Let's face it--like it or not--women tend to be the chattier of the sexes. But who wouldn't enjoy knowing her boyfriend a bit better? How can we girlfriends stack the cards in our favor? No more hiding the remote and hoping for the best, ladies. The keys to better communication may be easier than you think.
Be authentic. Telling your boyfriend how you truly feel is telling him who you are. If you're pretending to be someone you're not, then you're wasting both his time and yours. Don't distort yourself in order to be someone you think he wants. All that will accomplish is a watering down of your personality and, ultimately, your appeal.
Exercise gentleness. Keeping a spirit of acceptance, empathy and non-judgment is key in hearing and being heard. Communication is about being open, and it's difficult to be open when you feel as if you could be hurt at any time.
Ask open-ended questions. Approaching your man with inquiries that illicit a simple "yes" or "no" response and then expecting a lengthy or in-depth conversation surely sets you up for disappointment. Delve into what's on his mind by asking him what he thinks, how he feels or why he's motivated by what he loves in life.
Listen to your partner intently, and reflect what it is that you're hearing. This process is what mental health therapists call "mirroring." Imago Relationships International, a nonprofit counseling group, recommends ending with, "Did I get that?" or "Did I miss anything?" Summing up what your partner says, rather than interjecting your own view, is an excellent way to help him feel heard. When your boyfriend is feeling heard, he is more likely to open up and share even more with you.
Be willing to be vulnerable. Letting someone into your mind and heart takes courage--and practice. If he sees you opening up, he'll feel safer doing the same. Also feel free to acknowledge his bravery if he suddenly lets you in on a topic he hasn't in the past. He will feel comforted knowing that you could see how difficult that was for him.
Learn to stop arguments before they escalate. John Gottman, a psychologist who specializes in marriage and relationship counseling, states that successful repair and exit attempts are a major part of what separates the happy couples from those on rocky ground. According to his website, popular repair attempts include, "changing the topic to something completely unrelated; using humor; stroking your partner with a caring remark... and, in general, offering signs of appreciation for your partner and his or her feelings along the way."
- love couple image by Kurhan from Fotolia.com