Effective interpersonal communication is a top priority and a necessity in any relationship, but most importantly with the people you love. In order to get to know someone better, grow closer or remain close, it is mandatory that both people open up completely.
What does “open up emotionally” mean?
Let’s use a little bit of imagery. If you buy a rosebud from the florist with the hope and belief that it will open up to reveal a beautiful and fragrant flower, then won’t you feel ripped off if it remains just a bud? The same holds true for love relationships.
Opening up means that you recognize and honor the past hurts and insecurities in yourself and the other person. It also means that even though those hurts and insecurities exist, you still remain emotionally available and vulnerable. In order to achieve this type of communication in a relationship, both people need to learn the art of effectively speaking and emotionally sharing with each other. In other words, they need to open up so that their love can bloom and blossom into something beautiful and lasting.
Oh my goodness! Don’t you think that it is scary to remain emotionally available and vulnerable?
If you answered “yes,” then maybe this post will help you see that there is so much to gain in a relationship if both people will let go and remain open.
26 Ways To Effectively Communicate & Open Up Emotionally
Solid and continuous communication in an emotionally safe environment is vital to a healthy loving relationship. Listed below are some ways that you can nurture a relationship into a force that is indestructible and impenetrable.
- Ignore your fear of rejection – One of the first posts I ever wrote was called, “And This Is What I’ve Become…” and is a perfect example of the devastating effect of giving into the fear of rejection. So what happens if you are rejected? You might get your feelings hurt or become angry, but you are still the same person with the same wonderful traits and characteristics. If you are in a truly loving relationship, you won’t be rejected. It is imperative to let go of the fear and simply open up so that the other person can understand you, your point of view and your feelings.
- Expect to make mistakes – Not only will you make mistakes in conversations, but so will the other person. Remember, we are all flawed humans.
- Forgive – Since we are only human and make mistakes, learn to forgive quickly. When you’ve been hurt, take steps to work through the pain and truly forgive.
- Don’t judge, shame or accuse – One of the fastest ways to make a conversation deteriorate is to judge, shame or accuse the other person. Talk about the issues and state your opinion or belief, but allow the other person the same courtesy.
- Communication is a privilege not a burden – When someone opens up emotionally to share their life, it is a privilege, not a burden to listen to them. They have trusted and honored you with personal information. It is your responsibility to keep it private.
- Keep humor available – It is important to keep humor close when communicating. Not only will it lighten a tense moment, but it helps to keep both people open and relaxed.
- Listen intently – Listen not only with your ears, but also with your eyes. Pay attention to the needs of the other person during the conversation and be available to respond accordingly.
- Hear the conversation – Be open to listening. Don’t tune out the other person. Be aware of opportunities to talk to one another.
- Be honest – No matter how hard it is to be honest, do it. The truth always seems to come out in the end and if it has been covered with lies, there is always more pain associated with it’s revelation. So just be honest. Tell the truth about your emotions and help the other person cope with the truth of the situation.
- Everything doesn’t have to be emotional – When there are important decisions to make, try to step back out of the situation and re-evaluate all aspects. Keep the emotions out of the decision so that rational thought and discussion can occur. The moment you let fear or anger enter the conversation, they will take over and lead to degraded communication.
- Nonverbal body language – Pay attention to the nonverbal body language because it will often say more than the words.
- Stay in the moment – Don’t start writing a grocery list in your head or thinking about what you are going to say next while the other person is talking. Stay aware, alert and in the moment so that the other person can feel validated.
- Ask questions – Remain interested in the conversation by asking relevant questions. Not only will asking questions show that you are interested in the thoughts of the other person, but it will also give you a better understanding of their valid points.
- Don’t interrupt the other person – Let the other person complete their thought before adding your thoughts. By remaining alert, listening attentively and not interrupting the other person, it is easier for them to remain emotionally open and available because they can trust you.
- Identify your feelings with “I” messages – When discussing matters of conflict, it is especially important to use “I” instead of “you” to avoid the perception of being accusatory.
- Set boundaries – No matter how close two people become, there will always be personal boundaries in a conversation. Know the boundaries and don’t cross them…no matter what happens.
- Perfect relationships – You can search the world over, but you won’t ever find a perfect relationship. Start out knowing that not only the relationship, but communication within the relationship will never be perfect. Don’t have unreasonable expectations – just really love each other.
- Keep confidences – A couple will always have private moments between them. These secrets should be honored. That means you don’t tell your friends the private things your partner/spouse told you earlier.
- Be trustworthy – Be a person of integrity and honesty in your dealings with others, each other and yourself. It is impossible to open up emotionally to a person that you can’t trust. That would beg me to ask, “Why are you with that person if you know they are not trustworthy?” Do you really like pain?
- Validate the other person’s feelings – You don’t have to agree with the other person, but you can let them know that you understand how they feel and that it is okay for them to have their opinion.
- Remain interesting by learning new things to talk about – After you are with someone for a long time, the easy topics have already been discussed and so have many of the hard topics. In order to have fresh conversations, it is necessary to try new things while having activities together and apart.
- Agree to disagree – Know that there will be times you have to agree to disagree in order to put the issue to rest. You are two different people, therefore, you do not have to agree on every single issue or topic.
- You’re not always right – Even though you may think so, you are not always right. Being arrogantly stubborn in the relationship will ensure that the other person NEVER opens up emotionally with you.
- Be reliable – It is hard to open up emotionally to an on again, off again person. Be reliable in your support of the other person’s needs and life choices.
- Be assertive, not aggressive – There is a huge difference between being assertive and aggressive. Assertiveness is having bold or confident statements and behavior while aggressiveness is intrusive, combative vocalizations and behavior. Definitely choose being assertive instead of aggressive.
- Don’t wear blinders – If the conversation is toxic, end the relationship. I know that sounds drastic, but there are people who wear blinders, see the good in people and ignore the not so good. See the person and the relationship as they really are and remain aware of the truth.
Being emotionally available and open will allow effective communication in a loving relationship and will also cultivate peaceful harmony. It is totally worth the effort to learn how to talk to each other.
What do you think is the most important aspect of communication?