Keys to More Connected, Effective Communication, Part Two


In this week’s post I will continue the discussion started in last week’s post regarding some general communication principles that benefit all relationships, especially that precious one you share with your partner, or if you are dating, your potential partner.

You will recall that I shared that:

“Information without implementation is clutter.”

My intention is to provide you with ideas, principles, and strategies that you can integrate into your daily life by trying out some new ways of thinking and behaving.

This will require you to get into some uncomfortable, imperfect action.

Trying out different ways of thinking and behaving takes courage, patience, and support.

Please be gentle and loving toward yourself. 

You can attain your relationship goals.

When it comes to effective, non-injurious communication I have found the following ideas and ‘rules of engagement’ to be useful:

  • Be eager to understand and very slow to judge
  • Enjoy more peace and fulfillment by learning to make requests instead of demands
  • Be willing to compromise
  • ‘Closure’ or the feeling of completion is a process and not an event
  • Patience, patience, and more patience

Be eager to understand very slow to judge and

Unfortunately, all too often we fail to really listen and understand.

Instead, we prematurely judge and, based on our incomplete understanding and premature judgment, we react.

When we experience the results of this approach we are often ‘forced’ into ‘damage control mode’.

Why not start with really listening and questioning to truly understand the other person’s point of view?  

Once you both truly understand each other’s point of view you can both embrace a mutually fulfilling process toward action that yields results you can both live with.

Enjoy more peace and fulfillment by learning to make requests instead of demands

Years ago as a young mental health professional I had the opportunity to work extensively with children, adolescents, and families.

It was my work with children that really drove home the wisdom of enlisting cooperation verses making demands.

I encourage you to try enlisting the cooperation of your partner through making requests.

Keys to transforming demands into requests

  • Be sure to ask.  In practical terms this means that the person being asked to do this or that must be left in freedom to decline the request.

In practical terms, this also means that they can say ‘no’ without any negative judgment or consequences.

  • Timing is everything.  Try and time your request so that it can be heard, considered, and responded to. 

For example, in my recent move I provided my helpful friends with the days that I would be loading trucks with our belongings well in advance, so that they could select the day(s) that worked best for them and their busy schedules.

  • Make your request positive and specific.  For example, let’s imagine that I just mopped the kitchen floor and I want the children visiting our home to help me to keep it relatively clean.  It far easier to ask them to ‘walk on the dry spots’ than to try and demand that they not ruin my clean floor….
  • Make sure that you request something that is clearly within the other person’s capacities.  I recommend asking the person your are attempting to get support from, if they are comfortable doing whatever it is you are asking them to do.

This approach is both respectful and courteous.

  • Pay attention to your tone of voice.  A respectful, patient tone of voice will enlist a lot more support than a cranky, impatient one!

Be willing to compromise

An entire series of posts could be dedicated to the art of compromise.

For our purposes here, I would just like to share that folks can normally easily discern if you are open to a collaborative effort or simply must have things your way.

Making decisions together can be a challenging process.

Since shared decisions often involve compromise, I recommend beginning such discussions with an open mind and to come to a clear, mutually fulfilling end result before trying to iron out all of the details.

For me, one of the hallmarks of a stable, successful intimate relationship is the capacity to compromise.

‘Closure’ or the feeling of completion is a process and not an event

People naturally take different amounts of time to process information, decisions, and conversations.

Some keys to your successful resolution of conversations with your partner:

  • Take your time, go slowly
    • leave ample time for back and forth discussion
    • leave ample time for questions
    • be open to having a ‘follow up’ discussion
    • everything does not usually have to
    • be figured out immediately
  • Question to understand rather than to challenge
  • Write details down
  • Always acknowledge your partner’s efforts and equally important: be receptive to your partners positive acknowledgements
  • Remember that as Gandhi so beautifully and succinctly put it, “Respect is the minimum expression of love.”   Treat your partner as you would like to be treated.
  • Pay attention to your partner’s response(s) and especially to their emotional state.  If in doubt, ask.
  • When closing the discussion, leave the door open… If you think of anything else let’s talk.

Patience, patience, and more patience

When it comes to non-injurious, connected, compassionate communication I can not put enough emphasis on patience.

Please remember to be patient with yourself as well!

I hope you found this post inspiring and useful.

See you next week!

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