Give the Valentine’s Day Gift of Better Communication
Valentine’s Day is an annual celebration day recognised around the world. It is defined in the dictionary as follows:
“Valentines Day celebrates romantic love, making it a popular day for couples to spend together. Valentine’s Day is traditionally associated with red hearts, romance, flowers, candy or other sweet things, and the exchange of cards, called valentines, that express love.”
(Reference: https://www.dictionary.com/e/historical-current-events/valentines-day/ )
But couldn’t we make it so much more than this? What if we spent the day together, taking the time to learn how to communicate more effectively with each other?
Most couples are ‘time poor’, with careers, family commitments, shopping, gym, house chores and other life events to even consider whether the dialogue between them and their partner is always appropriate.
You know the kind of dialogues that I mean – the one’s like: “It’s all your fault!”, “You’re always such a slob!”, “Why don’t you ever listen to me?”.
This Valentine’s Day, why don’t you consider changing the negative thoughts and dialogues with the person who you love? What a truly meaningful way to express your love to one another.
Here are my top 10 tips for deep listening:
- First of all, listen to fully understand and then respond – only in that order. If you don’t understand say so and ask again.
- Do not spend the time that a person is responding to your question (or trying to tell you something) thinking of your next question.
- If you have already made up your mind on what the answer is going to be, why ask? Alternatively, ask, listen and learn.
- There will be a point when you become conscious that you stopped listening, so turn it back on again. If you think you missed something important, politely cover it off again.
- Don’t interrupt.
- Keep eye contact as much as you can (without being spooky) and react accordingly with appropriate listening sounds and facial reactions.
- Qualify what you have heard – “so if I heard you right, you are saying…”
- Remember your manners.
- You are not always right.
- Make notes or put your hands down, don’t fidget.
When just listening is not enough, here are my top strategies for conflict resolution:
- When angry, separate yourself from the situation and take time to cool out.
- Attack the problem, not the person. Start with a compliment.
- Communicate your feelings assertively, NOT aggressively. Express them without blaming.
- Focus on the issue, NOT your position about the issue.
- Accept and respect that individual opinions may differ, don’t try to force compliance, work to develop common agreement.
- Do not review the situation as a competition, where one has to win and one has to lose. Work toward a solution where both parties can have some of their needs met.
- Focus on areas of common interest and agreement, instead of areas of disagreement and opposition.
- NEVER jump to conclusions or make assumptions about what another is feeling or thinking.
- Listen without interrupting; ask for feedback if needed to assure a clear understanding of the issue.
- Remember, when only one person’s needs are satisfied in a conflict, it is NOT resolved and will continue.
- Forget the past and stay in the present.
- Build ‘power with’ NOT ‘power over’ others.
- Thank the person for listening.
Changing the way we think and communicate can change our lives .
Note: For ‘time poor’ people please consider listening to some Podcasts of the following experts on couples therapy, Tony Robins, Katie Byron, Tara Brach or listening to an audiobook T he Five Love Languages: by Gary Chapman.
Chris Little is a specialist in Relationship Counselling, Alcohol & Drug Counselling, Mental Health, Youth and Children Counselling.
You can connect with her via her website https://mindurmind1.wixsite.com/counselling