Communication is essential to a healthy relationship, but not all communication is good communication.
Consider these classic scenarios and our “hacks” - aka alternate ways to communicate your feelings to yield more positive conversations- for talking about how they make you feel.
It may sound corny, but small changes like this can make a huge difference to the quality of your relationship.
Your partner has been slammed at work the past three weeks. While you understand the amount of pressure he or she is under, it bothers you when your texts go unreturned and that you haven’t been on a date in a while. You become increasingly upset and want to bring it up.
- Standard response: “We need to talk.”
- Our hack: “Hey, I know how busy you’ve been at work and realize you’ve been trying your best, but I’m feeling neglected. Can we talk about this together?”
- Rationale: “We need to talk” is one of the most intimidating statements in a relationship. Starting off with this can automatically cause your significant other to become defensive or assume the worst. Instead, if you state the problem outright while acknowledging your understanding of your partner’s situation, you invite a more collaborative conversation.
You have very sensitive skin and take great lengths to take care of it. However, you’re in the middle of a hectic week and have neglected to wash regularly and eat healthy. As a result, your skin is breaking out. Your significant other notices and asks why your skin is so bad.
- Standard response: “Why would you say that? You’re always so insensitive!”
- Our hack: “That really hurt my feelings because it makes me feel unattractive.”
- Rationale: As we always say, if your partner really loves you, he or she will never intentionally hurt you. Chances are that was an offhand comment that stemmed from a place of concern for your well-being. Instead of being accusatory, speak vulnerably and explain why it hurt your feelings. Then, your partner will know you’re sensitive and can use that knowledge to be more careful in the future.
Your significant other is not a good planner. But you’ve been busy with work, so you asked him or her to plan tomorrow’s date night. The next day, starving, you both drive out half an hour to a snazzy restaurant your partner made reservations at. Upon arriving, the host informs you the reservations were for tomorrow, not today. You’re incredibly disappointed, irritated and hungry.
- Standard response: “I just asked for this one thing, and you couldn’t do it. Now what are we going to do?”
- Our hack: “I really appreciate you trying. I know it was an honest mistake. Let’s remember to double-check next time and try this burger place nearby instead!”
- Rationale: If you know your partner really tried, cut ‘em some slack. There’s no point in putting someone you love down and making them feel bad over a small, honest mistake. Remember, love comes from a place of compassion - not resentment.