Better Conversations: Avoid These Five Common Mistakes
I´ll learn you 5 things to avoid, so you can have those deep and meaningfull conversations you long for.
It´s a rare thing in relationships to have deep respectful conversations where you truly listen, are listened to, are present, considerate, feel understood and heard.
And that is a shame because it is exactly what most people want. It is an opportunity to share everything, where you are each other’s best friend, and come to understand where your partner is in the relationship.
There are obstacles in having better conversations and like all obstacles, they need to be overcome and/or removed . To achieve a certain goal in life, like wanting to have ‘better and deeper conversations’, there are often things you have to do less of and things you have to more of to reach your goal.And this goal is all about you. It is about what YOU can do differently in a conversation.
The magic happens when you start changing your behavior which will result in your partner adapting his or her reaction.
Your changes will often help change things overall without having to directly involve your partner.
Naturally you will get better and quicker results if you both work on your respective behavior but let us start with you.
I don't recommend you make all five changes at once. Rather, determine what makes sense to you and keep in mind that all changes take time. Smaller alterations often have a greater impact in the long term.
It's much better to fully integrate a change than be just dabbling with many changes without mastering any.
Five common mistakes to avoid:
1) You choose to have serious conversations when you are already emotionally worked up.
Most people tend to do this because it's instinctive.
I am having issues right now and I want to solve them now.
What would happen if you instead waited and set aside a time with your partner to talk?
If you could ask your partner: “Do you have the time to talk to me about xxxxx? It's bugging me and I'd like to know what you're thinking.”
Then the issue is addressed once you're both ready and neither of you is upset and you each have the time to think about the input of the conversation.
2) You forget to listen to your partner
This is much too common in many conversations.
Each of you is having a monologue instead of a dialogue.
You are both busy in your heads always wanting to state your respective points of view.
So when your partner talks, you are distracted by your inner chatter and coming up with answers or what you want to say next rather than trying to listen to what the partner has to say.
So next time, try to listen, really listen – this is a skill you can practice.
In the beginning it is usually very difficult but it's not impossible.
3) You belittle and attack
But I have to point out that you can still give constructive criticism to your partner without mudslinging and harsh accusations which leave your partner feeling like an idiot.
When we live with other people we simply cannot avoid the fact that we sometimes hurt each other and we have to be able to talk about it.
If you have a partner who is genuinely a good person, you have to consider that perhaps their intentions may actually be good.
That it was not his or her intention to upset you or make you sad.
The next time you feel bad, peacefully tell your partner how you felt in that particular situation. Tell him or her that you know that it wasn’t their intention to hurt you but they did.
The great majority of conversations end as they started. If you start by accusing your partner in a harsh tone – the risk is that your partner will react in the same harsh tone.
4) You won't talk
Most people will either start a big argument or simply not talk when they are hurt.
Your partner will most likely notice that something is wrong.
You are perhaps more quiet than usual or abrupt and your partner doesn't know what's wrong.
He or she will not learn anything from the experience.
As a starting point, assume that your partner does not want to hurt you – why would he or she do that?
The next time you're in this situation try to notice what thoughts and things you say to yourself that keep you from opening up to your partner.
5) You are an expert in passive-aggressive behavior
This means that instead of telling your partner what you are going through and what you are thinking, you have a tendency of becoming frustrated and using sarcasm as your greatest weapon.
Conversations will only end up as battles when the main goal is to find out who will win.
I would just like to remind you that if you have a winner, you also have a loser.
This does not help engender a feeling of togetherness as a team and as a couple.
Remember that this is an acquired behavior and yes, you can change it.
Instead of passive-aggressive responses, check in with yourself: “Hmm... What is it that I am actually so upset about?”
Then try to practice saying it in a constructive way. It is difficult but not impossible.
Do your best to eliminate these five mistakes and conversations with your partner will most certainly improve in the long run - And THAT´S a promise ❤
Maj Wismann - Relationship Therapist and Clinical Sexologist since 2006
Want to read more about better conversations in relationships? Read my guide here:
9 Easy steps to better communication in relationships ❤
★ Do you have a great tip for better conversations that works for you? What mistake will you work on? I would love to read your comment ❤
* Please remember to keep a nice tone, ALL negative comments will be deleted immediately; I wish to create a positive and supporting space, where we can help each other and because of this I have a zero tolerance policy to rudeness, condescension and negative inputs.