How to Talk Less and Listen More in Your Relationship
If there is one thing that relationship experts can agree on, it’s the importance of effective communication between partners. Even the best relationships will fail over time if one or both individuals feel they cannot openly communicate with the one they love. Many people believe that ‘communicating’ means ‘talking’, but more often than not, this isn’t the case. Listening is highly underrated in communication within a relationship and it can have a number of negative consequences. If you need to talk less and listen more to your loved one, here are four tips to help you out.
Wait Before Your Respond
It’s human nature to think of a response or a rebuttal to someone before they’re even done talking. This means that while you’re crafting what you’ll say, you aren’t fully listening to them speak. One way to work on this issue is to wait a few seconds after they finish talking to reply. When you know you have a ‘cushion’, you can hold off on formulating your response until they have fully expressed themselves. You can communicate this by saying, “I heard what you just said and I need a moment to process before I respond.”
Stop Trying to Solve the Other’s Problems
We often equate love with solving another person’s problems so they can be happier. Unfortunately, this can often come across the wrong way—especially if your partner simply wants to be heard or is asking for comfort or support. Trying to solve their problem is like saying you don’t trust them to solve it for themselves. Listen carefully to what your partner is saying to you. If they specifically ask for help or ideas, it’s okay to offer them. If they don’t, they probably just want you to listen.
Resist the Urge to Judge
One of the most damaging things you can do in a relationship is to judge or criticize your partner for something they’ve done or said. You may not always agree with how your significant other handles issues or behaves, but it’s not your job to do so. Listen and be respectful and, if your partner asks for advice, give it gently without making them feel belittled.
Make Sure You Understand What is Being Said
Conversations can easily be taken out of context or misinterpreted—especially if the exchange is fueled by strong emotion. Part of listening is making sure you understand what is being communicated. If you don’t, ask clarifying questions or simply say, “Tell me more.” Your partner will feel you are truly listening and you’ll get the added benefit of learning more about their particular situation.
Open and supportive communication is one of the keys to a happy and healthy relationship. When you stop talking and start listening, you are showing your partner you care about them and want to find ways to support them. Try the above four tips to ensure your communication remains positive and loving.