Saturday, August 11, 2012

Conversation killers in relationships

Conversation killers in relationships

There is no question that hostile verbal attacks or emotional shutdowns wreak havoc on conversations and the relationship as a whole. There are numerous, more subtle mistakes couples make when conversing. In fact, partners don't often recognize when they are making these blunders. Here are a few of the most common conversation killers in relationships:

* Minimizing the other's feelings. You minimize a partner's feelings when you convey the idea that he or she is wrong to feel a certain way. "Don't be so upset... I can't believe you are getting so angry...You are making a big deal out of nothing... You are too emotional etc." Your partner may be overreacting; however, it is better to ask questions such as "Why do you feel that way?" than to automatically judge the other's feelings as unnecessary or wrong.

* Hasty reassurances. Statements like "I'm sure you'll do fine... Don't worry about it... Everything will turn out fine" and so forth, may sound reasonable but can come off as dismissive. It looks as if you are just trying to get the conversation over with.

* Parental comments. Anything you say that comes off as a scolding or conveys the idea that you "know best" will not be appreciated. It shows a lack of respect for the other's opinions. If your partner feels talked down to, you're coming off as a parent.

* Childish comments. Do you whine? Do you have temper tantrums or stomp your feet when you don't get your way? Do you pout? Ask yourself how emotionally old you feel at such times. Act mature.

* Silence. Making comments such as "Uh huh... Interesting ... Wow... Tell me more" and so on indicate that you are really listening. Nonverbal indicators are important, too, such as eye contact or a gentle touch.

* Hearing the words but not understanding the message. Don't nitpick about details you disagree with and overlook the main concerns that your partner might have. Don't get bogged down on the fine points of a disagreement.

* Making "Hurry up!" comments or gestures. Trying to get your partner to speed through his or her comments conveys impatience. Maybe you're partner is talking too long or not getting to the point. But acting impatient won't help. An honest and respectful way to respond might be, "Can you tell me what your main concern is first and then you can fill in all the details? You're saying quite a lot. Can we take your points one at a time

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