Overcoming barriers to effective communication in a relationship helps to create a conducive interpersonal climate for the couple to thrive. Lack of emotional disclosure, even unpleasant ones in a relationship, erects barriers and diminishes intimacy between couples. When a couple takes to the following key steps outlined hereunder, they will improve their chances of overcoming the barriers to effective communication.
1. Avoid Abstract, General Statements
Statements like “I feel bad,” I’m happy,” and “I’m sad” are general, abstract and lack clarity because they do not communicate what the speaker is feeling. Does “I feel bad” point to feelings of depression, anger, guilt, shame or anxiety? Does “I’m happy mean the speaker is in love, pleased with the promotion at work, satisfied at achieving a goal or delighted to be eating a cake? Hence, clarity in communication is a crucial factor that must be reckoned with in overcoming the barriers to effective communication in a relationship.
2. Take Responsibility For Your Feelings
We thrust up obstacles to effective communication when we disown personal responsibility for our feelings. Our feelings arise from our perception and interpretation of what others say or do. Nobody else can make us feel anything; we decide what the actions of others mean to us. Thus the statement “you make me angry” could be couched more effectively to reflect clarity and ownership of feelings and communicate a solution. The revised statement could read like this “I feel inconsequential to you when you don’t call as promised. It would be nice if you could work on calling and it’s okay to keep the calls short sometimes.”
3. Discard Counterfeit Emotional Language
The statement “why can’t you leave me alone” is a counterfeit emotional language because it does not actually describe what the speaker is feeling. Providing a clear description of our feelings and its connection to the behaviour of others helps to foster understanding between people. A more constructive statement is “I feel frustrated because when I’m working and you start joking around, I lose concentration.”
Overcoming barriers to effective communication in a relationship is an effort that requires commitment from both parties.