He says to-may-to, you say to-mah-to.
Does this seem to describe a lot of the arguments you have with your significant other? Do you often find yourself having to repeat the things you say to your husband or BF because he either doesn’t understand what you’re saying or never seems to listen to what you have to say?
Talking is not the same as communicating. And communication problems are actually common in most relationships, whether you’re just starting out or have been together for quite some time.
Here’s a short quiz to help you find out if—tomatoes aside—you and your guy are on the same page.
[Click here to find out how you and your guy can work through your miscommunication issues.]
(Photo from He’s Just Not That Into You courtesy of Warner Bros Pictures)
It’s common for couples to have difficulty communicating, and even the most sizzling relationships will cool down fast if you and your partner never agree on anything. Remember that being able to talk to and understand each other is just as effective a tool as physical intimacy when it comes to moving your relationship to a new level. Read the following tips on making sure that you and your guy are on the same wavelength.
You may have turned into the girlfriend who says “We need to talk” over every little issue or misdemeanor (real or imagined). Choose your battles, and figure out what merits a “talk” and what can be resolved by yourself. As they say, don’t sweat the small stuff, so learn to forgive the little things.
2. MAKE TIME FOR JUST THE TWO OF YOU.
If your conversations now consist mostly of responses like “uh huh,” “okay,” and an absentminded “yes,” then you may be communicating but not connecting. Take time out to reconnect with each other and avoid monotony. Set aside a regular time when neither of you can be disturbed or reached, and just focus on each other.
3. DON’T PLAY MIND GAMES.
Aileen Santos, a US-trained relationship coach, says that you should call out your boyfriend when he makes comparisons. No one likes being compared to another person. But Aileen also suggests a reverse tactic may be more effective than a head-on one. She says, “Make him understand how these comparisons make you feel. Gently tell him that you don’t compare him to your father because you know he wouldn’t like it either.”
4. TALK HIS TALK.
He may have a different love language from yours. Renowned marriage counselor Dr. Gary Chapman says that there are five different love languages or ways through which we express our emotions: acts of service, words of affirmation, quality time, physical touch, and receiving gifts.
You and your man may not have the same love language, and that’s perfectly fine. But knowing each other’s primary love language is the key to recognizing when your guy is showing how much he loves you.
5. KNOW HIS REASONS.
Men are natural-born problem solvers, and women are natural-born talkers. And while there may be people who don’t fit this mold, they are more exceptions rather than the rule. So when he offers you advice, it is actually his way of showing he cares—by trying to solve your problems so you’ll be rid of them. You, on other hand, may just want a listening ear.
Let your guy know that, when you share the things that bother you, it doesn’t always mean you want him to fix it. Tell him that, sometimes, all you want to do is vent. If that doesn’t work, you may want to turn to your girl friends, who will fully understand your need to just let it out and whine at length.
6. SAY WHAT YOU FEEL.
No one can read the mind of another, and it is a common relationship mistake to assume that your partner will automatically know what you’re thinking about or what you need because you’ve been together for a while. Cut your guy some slack for “not getting it.” Reach out to him by starting off with, “I feel” or “I think” rather than “you should have” or “you did this/that.”
7. GIVE HIM SPACE.
It is natural for men to deal with problems by holing up in “their caves.” According to Dr. John Gray, PhD, author of the best selling book Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus, men have their own caves, outside which they figuratively post signs stating "Please do not disturb."
When vulnerable, men like to retreat into their own world where they feel they are in control. Give you guy some space when he’s upset, but let him know that you’ll be ready to talk only when he is as well. You’ll find that he’ll be in better shape to listen and understand after he’s had time alone to think.
8. KNOW WHEN TO KEEP QUIET.
You may think it’s cute to finish each other’s sentences, but one of the key principles of keeping communication lines open in any relationship is being able to listen. While you may know each other so well that you can predict what your guy is about to say, effective communication includes being able to listen without interrupting and, yes, letting him finish his sentences.
9. CHOOSE THE RIGHT WORDS.
Watch how you frame your “requests.” Do they come out as malambing, or do they sound more like thinly veiled commands based on a feeling of entitlement because you’re the girlfriend? Don’t sabotage your relationship by turning it into “me vs. your buddies” or “me vs. your family.” Ultimatums have a way of backfiring. Your requests will be better received when they are made without expectation of fulfillment.
10. SET LIMITS.
Both communication and relationship experts will tell you that timing is everything. So make sure that you don’t vent when he’s watching his favorite sport or caught up playing his favorite video game. You’ll get a totally different and better reaction when he’s not distracted.
Read these articles for more tips:
- Relationships 101: How to Communicate Effectively as a Couple
- Talking Tips: How to Improve Communication in Your Relationships
- Misunderstood? Bianca King on her “Walkout" issue + 5 Ways to Avoid Miscommunication
- 5 Problems Plaguing Kris Aquino and James Yap's Marriage + Dealing with These Relationship Ills