Communicating in healthy ways can be an ongoing challenge. Many people weren’t shown great examples of this skill growing up and struggle with it tremendously. If you want to improve your relationships, use these tips in order to become a healthier and more effective communicator. 

Use ‘I’ Statements

A lot of times, arguments can feel like each person launching attacks against each other. This is extremely unproductive. Instead, practice using ‘I’ statements when having conversations with your partner. For example, “I feel hurt when you play video games for 2 hours at night instead of spending a little time with me.” This type of statement feels less accusatory and is much less likely to put your partner on the defensive. 

Consider the Timing

Choosing the right timing for a serious talk with your partner can make a world of difference. Launching into an argument right after you or your partner have had a stressful day might not be the best tactic. It’s helpful to give the other person notice that you’d like to speak with them. This simple heads up makes the conversation feel two sided instead of feeling like an ambush. Healthy communication is less likely to happen if your partner feels attacked or blind-sided. 

Process your Feelings First

Instead of rushing into a conversation and potentially saying things you don’t mean, make sure you process your feelings. An article written Cindy Lamothe for explains, “Before talking with your partner about an issue that’s upsetting for you, be sure to process your own feelings on the subject and calm yourself first. Try taking a quick walk or listening to relaxing music before talking to your partner. That way you’ll be more in control of your emotions and be able to communicate well.” Often, big emotions get in the way of communicating effectively. Take time to regulate yourself before you dive into difficult conversations. 

Be Heard and Listen

Being heard and listening are both very important parts of communication. It’s about respect. You need to feel like your partner is listening to you just as much as they need to feel like they’re being heard. Communication is a give and take. Be present and show your partner that you care about what they have to say. Make important conversations your number one priority. Remove distractions and remember that good communication isn’t about winning or losing. If you can’t work together to talk things out, you both lose. 

Focus on the Goal 

The goal of an effective conversation is resolution. This means you and your partner will have to work together in order to compromise. Work through the issues and figure out where each person needs to make some concessions. When you effectively communicate, both parties can walk away feeling good about the conversation. 

The ability to communicate in healthy ways is a skill that needs to constantly be developed. It’s something that will serve you well in all your relationships.