Never go to bed mad

Excellent communication skills are paramount in keeping relationships alive and well, especially after the honeymoon period has ended. It’s probably no surprise that the magic to ending each day harmoniously can be summed up in one word: listen.

As individuals, we want to be heard.

When we feel heard, there’s an accompanying feeling of respect, and caring. When we listen, we learn what our partner wants and needs. In turn, it’s imperative that we each share. Communication is an exchange, a connective endeavor, and it requires both parties fulfilling their roles.

Here’s the rub. Speaking the same language does not necessarily mean shared understanding.

Everyone interprets language though unique, individualized brain filters. Common language allows generalized understanding. Excellent communication requires more — details and specifics. For excellence, understanding is vital and requires questions and answers. Sound bite speaking, and other versions of withholding information are barriers to excellent communication.

In fact, there are several barriers to excellence. If you find that communication is tripping you up at home, it’s usually problematic at work, too. Relationship coaching can help by introducing tools and practices to develop outstanding communication skills.

Positive and proactive communication obviously involves conversation with the presence of two or more people. A simple practice to ensure presence is to start conversations by asking if it’s a good time to talk. If the answer is “yes,” then continue. If the answer is “no,” ask when would, and pick up the conversation at that time.

While conversing, misunderstandings are kept at bay through seeking clarification every time there is any uncertainty. Even simple topics can lead to huge tangles with individualized interpretation. This isn’t right or wrong. It’s simply an aspect of being human.

To ensure you never go to bed mad, be willing to offer an apology. Apologizing demonstrates you’re more committed to the relationship than to being right. Relationships are stymied through judgments such as “I’m right” and “You’re wrong.” There is an element of truth in everyone’s point of view. We may not agree, but that doesn’t make the other person wrong. Acceptance and flexibility go a long way toward enjoying a sound relationship.