Communication and its importance to our relationships is something that many authors have written about. And rightly so, as communication is the glue that helps keeps our relationships with others together.
But just how do we need to communicate in order to keep our relationships together? According to the Choice Theory by William Glasser we all have a need to belong and to be loved. If we communicate in ways that confirm to others that we love them it creates a connectedness with them which can help us to have healthy relationships.
Unfortunately, most of us have learnt harmful ways of communicating that can break down our connectedness with others and therefore our relationships with them. Everyone has habits of communicating of which they might not even be aware. These habits are called deadly habits and they include:
We learn these habits from teachers, parents, grandparents, and others as a child. These habits are used to control the behaviour of others. For example a mother wants her son to clean up his room and criticises, nags and threatens her son so that he would do it. Eventually the son does clean up the room but at what cost to their relationship? Also, when we criticise, blame, complain, nag, threaten, punish or bribe others, they will resist, fight back or sneak around behind our backs etc.
Replacing the deadly habits with caring habits will help us to stay connected with others and build our relationships with them: These habits include:
7. Always negotiate disagreements
The way we behave and therefore the way we communicate is up to us. We do have a choice in how we want to communicate with others. We do have a choice in the kind of relationship we want to have with the people we love and care about. Think about some of your own deadly habits and choose today what you want to replace them with!
Written by Natasha Alexander – FAMSA Counsellor specialising in marriage preparation and enrichment