Communication is learned incredibly early in life. The way our parents talk to us as toddlers influences the way we talk to others as adults. It is this early in life where we learn communication styles that can be detrimental to communicating in relationships. Perhaps you grew up in a family that didn’t vocalize emotions or feelings, in a home where loud voices equated to power, or as part of a family that never listened to each other.

Can you see how these early experiences can play a pivotal role in the success of our future romantic relationships? Despite how we grew up, there are ways to change bad habits and unhealthy communication methods.

Time and Place Matters

Discussing finances in bed or on a date is a sure fire way to start an argument. Time and place play a big part in how well a conversation will go. It can sometimes help to pick a place and time specifically to have a certain conversation because it makes sure we are able to give our undivided attention to the topic at hand.

Perception is Key

Have you ever been in an argument with someone and they got upset after misunderstanding your words? In a relationship, this can be avoided simply by reflecting our partner’s words back to them. Phrases such as “Correct me if I’m wrong, but I think you’re saying…” allows us to communicate to our partner not only how their words are coming across, but how we absorb them. Communicating this way, without judgement, can help a couple understand how each other processes information, therefore helping them communicate more effectively.

Let Them Finish

Interruption can end an argument or conversation in an instant—and not in a good way. When we break off our partner’s thought by inserting our own, we show them that we are less concerned with what they are saying and feeling and more concerned about ourselves. We may not always like what we hear, but letting our partner finish what they are saying before we respond shows engagement and respect.

Be Present

Wandering eyes or a refusal to bring our eyes to our partner’s can hinder the connection necessary to have meaningful communication. If we’re fidgeting or constantly averting our gaze, it may seem like we’re not very interested in what our partner is saying. When talking to your loved one, your attention should be focused on them.

We talk to people more often during one day than we are probably even able to count, especially our partner. But are we able to say, with absolute confidence, that we are communicating effectively and meaningfully? Try out the tips above and take note of how much more productive communications with your partner are!