From bottling it all up to talking it out – everything I have learnt about communication.
I’ve always been somebody that struggled with communication and boundaries — finding it tricky to say how I felt, or show that I was upset, and instead would choose to either ignore the issue or ignore the person that’d upset me, neither of which are the healthiest ways to communicate. If you’re facing the same situation, don’t scroll away!
In my past relationships, I would ignore issues or text my partner if I had a problem because I felt too awkward to communicate with them face to face, and more often than not, it led to a bigger issue down the line. Now in my current relationship, my partner taught me how important healthy communication is, so I’ve learnt how to get over my fear of communication pretty quickly.
It can definitely be difficult at times, but my relationship has benefitted so much from being able to express my feelings in a healthy way. Here are some of the best lessons I’ve learnt about how to making conversations a little easier.
1. Write it out
Trying to talk about your feelings when you are already emotional, upset or overwhelmed is one of the most difficult things to do. It can feel impossible to get your thoughts and feelings together, nevermind put them into words. To combat this, I have found writing it out is the best way to gather your feelings and decide how to communicate your emotions to your partner.
Whilst you’re upset, dump all of your thoughts and feelings into your notes app, and when you feel calmed down and in a better place to communicate, take a read over it. Feel free to remove any aspects of it written out of anger (because we’ve all said things we don’t mean and it’s not fun), and now you have your feelings written out in front of you it is so much easier to communicate them in a clear and productive way.
2. Ask lots of questions
If your partner comes to you with an issue, we can often jump to being defensive, because of course, no one wants to be responsible for upsetting their partner. But being defensive isn’t always the most productive way of dealing with issues, so instead try and ask questions.
The more questions you ask your partner, the more you will understand how you have upset them and how not to do it in the future.
You could ask ‘what did I do to make you feel that way?’ or ‘how can I avoid doing that next time?’ Just a few questions will not only make your partner feel heard and understood, but help avoid any further problems.
3. Don’t bottle things up
Bottling up your feelings when your partner has upset you is probably one of the worst things you can do, not only for your relationship but for your own health too. Leaving problems unaddressed will allow you to think about them over and over, meaning they will only get worse and cause a conflict in the future.
It also means that your partner probably has no idea that they have upset you, and will probably act in the same way again, because they aren’t mind readers and will have no clue that they’re doing anything wrong.
Bottling up causes an endless cycle of getting more and more upset, which in the end helps neither partner to feel better.
Edited by Audrey Chow