12 Tips to Improve Relationship Communication

These 12 tips will help build your relationship communication skills and maintain healthier connections with others

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If you've ever asked someone for relationship advice, they've probably told you that communication is key to a successful relationship.

They're not wrong. But how do you get there? What does healthy relationships communication even mean?

In this article, we'll explain why good communication skills are so important in a relationship, and share our 12 best tips for improving the way you communicate with loved ones.

Why Communication Matters in Relationships

Communication lays the foundation for any relationship. Here's how:

It determines how people you care about understand you and your feelings.

People won't know how much you appreciate them unless you tell them. People also won't know you're upset or hurt unless you tell them. Without strong communication, it's impossible for you and your partner to be on the same page.

It sets the tone for your relationship.

For example, if you tend to communicate with your partner in an aggressive way and default to harsh judgment, chances are they'll match your energy and come back with the same. This can cause you to hurt each other and say things you don't mean.

It creates resiliency in relationships.

Learning how to communicate effectively can take relationships to the next level - resiliency.

Healthy relationships are resilient to conflict. Rather than one mishap leading to a blowout fight that destroys the relationship, strong relationships communication can help you work through anything thrown your way.

Learn more about what healthy relationships look like →

It may be time to improve your relationships communication skills if:
  • You feel like you and your partner never see eye to eye
  • You feel like it's difficult to talk about your feelings
  • You often have fights that go nowhere
  • You rehash the same disagreements over and over

12 Tips to Improve Relationships Communication

1. Use "I" Statements

Rather than make accusations or judgment calls about your partner - for example, "You always ignore me" - speak from the heart about your feelings and use "I" statements ("I feel lonely").

Remember, you can never assume where someone else is coming from.

2. Know Their Communication Style

One of the most important factors in effective relationships communication is communication styles. Different communication styles work better for different people. For example, some people may appreciate very upfront, blunt communication because it is less confusing. For others, this may feel harsh and insensitive.

Make sure to have conversations with your partner about how they like to communicate.

3. Exercise Empathy

When communicating with your partner, be sure to "put yourself in their shoes" and try to understand where they are coming from. This will help you come to better compromises.

Don't forget to also show yourself empathy, and avoid self-judgment about how you may be feeling. Owning your emotions will help you communicate better with your partner.

Learn more about empathy and how to extend empathy to yourself →

4. Ask Questions

It may seem too simple, but asking questions goes a long way in relationships communication. Ask your partner how they are feeling or what's on their mind regularly - not just during arguments.

When you share your thoughts and opinions about the relationship, ask them if they agree or disagree.

5. Maintain Intimacy

Especially during difficult or sensitive conversations, intimacy is a key part of relationships communication. Don't lose sight of your connection to the person just because you are discussing a tough subject.

You can affirm them verbally ("I really care about you...") while expressing your point of view, or physically by holding their hand or sitting next to them.

6. Express Gratitude

Maybe the most important thing to remember when communicating with your partner is to communicate about positive feelings - not just negative ones!

Express your gratitude for your partner by affirming them (in their love language, of course) to make sure they know you care. This helps you celebrate the good together.

7. Pay Attention to Body Language

Ever heard the phrase, "a picture is worth a thousand words?" In relationships communication, your body language often does most of the talking, whether you realize it or not.

Standing over your partner, crossing your arms, or walking away can create a sense of distance or control. Make sure you're on a level playing field, sit beside them, and keep your body language open rather than closed off.

8. Prepare for the Conversation

Make sure you think carefully about what you want to say before raising concerns with your partner. Think about what you want them to understand, and how they may receive what you say.

You can try working out your feelings first by journaling with a journal app like Jour before a difficult conversation. Jour's personalized journal prompts will help you put words to your feelings and better understand your own point of view.

Learn more scientifically proven health benefits of journaling

9. Be Willing to Compromise

In relationships communication, it's vital to be willing to meet your partner half way and compromise.

Part of empathetic listening is recognizing that your ideal outcome and theirs may not be the same. It's best to find a middle ground that is acceptable for both parties than to force the other person to bend to your will.

10. Give Undivided Attention

When you're communicating in relationships - whether on a normal, casual day or in the context of a serious discussion - make sure you're focused and listening to what your partner has to say.

Looking at your phone or multitasking can make your partner feel unheard.

11. Know When to Let it Go

Not every argument will have a clean resolution, and part of forgiveness is letting bygones be bygones. Choose your battles wisely.

When you've already discussed a concern and come up with a solution, continuing to bring it up to make a partner feel guilty can lead to resentment.

12. Journal for Introspection

In order to communicate how you feel to another person, you kinda have to understand your own feelings first. This is why introspection matters in relationships.

A daily journaling habit with a journaling app like Jour can help you track your mood and better understand how you feel and why. It's a great tool for getting to know yourself better, so that you can have healthier relationships!

Communicate Better for a Stronger Relationship

Strong communication is often touted as the secret to success in a relationship, but it can be difficult to know what that really looks like.

To improve your relationships communication, know your partner's communication style and seek to understand their point of view through empathy and asking questions. Make an effort to understand your own emotions and prepare for more serious conversations ahead of time.

And if you need help figuring out how to articulate all those confusing emotions that come up in relationships? Remember, the Jour app always has your back.