy relationships: build them with communication
Communication is about sharing a part of who we are with another and then (drum roll, please) receiving a message back. (Yes, a two way street, since two people are communicating, right?) Think about it this way: communication is both informational and relational. When we communicate we convey both important information (i.e., “You have toothpaste on your nose.”), and how we feel about the person with whom we have the relationship (i.e., saying, “You have toothpaste on your nose,” in a kind way if you want a nice relationship versus in a mean and ridiculing way if you don’t really like someone).
Often when we are communicating in a relationship we are extremely focused on the relational aspect – HOW others are communicating with us (although we sometimes don’t pay enough attention to just how we are communicating with others). When you say something to your partner, you are not just waiting for the information in the response, but you are waiting to hear if he or she (pick one):
even heard you
thinks you are cool
finds you gross now
disagrees with you
_______ (you fill it in)
You can tell these things not only by what is said, but by how it is said. And if you are feeling insecure at all, you can often read into the smallest things and make them into something they are not. That’s why knowing yourself and feeling confident about your self is the first step to a healthy relationship!!
But, it’s completely natural to feel insecure at times, especially when you are in a new relationship at a young age. To make sure those insecure feelings don’t sabotage (meaning, ruin) your relationship, think about committing yourself to open communication. But don’t confuse “open communication” with non-stop talk such as “then the turtle peed on me, and the smell was awful and my mom grounded me after I had ramen noodles and peanut butter for dinner ….” Just openly communicate thoughts and feelings that you think are relevant to the health of the relationship.
telling your partner when something upsets you (pretty straight forward, right?)
asking for clarification when you are unsure about something (seems logical, no?)
communicating in a positive manner (hmmm… feeling stumped?)
Keep it a two-way street
Keeping it a two-way street means communicating in a positive manner by being mindful of your tone and not name-calling or assuming the worst in your partner. For instance…if your partner forgot to call you last night like she said she would, you could say, “You never called me last night! Why not? Don’t you care about me? How could you be so thoughtless? Were you with someone else last night?” Or you could say, “You never called me last night. Is everything okay with you? I really missed talking to you.”
(Holding your feelings in isn’t fair either. A partner can’t fix what he doesn’t know and he can’t read your mind. However, before you jump into a conversation about your feelings, take the time to process them so your communication feels like less of an effort.)
Communicating in a positive manner helps forge a healthy relationship, but it’s not a stand-alone principle. Other principles and practices of healthy relationships go hand-in-hand with it. Read on to learn more!