Listen up, men. Knowing how to communicate with women is critical for maintaining a great relationship.
Women love and need to be listened to, REALLY listened to, and need to have their feelings acknowledged. Yes, yes, I can see you rolling your eyes, but it's true. We would be sooooo much happier if the men in our lives would practice some good talking and listening skills.
To be fair, women could also practice being better listeners (we probably have the talking part down!), and we're willing to work on it. There are a few really basic rules of communication that apply to men and women alike. Both sides have to be committed to changing lousy communication habits. What do I mean by good communication? Glad you asked…
Here's a great book, "Magic Relationship Words," that you can use to learn what to say in almost any situation.
I'll also give you some tips on -
How to be a GREAT communicator:Knowing how to communicate well means being a good listener. This is easier said than done. Most people (notice I say people and not just men) are poor listeners. Much of the time we do things like judge what the other person is saying, rehearse what we are going to say while the other person is still talking, change the subject or make a joke about it, interrupt before the other person finishes, or give advice the second the other person stops talking. There are other ways we don't listen to each other but you get the idea. Look at your partner when she is talking to you (unless you're driving on the freeway), turn off the TV or radio, take off your head phones, stop whatever it is you're doing and give her your full attention. If it's truly a bad time for you to discuss an issue, then agree on the soonest possible time that's convenient for both of you. Both sides have to be willing and/or able to communicate at that moment. Paraphrase what your partner has just said to you. This may seem tedious and artificial but it is amazing how we think the other understands what we just said when in fact s/he didn't. Paraphrasing forces everyone to be on the same page and helps you suspend your judgments and strong feelings for the moment. And it feels good to know that your partner really 'gets' what you just said. (Not necessarily agrees with what you just said but we're coming to that soon…)
You can start by saying something like, "So what you're saying is…" or "So you think that…" When you're paraphrasing, you may need to ask your partner to clarify what she is saying. You may need to go back and forth with questions until she is satisfied that her message has been heard. There's no room for blaming or belittling here. And you don't need to try to solve any problems at this point either. You're just trying to get the facts straight, like a reporter. Knowing how to communicate also means knowing the right questions to ask.
If you stop to think about it, it's amazing how bad we are at listening to each other. We're usually so focused on getting our message across that we don't stop to think about how we're doing as receivers. Becoming a good listener takes a lot of practice. Hardly any of us were taught good communication skills when we were kids, but it's absolutely ESSENTIAL if you want to have the best relationship possible. If men could do just this much, they would be way ahead in the love game
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