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Dating Romantic

Communicate More Effectively By Doing The Following

1. Give feedback rather than criticism. As stated, some people have issues that may need addressing. A friend who's chronically late on bill payments could use some guidance. A co-worker who's consistently late for meetings may need to work on time management. However, feedback is very different from criticism. When addressing an issue, focus on suggestions you can make to help another person improve. This is more effective than simply criticizing. People tend to respond better to productive statements, offering them feedback and encouragement, over flat-out criticism.[10]

Let's return to an earlier example. Your boyfriend always forgets to pay his phone bill on time each month. This leads to unnecessary stress and is starting to affect his credit rating. You may be inclined to say something like, "Why can't you pay more attention to bills?" or "Why don't you just remember when it's due?" This may not be helpful. Your boyfriend already knows he needs to be more conscientious but, for whatever reason, is struggling to do so.

Instead, provide feedback rooted in praise that works towards a solution. Say something like, "I love that you're trying to be more responsible. Why don't we get you a big calendar from the Staples downtown? When you phone bill comes, you can write down when it's due." You can also offer to help in any way you can. For example, "I can remind you to write down when the bill's due each month.


2. Ask for what you want directly. Inefficient communication often results in heavy criticism. If you're not telling someone what you want, that person cannot be expected to know. Make sure to ask for what you want in a direct, respectful manner. This will eliminate the need for criticism down the road.

Say your boyfriend always forgets to wash utensils after using them. Instead of letting your anger over this pile up, which could result in your criticizing later, address the problem right away.[12]

Be respectful when addressing the problem. Do not say, "Stop putting dirty forks in the sink. It drives me crazy. Just wash them." Instead, try something like, "Can you please work on washing your forks after you use them? I notice our utensils pile up a lot.


3. Use "I"-statements. Difficult situations do arise in any relationship. If someone hurt your feelings or upset you, this needs to be addressed. Instead of criticizing, express the problem using "I"-statements. "I"-statements are sentences structured in a way to emphasize your personal feelings over external judgement or blame.

An "I"-statement has three parts. It begins with "I feel," after which you immediately state your feeling. Then you explain the actions that lead to that feeling. Finally, you explain why you feel the way you do.

For example, say you're upset because your boyfriend has been spending the majority of his weekends with his friends. Do not say, "It's very hurtful that you spend all your time with your friends and don't invite me. I'm left out all the time."

Rephrase the above sentiment using an "I"-statement. Say something like, "I feel left out when you go out with your friends and don't invite me because I feel like you don't spend any downtime with me."


4. Consider the other party's perspective. Judgment and criticism go hand-in-hand. If you criticize others too often, you may be shutting out the other person's point of view. Try to step in another's person's shoes before criticizing. Genuinely try to see things from that person's perspective.

Think about the criticism you're about to say. How would you feel to be on the receiving end of that criticism? Even if what you're saying has some truth, are you phrasing it in a way that will go over well? For example, if your boyfriend is consistently late, you may be inclined to say, "You're being incredibly disrespectful to me by always showing up late." Chances are, your boyfriend is not trying to disrespect you and he may feel attacked by criticism phrased in this way. How would you feel to have someone lash out at you like this?

Also, try to consider outside factors that affect behavior. Say your best friend has been less social lately. She may not be returning your texts quickly or at all. Is there anything going on in her life that affects her behavior? For example, maybe you know she's stressed at work or school. Maybe she just went through a difficult breakup. This could be affecting her ability or her desire to socialize. Try to understand this and not jump to judgment.


5. Look for a mutually beneficial solution to problems. Finally, a good way to cut back on criticism is to look for a solution to issues you're having with others. Criticism should, ideally, be working towards an effective solution to a negative situation. Simply being critical in and of itself is not helpful.[15]

Tell someone what you want him or her to change. Let's return to the boyfriend example. Maybe you want your boyfriend to keep better track of time. Tell him ways he can get ready to go faster. Let him know what timeframes you're comfortable with. For example, maybe you strongly prefer to arrive at events slightly early. Let him know this so he makes an effort to be ready to go a little earlier.

You should also be willing to compromise. For example, getting to a party 30 minutes before it starts may be a bit much. Maybe you can agree to arrive 10 to 15 minutes early from now on instead.

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