By: Toni Wright
Oftentimes when we’re communicating it’s just to respond and we’re not actually actively listening. Communication needs to not only be about active listening, but about listening to understand and comprehend. There are numerous ways to improve one’s communication skills with others, whether it is familial, platonic, or romantic.
1) Speak face to face – Texting is not beneficial when it comes to trying to communicate effectively. Pick a time where both parties are able to meet face to face. This way both parties are directly focused on one another and things are less likely to get misconstrued as they might through text.
2) Use “I” statements – When issues occur using “I” statements help the person feel less attacked. An alternative to saying, “YOU made me angry when…” is “I was feeling angry when THIS happened.”
3) Don’t interrupt or try to redirect the conversation to your worries – For instance, “If you think your day was bad, let me tell you about mine.” Actively listening and waiting to speak is not the same thing. One cannot actively listen and also think about what they’re going to say next when the other person is done speaking. The speaker will be able to tell that you are not giving them your full attention.
4) Look for compromise – Instead of focusing on who’s right or wrong or “winning” an argument try to settle in a place where both parties are happy. Whether it’s through compromise or finding an entirely new solution, it is important that both parties feel that they are getting what they want.
5) If you need help reach out for it – Sometimes communicating isn’t easy and during conflict it may be even more difficult to try and stay respectful or if the conflict doesn’t seem to be improving with solely just the two parties involved, it may be beneficial to see a therapist. Therapy can help one find new strategies to use when communicating that can be used to avoid future conflict.
If you or someone you know has trouble communicating and/or resolving conflict, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/.