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Dr. Steve Frisch, Psy.D. is a clinical psychologist in private practice in
Chicago, Illinois and Northfield, Illinois.

You can contact Dr. Frisch, Psy.D. at
(847) 498-5611.

How to Improve Your Relationship With Effective Communication
by Dr. Steve Frisch, Psy.D.

Have you ever stopped to think just how important effective communication is to the well-being of your relationships? When you express yourself to someone, you’re expressing more than just words. You’re expressing your thoughts, ideas, attitudes, values, priorities, and emotions about yourself, the people in your life, and the circumstances of your life. And don’t kid yourself, no matter what you actually say, there are hidden messages embedded in what you say. So not only is your relationship with other people impacted by what you say, it’s impacted by how you say what it is that you say.

Not only does what you say and how you say what you say influence how people think of you, it influences how people respond to you. There’s just no getting away from it—you’re always communicating something to somebody.

Now here’s why effective communication is so important to the good health and well-being of your relationships. The more effective a communicator that you are, the more likely you’ll get your emotional needs met in your relationships. What effective communication can do for you is put an end to the stalemates that occur between you and your partner when you believe you’ve communicated one idea but in actuality you’ve communicated something entirely different.

Since the health and well-beings is so dependent on how effectively you communicate let me give you a checklist that describes different qualities that characterize poor communication.

Bridge Builder’s Checklist
1.) Indirect communication that never clearly states what you want your partner to know or understand.
2.) Timid
3.) Hostile and accusatory
4.) Dishonest
5.) Veiled (you’re true message is embedded in other messages)
6.) Puzzling messages that requires your partner to interpret what you actually mean
7.) Dishonest

Not only is it helpful to know what elements make-up ineffective communication, it’s equally helpful to be able to envision what elements make-up effective communication.

Bridge Builder’s Checklist
1.) Direct
2.) Assertive
3.) Non-threatening
4.) Clear
5.) Honest
6.) Non-dominating whereas there is give and take
7.) Responsive to what your partner is expressing both verbally and non-verbally

You would be amazed how much your relationships grow once you become more comfortable communicating in a clear, open, and honest fashion. Once you become more skilled at how to express yourself in a way that your partner can hear you, you will discover how truly wonderful your relationship can be. So if you find yourself feeling discouraged or frustrated by the lack of receptiveness your partner is showing to what you are expressing remember the pitfalls of communication summed in the following quote by Oscar Wilde: I like hearing myself talk. It is one of my greatest pleasures. I often have long conversations with myself, and I am so clever that sometimes I don't understand a single word of what I am saying.

Bridge Builder’s Checklist
1.) Commit to being open, honest, and direct with your partner.
2.) Commit to being an active listener.
3.) Commit to openly and honestly communicating your emotional needs.
4.) Commit to using communication as a way of including rather than excluding people from your life.
5.) Commit to not using communication as a way of harming the people in your life.
6.) Commit to not using communication as a way of controlling other people.
7.) Commit to not using communication as a way of manipulating other people.
8.) Commit to not using communication as a way of shaming other people.
9.) Commit to not using what your partner communicates to you against your partner.

For more information about how to effectively express yourself, read chapter 3 (Communication) in Dr. Frisch’s, Psy.D. free online book, Building Better Bridges: Creating Great Relationships With the People Who Matter Most and read Dr. Frisch’s, Psy.D. free online book, Making Molehills Out of Mountains and Dr. Frisch’s, Psy.D. free online articles, Revealing Yourself—How to Make Yourself Known to Your Partner.



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