While relationships can be great in countless ways, they’re also incredibly tricky and complicated. Especially if you’re dating while in high school or college, learning what healthy communication looks like in a relationship is incredibly important. Here are three ways to maintain healthy communication in a relationship.
Using “I” statements are a great way to foster healthy communication in a relationship. Statements like “I feel…” or “I think that…” is a great way to tell your partner your problems and emotions clearly without them feeling accusing and belittled. You want to avoid “You” phrases like “You made me feel…” “You did..” because that might make your partner feel like you’re accusing them of things, and it’ll worsen the situation you’re trying to talk about.
It’s okay to take a step back and regroup when things get heated. This can be much harder for people to do because it’s easy for us to get wrapped up in negative emotions and explode. It doesn’t help anyone though, and it’s better to look at your partner and say, “Hey, I’m getting pretty heated right now. I need to take five, and then we can continue this conversation.” While it’s normal to bump heads with your partner, it’s never good when arguments take a turn in the direction towards disrespect, violating boundaries, and aggressive language or actions.
Active listening is just as important as anything else. Making sure your partner feels heard and validated is one of the best ways to make your partner feel safe and loved. It helps conversations go by smoother, and typically, your partner will open up to you more about things much easier than if they feel ignored and discarded.
Healthy communication sounds easy, but it’s incredibly difficult to do and maintain in relationships. At some points, you or your partner may feel like it’s pointless or it’s simply not doing anything, but don’t give up on it. The payoff of healthy communication is a happy and healthy relationship. Regardless of how hard it is, healthy boundaries and communication is always worth it in any kind of relationship.
By Sasha Gonzalez, Junior, ChiArts