For the past five years, I’ve been learning a new language.
Not a *foreign* language (although I do speak Spanish, French, and a little Italian 😉)… more like a language of love.
I started studying this new way of communicating because I was sick of arguing with my partner.
I was tired of not knowing how to be honest, ask for what I wanted, or stand up for myself in awkward situations with shitty people.
And I was 100% DONE with people-pleasing and never getting my damn needs met. 🙅♀️
Let me tell ya, the stuff I’ve learned over the last five years has improved my relationship with *every single person* in my life.
7 ways to communicate better with your partner (and everyone else)
The best bit? It can be distilled down into 7 simple but powerful shifts.
1. Instead of saying what you don’t want someone to do, tell them what you DO want them to do. Humans generally find it easier to take action than to avoid stuff.
2. Remember that people do things for a specific reason. There’s ALWAYS a reason. If you don’t understand someone’s behaviour, they’re just using a different strategy than you would to meet a certain need (such as connection, security, or peace).
3. Set the intention to connect with everyone you talk to. When you feel triggered, pause and ask whether you’re trying to CONNECT with them or CORRECT their behaviour. Hint: trying to correct someone usually leads to pain, conflict, and disconnection.
4. Be willing to say no—and sit with the discomfort this brings up. Your “no” is a gift to others. It’s only possible for you to be compassionate if you feel able to set and maintain healthy boundaries.
5. Be willing to HEAR a no. A person’s “no” is also a gift, not a rejection or something you need to take personally. Saying no to you allows them to say yes to themselves. It also means you can trust them to tell you when something is okay (and when it isn’t).
6. Ask before giving advice. People mostly just want to be heard. Being listened to is rare. Think about it—most folks can Google their problem if they need a solution. Listen first. Then let them know you can offer a solution if they’re willing to hear it.
7. Express gratitude… and be very specific about what someone did that was so awesome. Showing appreciation is more vulnerable than sharing criticism. That’s what makes it so valuable to receive. Everyone likes to hear feedback about the ways they’re making your life better.