It can be difficult to navigate a healthy relationship when you and your loved one have vastly different ways of communicating with each other. A lack of effective communication can make you feel unheard and unloved. Sometimes we write off what we do not understand as a lack of care when it is a lack of understanding. You might feel like if that person cared about me, then they would communicate with me in the way that I like to communicate. However, everyone communicates differently, and often it is not due to a lack of love. Try not to write your loved one as simply stubborn or difficult.
Many things factor into how we communicate such as what we have experienced, past trauma, what we expect, and what we feel we lack. All these things can make the conflict that comes along with communication feel like a personal attack. Learning how the person you love communicates can help you understand each other on a deeper level and strengthen your bond. As you get to know each other, you will learn how they communicate. You can ask them to communicate like you, but that may be difficult for them. You cannot change a lifetime of communication in one day.
There are even people who do not communicate at all. When problems arise, they flee because they do not have the skills in which to deal with conflict or they do not like conflict. They may not realize that this makes their loved one feel abandoned. Some people want to talk about everything upfront, but this may make their partner feel rushed to deal with feelings when they are not ready. They may feel cornered, like being claustrophobic emotionally. If your loved one is willing, one of the best ways to cultivate a sense of connection with someone is to listen when they want to talk. You may not be ready at the same time, but love is about grace, and you must be full of grace in order to love.
You can communicate more effectively with your loved ones by extending to them the grace and understanding that you want for yourself. Not taking things personally and jumping to offense allows you to be a more effective listener. Keep in mind that while each of us may have our way of communicating, not communicating your way does not mean that they do not care. Understanding the other person’s style will help you communicate more effectively and show them that you care about what they have to say. You do not have to adapt their style in order to acknowledge and understand it.
It is important to remember that communication is a process and a skill. It is not something that can be learned overnight. Still, with practice and patience, you can learn how to communicate more effectively with anyone—even someone whose communication style differs from yours.
Check out my new gratitude journal here