5 Tips on Communication to Avoid Arguments and Improve Relationships
Effective communication is one of the biggest challenges in our modern social interactions. We have more ways than ever to communicate; emails, texts, voicemails, video chat, and more. However, the foundation of productive communication involves using good speaking and listening skills and communicating to foster better understanding rather than trying to impose your views on someone else or engaging in personal attacks when someone disagrees with you.
In my work as a counselor and energy healer, I often find people with combinations of disturbances in the stomach area (solar plexus chakra) and the throat area (throat chakra). This often reflects difficulties with asserting oneself and communicating effectively. Assertiveness lies in the middle ground between passivity and aggression. It means speaking up for yourself while respecting others. Failing to communicate what is needed or communicating in an aggressive way can lead to arguments and conflicts that would be prevented if we applied healthier communication skills. Many of us learned unhealthy communication patterns in order to adapt to or survive in dysfunctional environments. As we evolve and seek to improve our lives and foster healthy relationships we can learn and practice more positive and compassionate communication skills.
Here are 5 tips on communication that will help you avoid arguments and reduce unnecessary conflicts:
- Be sure to listen as much as you speak, to read as much as you write. Sometimes we are so eager to share our views or wishes that we fail to adequately listen to or hear what others are saying.
- As author don Miguel Ruiz says in The Four Agreements, “Be impeccable with your word. Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love.” State what you think or feel in a clear, coherent, and honest way, that is not easily misinterpreted. Many arguments arise due to things not being expressed clearly and consequently misinterpreted.
- Try to place yourself figuratively in the shoes of the other person. Consider their values, beliefs, and perspectives, accepting that we can’t all think alike and what seems right to one person may not seem right to another person.
- Avoid demeaning the other person. If someone disagrees with you, don’t attempt to belittle or denigrate them for having a conflicting position. People want to feel respected and validated, and making things personal can incite people to even more stubbornly stick to their positions.
- If it appears an issue can’t be settled at the moment, offer to discuss it at a later time after you’ve each had a chance to think things over. Sometimes a conversation stirs up our emotions, and we need to step back and take some time to meditate and contemplate things in a quiet space.