Don’t Hate, Communicate: Expressing Yourself

As I said yesterday, good, healthy communication is absolutely necessary in every relationship you have! As much as it is necessary, healthy communication can be a balancing act for many of us!

Healthy communication means feeling heard, understood, and respected while also being able to listen, understand, and respect what the other person is saying. Communication is a two-way street!

How well we communicate has a major impact on our interactions with others. Communication skills affect our ability to prevent or resolve conflict, connect, and build or break trust in a relationship. So, when we practice healthy communication skills, we can turn a good relationship into a great one!

It’s worth noting that healthy communication is NOT manipulative, disrespectful, or one-sided. It’s not about getting your way - it’s about both you and your partner being there for each other.

Here are some tips and tricks for healthy communication because this is a skill that takes practice! The more you work at it, the easier it’ll get.

  1. Ok, first and foremost, don’t push aside your feelings. If something is on your mind and bothering you – bring it up! The longer you hold it in, the more likely it is to become a bigger problem!
  2. Then talk in person. It's really easy to misunderstand or misinterpret what someone is saying over the phone or in a text message.
  3. This next one seems obvious - Don’t yell. Getting angry or defensive during an argument is totally normal – we’re all human! But if you’re feeling upset or angry, take a step back and breathe. Take a break until you both cool off and are able to have a calm discussion.
  4. Be clear and direct. No one can read your mind, so tell them what you think, feel, and need. Again, we should feel comfortable telling our partners whatever it is that we are going through.
  5. A really great communication tactic is "I statements.” Say things like, "I feel upset when you ___" instead of, "You're making me upset." Steer clear of blaming or accusing them of purposely trying to hurt you - that most often just makes the other person feel attacked!
  6. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. If you don't understand what they're saying or why, ask questions. Don’t make assumptions.
  7. Lastly, but not least - be willing to apologize. Everyone makes mistakes because again, we are human! Saying you’re sorry (and actually meaning it) goes a long way in helping to make amends and move on after a fight.

Effective, non-violent communication takes practice! It’s like a muscle we must continuously exercise! So my message today is, Don’t Hate, Communicate!

If you would like more information about teen dating violence or our Prevention Education programs please contact our Violence Prevention Educator, Marina Montemayor at [email protected], or our Community Outreach Specialist, Cynthia Butler at [email protected].

If you or someone you know is suffering from domestic violence or abuse, please call NAM's 24 hour Family Violence Center hotline number at 281-885-HOPE (4673).