You can't get through a day without communication. Whether it's communication with our clients, our co-workers, our friends, or our family, socialization and communication skills are going to make or break any relationship. Whether we like it or not. Communication can make or break a relationship. Knowing this at the beginning of a relationship can be key to building on a healthy foundation. When people first start to date, they usually take a lot of time, getting to know each other. They talk, they listen, and they plan activities and fun things to do, in order bond with each other. A new relationship is focused on making the other person feel good. Naturally, all this fun attention can create a bond and closeness with each other, and creates a commitment to one another. Once that commitment is secured, the priorities switch falling into a routine of responsibilities at work or the start of a family, and that is when communication can start to break down. It's important to know this at the beginning of your time together, possibly avoiding that communication gap.
Communication skills are learned. Many corporations offer communication classes and coaching to help build key business relationships So, when the communications isn't there, the relationship starts to break down. Communication is difficult at best, and it isn't always attributed to words alone. The speaking part of communication is only about 10 - 20%. The rest is based on tone of voice, your facial expressions, and your body language. Think of communication as an art. It needs to be presented in it's best possible form. Think of communication as a science in the ability to transfer an idea or thought from the mind of one human being to another. However, the complexity of communication is this: In order for it to be effective, it needs to be a two-way process.
One very important aspect of communication is the ability to listen. Listening is not a passive process, but rather an active process. Often when people argue, especially those that are in a deeply committed relationship, or even marriage, have a tendency to not listen, or they let their mind wander, thinking ahead to what their next line of defense is. Therefore, there is limited eye contact, and the argument can then become even more intense. Never argue when you are angry. You won't be able to listen. You need to give yourself enough time to cool off and go back to the subject when you are ready to listen, when you are ready to communicate.
Unfortunately, what many people don't realize is, communication can be stopped, and sometimes the person doesn't realize just how detrimental that can be. You can avoid communication altogether by avoiding a certain subject, making sure that it's never brought to the table. Or, one of the partners can divert the subject, kind of skirting over it and moving on to something else. Many times that's done to avoid an argument, but in fact it's doing much more harm than good.
Non-verbal communications is especially difficult. This is true in a new relationship. Many people don't know how to verbalize romantic details, so the approach they take is through non-verbal ways. If the flow of this communication is broken, (perhaps to explain that you'd love to do something, but you can't because) this can be misconstrued as a "no."
If you at any time feel that you are having a difficult time starting a conversation or topic, there are a number of ways to move it along. If you can't say it, then write it down. Maybe send a nice card or an email. Or ,there may be something you want to discuss, but are afraid to because at some point in your life, this topic got labeled as something you should not discuss. In this situation, if you can find someone to tell this to, it will help you realize you can discuss it. One you are comfortable moving the conversation into a flow, you will develop much better communication skills.
Bottom line is this: communication is part giving, and part taking. In order for a relationship to be healthy, both parties need to develop good communication skills. And that means being able to talk effectively to convey your feelings, and being able to listen without judging. Taking this into account, good communication will allow the relationship to grow in a healthy fashion... whether it's one that's brand new, or one that's been in the works for years.
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