Communication is the most important thing in any relationship. Period. That we sometimes miscommunicate is normal, but most issues can be avoided and harmony restored by just following a few simple guidelines.

  1. Talk face-to-face whenever possible. If you are communicating about a problem of some kind, this is a must. Looking into the eyes of the one you care for is the best way to share your true feelings.
  2. Find the right time. Much of the time, we try to talk to our significant other when he or she is occupied with something else, and clarity can be hard to come by when you do that. Wait until you have the chance to really communicate.
  3. Rely on devices for information-exchange only. If you are going to have a serious conversation with someone, texts are not the way to go. Emailing will not serve you well here either. This goes back to Tip #1: if it’s personal, you will get a better resolution by talking face-to-face. When that’s not possible, apps like Skype and FaceTime can give you a much better connection.
  4. Use technology to increase intimacy and connection. If you start flirting at lunch via text, you’re more likely to have a romantic evening or, at the very least, increase your mutual desire. Being able to make your partner blush a little makes both of you want to communicate more on a nonverbal level.
  5. Ask for clarity. If you do not fully understand what the other person is saying or asking of you, get clarification. This can be a challenge when there is an emotional trigger in play, but that’s why this is so important. Without clear communication, you both will just be frustrated.
  6. Learn to respect and understand any cultural differences. These days, almost everyone is from somewhere else. Just coming from different cities can make a big difference— imagine a relationship between someone from New York City and someone from Palm Springs. Two completely differing lifestyles, climates, and ways of getting around. There is a natural learning curve when you become involved with anyone, so be patient.
  7. Take your time. Sometimes I talk too fast, and as I’ve become more aware of that, I’ve slowed down my speech. We talk a lot—and I want her to get me, and she wants me to understand her—so we take the time necessary to make sure we understand each other. This saves us from a lot of awkward moments and, no doubt, arguments that we have agreed are needless.
  8. HALT if you are Hungry, Angry, Lonely or Tired. It’s not a good time to have a discussion with anyone. Eat, calm down, talk with a good friend, and get some rest before you turn whatever you are feeling into a discussion point. Feelings are not facts, and what you are feeling may not be what you are really upset about. Take care of yourself, and then communicate.
  9. Always be truthful. I know that, from time to time, we all lie to save our partner’s feelings—it’s human. The problem is that if your mate finds out the truth, it will damage the core of your relationship: trust. Being honest up front can save you from a lot of pain down the road.
  10. Don’t sit on your pain. If something is troubling you, it’s best to talk about it sooner than later. You can give it a day to go away (and most things do), but if it lasts for two or more days, please start talking. This conversation is very important.

There are many more communication tools at the touch of a mouse, so if you have a problem and are not sure how to present it to the one you love, read a few articles. The answers you need are out there.

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