Would you agree that communication is central to good relationships? Would you also agree that couples who do not communicate well are more likely to run into trouble? If you answered both questions in the affirmative, the next question to ask yourself is how well you and your partner communicate.
The internet is rife with helpful advice on how to communicate more effectively. Implementing the advice is one thing. Measuring whether it is working is another. In terms of the latter, Rye, New York’s Relationships & More says you can look for some telltale signs suggesting that you and your partner don’t communicate well. These are described below.
If you notice a number of them in your own primary relationship, don’t panic. The way you and your partner communicate is not a foregone conclusion. You can learn to do better with the help of a trained therapist.
1. Critical Attitudes
The first telltale sign that you and your partner do not communicate well is a critical attitude. It is normal to be critical of one another from time to time, but critical attitudes should not be the norm. You and your partner shouldn’t always be looking at one another with a critical eye. If you are critical of one another more often than not, there is a good chance that you aren’t effectively communicating.
2. Communicating Defensively
When people do not communicate with one another very well, they also tend to feel as though they are being misunderstood. A natural tendency of such feelings is to adopt an attitude of defensiveness. Ask yourself this: do you often find yourself getting defensive when you and your partner talk about anything deeper than the weather? Likewise, does your partner frequently seem defensive?
3. A Tendency to Assume
Couples capable of communicating well tend to have the ability to actively listen to one another. This is good in the sense that it helps avoid assumptions. On the other hand, couples incapable of communicating well are left with no other choice but to assume. Making assumptions is never good for a relationship.
If you and your partner are quick to make assumptions, you are both demonstrating what is perhaps the most glaring sign that you aren’t communicating well. There is no need to assume when communications are what they should be. So if the both of you are quick to assume, take that as a significant warning sign.
4. Arguing Without Compromise
It is normal for people to disagree. Find a couple that has never argued, and you will also find the rare exception to the rule. Having said that, disagreements do not always have to lead to arguments. When arguments do occur, couples should be able to reach some sort of compromise that brings the argument to an end.
All of this is to say that if you and your partner routinely argue without ever compromising, you are probably not communicating all that well. You probably also find that you have the same arguments time and again.
5. Weaponizing the Silent Treatment
It is also normal to not want to speak with your partner in the immediate aftermath following a disagreement. However, there is a significant difference between temporary silence and weaponizing the silent treatment. If you or your partner routinely use the silent treatment to get to one another, you definitely aren’t communicating well.
Communicating well is both a skill and a tool. It is something that can be learned. And when learned, it becomes a crucial tool in maintaining healthy relationships. So how about you and your partner? Are you communicating well?