In a friendship, relationship or marriage, respectful communication is a key element of a successful partnership. When communication breaks down or disrespectful behavior becomes the norm, the relationship can suffer and possibly even end. True communication involves respect. If spouses or partners no longer communicate respectfully, it is no longer a marriage or relationship, asserts Amy Bellows, Ph.D., writing for PsychCentral. Recognizing the signs of a lack of respect is a solid starting point to rebuilding the relationship and improving communication skills with one another.
Rejecting Thoughts and Ideas
Often times, people reject another person’s thoughts and ideas when their views do not align. It may be an unconscious action, according to Bellows, but it is a definite sign that a lack of respect exists. These conversations can lead to debates, arguments and even threats if respectful communication is not practiced. Improve dialogue with the other person by sincerely listening to his viewpoints. Even if you do not agree, allowing the other person to express himself shows that you value his perspective.
Ignoring Each Other
It is tempting to tune someone out when she annoys or irritates you, however, ignoring a person is a sign of disrespect. Solid communication requires effort, and the silent treatment only perpetuates anger and hurt feelings. Take the time to carefully explain why you cannot listen if you are in the midst of a task. If not, avoid rudely ignoring the other person and be fully involved and engaged in conversation to show respect. Encourage the other person to fully express her feelings so that you also have the opportunity to do the same when you need to talk. Make eye contact and exhibit positive body language, such nodding your head or leaning forward, to show that you respect this person, even if the topic of conversation does not necessarily interest you.
When in a relationship, it is important to establish boundaries and limits regarding personal space, time and means of communication. When a person is unwilling to allow you your personal space or demands your attention at all times, it is a sign that there is a lack of respect occurring. In a PsychCentral article, Margarita Tartakovsky, M.S., advocates that couples should know their own limits and make them clear to each other. Identify your physical, spiritual, mental and emotional limits and communicate what makes you uncomfortable or stressed. For example, if you need emotional support, identify phrases that your partner uses that are not helpful and you consider disrespectful. If you feel that the person is disrespecting your religious views with inappropriate language or offensive comments, communicate this concern. Nurture your personal space by letting your loved one know when you need time alone, too.
Trust is one of the most important attributes of a successful friendship or relationship. When someone violates that trust by telling a lie, keeping secrets or talking viciously behind someone else’s back, it is a clear sign that the relationship lacks respect. Trust is not automatic, suggest Linda and Charlie Bloom, family therapists with PsychCentral. The Blooms write that trust is built day by day in relationships through genuine discussions and respectfully working through conflicts. If a breach of trust occurs, it is important for both parties to honestly admit any wrongdoing, create a plan to prevent this lack of respect in the future and work to forgive one another.
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