This is like our bazzillionth post on communication. (Okay, a bit of an exaggeration but we have two whole online courses on this, so many tips, and written articles everywhere on this topic! Not a bazillion, but it feels like it!)
Here’s our best 5 tips lately:
1. Avoid Defensiveness
Why do we get defensive? Let’s reverse engineer it. We’re getting defensive because we feel threatened. What is threatening us? Something emotional, physical, spiritual, or mental is vulnerable and we feel we have to protect it. Why do we have to protect it? We think it’s two reasons. Either the trust and safety of the relationship needs and/or we have egos that are too overprotective. (Most likely it’s both)
So what can we do to avoid reacting that way?
Work on building safety and trust in your relationship. For example, “We can say what’s on our hearts without feeling judged. We know the boundaries of what’s okay and not okay in conversation. We have a confidentiality and generosity commitment to keep our conversations between us and to assume the best of our partner. Etc”.
Now our egos get a bad wrap when it comes to defensiveness and we have to be honest here. The ego work all rests on you. Get comfortable with how your ego shows up, what it commonly says, does, and repeats. It’s there because you feel you need to protect yourself it’s really useful but only when it’s appropriate. Often in our (safe and healthy) relationship communications, it’s not appropriate. What would happen if you gave yourself a minute (or twenty) to self-soothe? To calm your fight or flight response enough to input your partners thoughts? It might look a little better, right? Give that a shot and let us know how it goes.
2. Check Your Listening Blocks
There’s 12 listening blocks in communications and we all fall victim to them. Here’s an article we wrote diving into them, check it out and share it with your partner. We guarantee you’re doing them. (And we are, too!) They pop up for all of us and reeeeally hinder the way we communicate. Cause let’s get real. A huge part of conversation is to be heard. If that’s not happening, it’s not good. Here’s a freebie to level up your listening as well. (We gotchu.)
3. Fact Check Your Story
Y’know how we google the fake news stories all the time? Well, we realized we were telling ourselves stories about things ALL THE TIME. C’mon you know you do it, too. Usually when our defensiveness is rearing! All those dots we’re connecting so quickly to make sense of life are often not correct and when we act from that place it leaves us in a sticky spot. Here’s an example we wrote about. We started practicing this years ago and it was a GAME CHANGER. We share a slightly embarrassing and honest story in this article as well as how we do the work to change it. Check it out, we think you’ll love it.
4. Give Your Partner The Answer
We’ll admit it. We’ve been at those points in conversation when we’re going in circles trying to “get them to say what we want to hear” but we don’t tell them what it is because, “they should just know!” Yeah, that. Oops. What would it look like for you if you just gave your partner the answer? I mean, you’re on the same team, right? What if you told them, “Hey, I just really want you to tell me you’ll never leave me and that you still think I’m hot.” Or “Okay, I need to hear that you appreciate all the work I do to bring home income for us and you’re proud of me.” Whoa, right? Feels weird, works well. Trust us.
Oooooh boy. If you could leave this post with one takeaway, we’d love this to be it. We want to be real honest with you guys here. We are experienced in communication and still suck at it sometimes. Like suck reeeal bad. When that’s happening, we have an agreement to pause. So our conversations are not only bad, but really choppy because it feels like every 5 minutes one of us is tapping out to collect our thoughts, our temper, or breathe. But. It works. How many times have you said something you regretted? Wish you had time to respond rather then react? Need time to process what you actually feel? Need to pee? Yeah, conversations can have space for that in terms of pausing. Please, please try it!
Okay there you have it, our top 5 communication tips lately. Want to see more on our communication courses? Head here.
Let us know, did we miss any? What would you add to this list? We love hearing from you!