BLOG: 10 Dos and Don’ts for Turning Crappy Communication Into Quality Connection
Arguing is a Drag
As humans, we get caught up in our circumstances, moods, and stress levels. Life gets going and we take it out on those closest to us. And often it’s over NOTHING.
Even if the only hurdle we’re facing is our hunger level, it’s amazing how a small thing can become a big deal so quickly.
And let’s face it. Having an argument with your beloved is a drag, regardless of what causes it. Life is full-on enough without you and your beloved getting into it. Even over the small stuff.
Most arguments are a waste of energy and cost your connection with your beloved. You want your relationship to be your sanctuary AWAY from the conflict in the world, not ADD to it.
What’s At Stake
It may seem like the fight is not a “big deal”, but those conflicts ultimately add up to wasted time, disconnection, and ruined experiences.
Any unnecessary roughness in your relationship and crappy communication not only kills off all play, peace, and passion, but if you’re taking out your stress on your beloved, you can cause deep wounds that take a long time to heal.
And if this ugly dynamic becomes repetitive, gets extreme or lasts a long time, sometimes, relationships NEVER recover.
And yet we ALL do it!
What Makes It Worth It?
First, let’s create a little motivation for what makes it WORTH IT to move past piss-poor communication and STRETCH to get into our beloved’s world, ESPECIALLY when we don’t want to.
If you’re tired of being exhausted by every day arguments and you want to nurture a relationship where you have a best friend, a safe sanctuary and a sexy lover, then it’s a good idea if you kick your communication up a notch.
If you want your interactions to pull you closer together and not pull you apart, if you want your arguments to be short, mild, and rare and if you’re interested in more trust, intimacy, and connection in your relationship… then STOP aiming at being right or fair and start aiming at being CONNECTED.
STOP aiming at being right or fair and start aiming at being CONNECTED.
It Doesn’t Matter Who is Right or What’s Fair
When it comes to being human, being right is an addiction. When it comes to relationships, being right is a disaster.
If your beloved is in the “wrong,” you can attempt to show them the errors of their ways OR you can just GET THEM and let them know you care about their experience and happiness.
Logic and Love Do Not Go Hand In Hand
You could try to explain your case to your beloved until you’re blue in the face. If they don’t feel heard and listened to, all the logic in the world isn’t going to restore connection and partnership between you.
Remember… Your beloved needs your love the MOST when they deserve it the LEAST.
Your behavior is NOT dictated by their behavior. It is dictated by your character. And hopefully to your commitment to love and quality communication.
Listen to Me!
Even though it seems like you are fighting over something that happened, what people really want the MOST is being heard, seen and gotten. ESPECIALLY by their beloved.
Don’t listen to defend, to make your case or to demonstrate how right you are about the issue, EVEN IF YOU ARE!
Don’t even listen to understand. Listen so that they feel SEEN, HEARD and GOTTEN.
Want a good laugh about people just wanting to be listened to? Watch this short video. It’s great when we can bring humor to how hard communication can be.
Give the Gift of Getting Them (& End the Argument)
Caring enough to listen is not only healing, it is a magical way to end an argument. Stop defending, even if they’re blaming and just GET THEM.
Take the fire out of their upset by just getting them.
If you focus on giving each other the gift of truly getting each other, the issue often resolves organically and with much greater ease than you thought possible.
You CAN shift out of “It shouldn’t be this hard” and into “Wow. That was easy.”
IF you’re willing to LISTEN.
What Hurts – Lax Listening
Don’t let your relationship get tripped up by lax listening. Check out this list of what NOT to do when it comes to communication and identify YOUR top hurdle.
- Don’t daydream or allow yourself to get DISTRACTED.
- Avoid a closed MINDSET, JUDGING or any pre-existing negative FILTERS.
- Don’t INTERRUPT or REACT.
- Don’t seek EVIDENCE for your perspective or hear only what you want to hear.
- Don’t listen only for FACTS and miss the emotional SUBTEXT.
- Don’t focus on your AGENDA or DEBATE their perspective.]
- Don’t FAKE attention while thinking ahead or REHEARSING what you’ll say.
- Don’t TUNE OUT difficult content or call the subject uninteresting.
- Don’t CRITICIZE the speaker and/or their delivery.
- Don’t PLACATE or withdraw.
What Helps – Loving Listening
If you want to be a good listener (and end conflict quickly) pick anything from this list and explore what’s next in up-leveling YOUR listening of your beloved.
- Get INTENTIONAL about really listening. State your intention to them.
- Give them your undivided ATTENTION and whole self.
- Keep an OPEN MIND and listen to UNDERSTAND the total meaning.
- SHOW that you’re listening. Maintain relaxed eye contact.
- RESPOND by acknowledging what they said. SUMMARIZE what you heard and ask if you got it ACCURATELY.
- Ask if there’s anything MORE to say.
- Look for nonverbal CUES and listen for the core FEELING.
- EVALUATE if you truly considered what they said.
- ENCOURAGE them with positive feedback, a nod or ask a question to show interest.
- Practice SELF-CONTROL Think before you speak.
Conflict or Connection – Choose!
YOU get to choose whether you’ll be close and intimate with your partner or you can choose to allow ongoing arguments to interrupt or even end your intimacy.
What is YOUR anchor and north star in those challenging relationship moments?
Build a muscle for choice over circumstance. Choose conflict or connection. Choose being right or being close. YOU get to choose, moment by moment. Day after day.
Lean In / Lay Off
If you want to move PAST an argument, then give your beloved the Gift of Getting Them.
Just stop defending and LISTEN and see what happens.
It’s natural to defend and make your own case. It just won’t help you be close or intimate with your beloved.
It may not be easy, yet it IS simple.
Print the lists above on your fridge. Then lean INTO the DOS and lay OFF the DON’TS.
You’re human! We all are. So remember that it’s not about perfection. It’s about PROGRESS.
The only way to lose this Game is to not play at all.
1. Look at the Lax Listening list. What are the top 1-3 YOU get tripped up by?
2. Look at the Loving Listening list. What are the top 1-3 YOU want to make more of an unf’able with habit for yourself?
3. Make a declaration to yourself and your beloved that you commit to pursuing Loving Listening as core to your couple culture.
BONUS: Print out both lists, circle the ones you chose and post it on your fridge or bathroom mirror or somewhere you will see it regularly.
Your Ally in Aiming for Awesome,
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