As bland as this title may sound, I guarantee you, it is THE tool in relationships that can help you determine if you’re with the right person or save you a ton of aggravation if you find yourself with the wrong person.
Let’s use an example.
Steve has been on three dates with Stacey. After each one, he follows up with a phone call, but Stacey never picks up. She responds but only after a few days have passed. Steve is confused, “She keeps going out on dates with me so she must be interested but then she disappears, only to resurface days later.”
Steve has an anxious attachment style, so he needs reassurance from the person he’s dating.
Stacey has an avoidant style, so she needs her space and independence.
Steve says nothing to Stacey. He’s been told in past relationships that he’s too needy, so he holds back so as not to scare her off.
But what Steve needs to do is use effective communication.
Here’s what that would look like.
“Stacey, I’ve enjoyed going out with you and you seem to feel the same way but then you don’t return my calls for days. I’m looking for someone who can be responsive in a relationship. Are you able to do that?”
Stacey could respond in several ways but what she says next will tell Steve volumes about their potential together.
If she’s responsive and genuinely concerned about his wellbeing, that’s a strong indicator that Stacey would be a good match.
However, if she instead tries to dodge the question, gets defensive or makes him feel foolish or needy, he should see these as warning signs that Stacey isn’t right for him.
People with anxious or avoidant styles find it hard to use effective communication.
It’s hard for them to identify what’s bothering them. They get overwhelmed by emotions and lash out.
And then from there, it’s hard to have constructive discourse.
If you identify with either the anxious or avoidant style, you can still communicate effectively. It just takes some practice.
Here’s how to do it:
- Be honest about what you’re feeling
- Express your needs by using words like need, feel or want
- Be specific. State precisely what is bothering you. If you’re too general, she won’t understand.
- Don’t blame – do it at a time when you’re calm. That will help.
- Be assertive – your needs are valid. She may not see them as legitimate but they’re important to you and that’s all that matters.
You can avoid so much drama in your relationships by using effective communication.
It will help you choose your partners more effectively as well as turn a perceived weakness into a strength.
Instead of trying to conceal your needs out of fear you’ll be perceived as weak or needy, you can communicate in a confident, assertive way.