What’s more important than nurturing and deepening our relationships. Our relationships with others can offer us the most mind blowing insight into ourselves, great joy and massive growth. It’s in our relationships with our loved ones and community that we are able to practice using our tools, being our best selves and stepping into a new realm of communication. Our relationships act as the training ground for us to practice what it means to communicate effectively, love deeply, boldly show up and truly reflect and look within.
So what does it really take to have incredible, fun, loving and fulfilling relationships? We can probably both agree that it takes a lot of growing, flexibility and practice. Below are four meaningful and simple things to start doing in your relationships today, so you can create even more understanding, connection and harmony.
1) Listen Even More Carefully
This is a big one! One of the most important things you can do is practice being an amazing and present listener. How often do you find yourself in a conversation with someone you love where they are barely hearing you, not being present and often waiting for you to stop talking so that they can talk about themselves. We have all been there and had this experience. Now think for a moment about a conversation you have had in the past few months where you were talking to someone and you felt totally heard, appreciated and honored. How good did that feel? Imagine if you decided to bring this into your relationships in an even greater way … think of how that could positively impact your level of communication, intimacy and connection. The more you listen (with full attention and care), the more deeply connected you’ll feel to that person. We can probably both agree that there’s a beautiful ripple effect that occurs from practicing amazing listening and real presence in our conversations. See if you can become even more aware of your listening over the next few days. Practice listening more than you speak and really leaning into your conversations with great care and appreciation.
2) Expand Your Awareness
Your level of self-awareness is essential to being an effective and powerful communicator in your relationships. The more awareness you have – of yourself, the people around you, the space you’re in and so on – the more easily you can build rapport and trust in your conversation. Perhaps you begin to notice that the room feels a bit chilly and the person you’re talking to is looking cold. Maybe you notice that the music is a bit too loud to really stay connected in the conversation you’re having. You may become aware of your pattern of saying the word “like” or “ya know.” There are many things to notice, both about yourself and your environment, that will allow you to have even more influence in a situation. For example, when you’re in a heightened state of awareness and you notice the person next to you is cold, perhaps you offer your coat or ask to turn the heat up. If you can’t connect easily because of the volume of the music, you may ask to lower it or lean in closer to continue the connection. And if you hear yourself saying “filler words” over and over, perhaps you create an anchor to remind you pause and stop that pattern. These are all examples of how having greater and more expanded self and situational awareness allows you to tap into your charisma, influence and power in an even greater way. Practice expanding your level of awareness next time you are out to dinner or in public. You’ll start to experience your environment in a whole new way.
3) Consider How You Want The Other Person To Feel Before, During & After
This one’s a game changer – especially in your intimate relationships! Consider how you want the other person to feel before, during and after your conversation. When was the last time you sat down to consider how you wanted your partner to feel before, during and after your interaction about something? Most people don’t regularly take the time to do this practice in their relationships, as it’s not uncommon for most conversations to arise from emotion, being triggered or in reaction to something. Take a moment to imagine how your relationships would change for the better if you started to practice mindful communication. What if you took 5-10 minutes before an important or meaningful conversation to think of how you want the other person to feel before, during and after your discussion. It may look something like this: You sit down with your journal, take some deep breaths and then begin to write. Before: I want my partner to feel seen, appreciated, held and relaxed. During: I want my partner to feel my excitement and gratitude for the relationship. After: I want my partner to feel giddy, light, joyful and loved. This practice is a true magic maker, as it sets your conversations up for success, plants empowering seeds and allows you to connect deeper with Why you’re having the discussion. When you create space and time to consider how you want your partner to feel, the level of TLC in the relationship skyrockets. Practice this next time you are about to have an important chat with your loved one or friend.
4) Express Appreciation, Similarity and / or Compassion
It’s so important during conversations to express appreciation, similarity and/or compassion to both build rapport and create an even deeper connection. How wonderful does it feel to be fully appreciated by the person you’re communicating with? For example, it could sound something like: “Thank you so much for sharing that. I really appreciate you allowing me to see and hear you in this way.” It feels absolutely incredible to be fully received and honored in a moment of sharing. Another way to build rapport is to express some similarity between yourself and the other person. For example, it could sound something like: “Wow! Thank you for sharing that. I can absolutely relate to what you’re describing and I recently went through something similiar.” This allows you to connect on a deeper and more intimate level, which continues to build the level of rapport you’re experiencing. Lastly, expressing some compassion is an amazing way to elevate your conversation and connection. It may sound like: “I really feel and see where you are coming from. My heart is full of gratitude for us having this conversation and for you sharing this with me.” Taking a moment to share compassion with the other person is a beautiful way to honor them and show that you really care about their story or experience. Adding these three simple and meaningful points to your conversations will lead to having more rapport, more connection and more trust in your relationships.
All relationships require TLC, openness, flexibility and reflection. By practicing these tools in your communication with the people you love, you begin to step further into your own growth and learning, which is a truly essential piece of the puzzle. By being the best you that you can be, you’ll inspire those around you and create even more fulfilling relationships in every area of your life. Implement these shifts in your relationships and continue to flex the muscle of being a responsible and impeccable communicator. It’s SO worth it!