From Communication Coach & Expert Renée Marino
Nothing sets the tone for stronger romantic relationships (and all relationships for that matter) more than honest communication. So as we gauge this virtual landscape that we’re living in, where we have an abundance of vessels to communicate, we must stay conscious of how we’re using those vessels to interact with our loved ones.
I refer to this digital landscape as “New School Technology.” I believe that when we learn to balance it with what I call “Ol School Simplicity”- the more personal channels of communication – i.e., in-person, an actual phone call, or a handwritten letter, we can connect more genuinely and entirely in our relationships. What is better than that, right? So, I have created five straightforward and impactful ways from my book, “Becoming a Master Communicator,” to help you master communication in your romantic lives today!
Be Specific about “I love you.”
Saying, “I love you,” is a sentiment that we all need and want to hear, but what elevates that sentiment, is understanding the why behind the phrase. When we continuously hear someone say, “I love you,” we can sometimes take it for granted, unconsciously. By adding the word because, after “I love you,” and sharing a reason, (or a few) why, we give that person a gift. The gift of knowing we’re not just saying I love you out of habit, but as a verbal expression of what our heart feels deeply, but cannot say in words.
Disconnect to Reconnect
A study called “The iPhone Effect: The Quality of In-Person Social Interactions in the Presence of Mobile Devices” showed that just having a cellphone on the table during a conversation lessened the quality of the discussion versus when not having a phone present. This study exemplifies that disconnecting and having our digital devices away helps improve our connection with our loved ones. Therefore, if we want to connect with someone fully, the best way to do that is by giving our complete attention to that person by turning our smartphones, computers, and televisions off for a while. Even if we think that we’re listening to someone, but a notification goes off on our phone, our focus immediately gets pulled away, which causes a bend in one of the links in our communication chain. Setting aside specific times to power down from your electronics and give intentional focus to one another is a beautiful way to create a deeper bond, give your eyes a rest from the blue light, and your mind a rest from all the task-switching.
Communication does not mean Confrontation
“Things swept under the rug never stay there forever. Eventually, they always creep back out all over your sparkling-clean, hardwood floors.”
Renée Marino in Becoming a Master Communicator
I cannot tell you how often I’ve received this response, “I’m not a confrontational person,” when asking someone why they haven’t addressed something bothering them in their relationship. I want to clear up this myth right here and tell you that communicating about your negative feelings or a negative situation to someone does not mean that you are being confrontational. Can communication be confrontational? Sure. But they are not the same, and by believing they are, you’re holding yourself back from vital, honest communication. If you are someone who is not a “confrontational person,” that is a-okay, but if that is stopping you back from communicating something to your loved one, remind yourself of this: When you have something on your mind and heart that is bothering you, NOT saying something, means that you are being dishonest, and honesty, like communication, is at the top of the priority list for solid relationships. Therefore, write out what you want to say and read it aloud to yourself in the car. That way, you have a practice run of getting the words out before conveying them to the other person, and you can hear if what you’re saying is a good representation of how you feel. Then, when the time is right, tell your loved one that you’d like to talk when they have some time. Take a deep breath, and speak from the heart, reminding yourself that you are addressing something that needs to be addressed, not because you are confrontational, but because you care about them enough to communicate honestly!
Self-Care is not Self-ish
The most vital component of all communication is communication with self. How you talk to and listen to YOU sets the tone for how you talk and listen to others, so make that talking and listening within as strong as possible. A quick and great way to do this is by waking up in the morning, and before picking up your phone, putting on the television, or interacting with anyone else, asking yourself this one question, “How am I feeling?” Then, take five to ten minutes and write the answer. In asking this question, you allow your conscious, and more importantly, subconscious mind to look for the answer, which creates self-awareness. Organizational psychologist Tasha Eurich researched self-awareness, and she concluded, “We’ve found that internal self-awareness is associated with the higher job and relationship satisfaction, personal and social control, and happiness.” Therefore, by connecting with yourself and getting honest with how you’re feeling and things that you may have been putting aside, you can go into the conversations with your loved ones more grounded and present instead of your unexamined emotions being in the driver’s seat.
Make time to talk about your dreams and vision for the future with your significant other. Instead of having music on in the car, ask questions like, “if time and money wasn’t a factor, what would be your ideal job,” or “what are the top three things on your bucket list,” or what is your greatest fear, that if you could get passed, you’d feel unstoppable?” When my husband and I drove cross country from Los Angeles to New Jersey, we didn’t turn the radio on once. Instead, we played the “Gratitude Game,” listing all of the things we’re grateful for, and we shared about the parts of ourselves we want to improve upon, as well as our greatest hopes and wishes. The trip was one of our best because we connected so deeply through our mutual vulnerability in sharing our dreams. This practice can be done anywhere, anytime, like over dinner or even while lying in bed. Dreaming together is a magnificent way to strengthen your bond. By asking questions beyond every day, surface-level topics, you’re showing that you want to know that person on a core level. In addition, by allowing them to speak about their dreams and honoring them by fully listening, you help to make those dreams more real for themselves by speaking them aloud. What a gift!
Remember this: Everything starts with communication, and when you learn to master this skill, you become limitless!
For more communication tools and practices that you can use every day to immediately create deeper connections in your relationships, you can pre-order my brand new book, “Becoming a Master Communicator.” The book has been endorsed by Dean Graziosi, Russell Brunson, Jenna Kutcher, Bryan Adams, Chazz Palminteri, Dhomonique Murphy, and so many more. When you pre-order, you receive 2 Free, Incredible Bonuses right away. “21 Ways to use Communication to Increase Business Opportunities,” and “An Introspective Video Journaling Tool.” The link is right below! Here’s to becoming Master Communicators and having the best that life offers!
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