12 Communication Tips
1–Believe that the other person wants the best for you, as much as you want the best for them. This helps us pause before reacting because if they want the best for you and you want the best for them, then what you think went down probably isn’t as bad as it seems.
2–Approach with Empathy – that is, approach with understanding, or wanting to understand the other person’s perspective. Empathy doesn’t mean you agree, it means you show respect and a willingness to understand. Empathy takes our eyes off our own hurts and considers the other person. Even in our hurt we need to choose love. (This is probably the hardest of all these tips!)
3–Take turns – some people use a prop like a ‘listening stick’ to show who is speaking and who is listening. A listening stick can be a pen, handkerchief, or anything in your pocket or handbag at the time! Take turns to speak and listen, but listen 100% don’t be formulating your comeback response. Listen to understand not defend yourself.
4–Reflective listening – Once you’ve listened, tell back what you are hearing or understanding to check if you’ve got it right. Ask questions so you understand.
5–Use “I” statements – speak about your own feelings and situations instead of pointing the finger. You can mention things that the other person does, but only in the context of your response/reaction to it.
6–Don’t exaggerate – Never use phrases like “never” and “always” and “only ever” – you’ll always be wrong. (Did you see what I did there?)
7– Be specific, but don’t rehash stuff you’ve forgiven.
8–Watch your tone as much as you choose your words. Tone is as important as the words we use – our tone is often a reflection of our attitude. Fix our attitude before we start talking
9–Acknowledge it is a two way thing – there are two sides to the story – and it is going to be two sides to work on it.
10– Accept personal responsibility for your part in the problem but don’t play the victim or martyr. This takes a deep dive into our heart to be honest and vulnerable. Have we truly handled this situation the best?
11–Deal with one issue – don’t hop from one issue to another. Stay focused on the issue at hand; if another pops up write down and talk about it another day.
12—Choose your time wisely. Make sure you’ve chosen a time where both of you can give this issue the time necessary. Having to walk away to deal with something else, or being too tired to focus is not productive to restoring your relationship. That being said, the idea of ‘don’t let the sun go down on your anger’ – at least acknowledge your desire to get it sorted, and make a plan when.
Talking when there has been hurt isn’t about blaming or getting even but rather moving forward. An older couple said to us once that before you go into such a discussion you have to be clear about your motivation. Are you going into this to be right or to grow together? If you can get this heart attitude sorted first, then these 12 communication tips become so much easier.
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