- Do you hear me? - We've learned to use words as a shield, as a sword to cut deep, and as a way to take care of business. But listening is a tool we've overlooked-one that will bring us closer to the people we love, psychologists say. Most of us don't listen with the intent of understanding. We listen with the intent of replying.
- Explain, don't blame - Many see finger-pointing as a put-down, to keep them receptive to what you're saying, always come from an I not you standpoint. Framing your statements like this: "I feel upset when you...," "What I'd really like..," "I get depressed when..."
- Don't nag, brag - What we all crave is positive reinforcement, nagging is just the opposite. With you continually focused on what he/she doesn't accomplish, he/she may unconsciously be living down to your diminished expectations of him/her. Praising them for doing what they should be doing anyway may seem silly and unnecessary but many identify with achievement, with action, with getting it done.
- Listen for "I love you," but watch for it, too - They bring home their paycheck. They buy your tampons. They walk the dog late at night. Are you getting the message? Some people's "language" has no vowels, consonants or verbs. If you're not trained to 'hear' his/her language, you'll miss out on all the heartfelt 'I love you' messages constantly being sent to you.
- Choose your opportunities; choose your battles - It may be a cliché, but timing really is everything. Look for opportunities-such as car trips-when you have their undivided attention. Better yet, build them into your lifestyle. Daily walks, weekend excursions and other couple time will create that space and bring you closer. Sometimes, the best time to bring up that issue is never. Sisters in successful long-term relationships say they've learned to let some little things go.
Smooches & Communicative Quick Claps