On Communication

The number one problem as defined by couples is typically communication. As a therapist the words “we need help communicating” has come to mean a lot of different things. It can mean everything from we hardly talk about our problems to we don’t have sex enough.

However, there is one tool that can help any and everyone communicate better. Don’t make assumptions. When you feel yourself building a story about an interaction with someone use that as a question to check in with that person. Say something like, “when you said     fill in the blank    I thought you meant     fill in the blank   , is that what you meant?”

A large part of communication is the exchange of information and so often despite communication skills or being as clear as we think we can be, the information is straight up misinterpreted. And when two people are operating from two different understandings of the same information that is the beginning of the communication problem.

So head it off at the pass, nip it in the bud, and quash that argument before it happens. Simply follow up and make sure you are both understanding each other before you get angry, hurt, sad, anxious, or feel your relationship is doomed.

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