We’re going to drop some serious knowledge on you: but communication is the cornerstone of a good relationship. Did that blow anyone’s mind? Nope? Ours either - because it is the most well-known information of all time, ever. But not only can sharpening your communication skills help you connect deeper with your partner - it will shake up every relationship in your life. You will become “the coworker” who asks the best questions and gets the biggest birthday cake, “the friend” who everyone always comes to for advice, and “the partner” that is the envy of couples near and far.
Here’s how to take your reputation from so-so to WOW-WOW:
Step 1. Ask Open-Ended Questions.
When you ask your partner questions like “Did you have a good day?” there are only 2 possible answers for those questions: Yes or No. Neither set you up for a lengthy conversation. And we, as humans, rely heavily on communication to connect, engage, and build trust.
But with the snap of a finger and a quick re-arranging of words, we can structure that sentence to set us up for some SERIOUS bonding time:
- How did you…
- In what ways...
- What’s it like when…
- Tell me about...
- What did you think of…
Step 2. Maintain Eye Contact.
This sounds so easy but the truth is most of us don’t do it. We’ve gotten so lazy that pulling our eyes away from our phones or the TV seems like a monumental amount of effort when - in reality - it is a common courtesy. Without eye contact, you surrender one of the easiest ways to connect with each other: it costs nothing, takes no effort, burns zero calories, and means the world to your partner. Even if you have to practice it, start training today. Maintain eye contact from the moment they start speaking to the moment they stop - bonus points for nodding.
Step 3. Ask Follow-Up Questions.
Sure, you’ve asked an open-ended question and maintained eye contact with your partner, but do you know how to show them you’re REALLY engaged? By following up! What’s the one thing you do after a job interview to show the interviewer you’re interested? You send a follow-up email! And you should (at the very least) extend the same courtesy to your life partner you do a complete stranger. Agreed? Agreed. Ask them:
- “So what ended up happening after…”
- “How did you react when…”
- “What did they say…”
- “How did you leave things…”
- “Are you still interested in…”
YOU (yes, you) are capable of being the kind of person people LOVE to talk to because they feel heard, respected, interesting, and valuable. And the #1 person that is worthy of feeling those things is your partner. So practice on them tonight! Take your super-simple skills (open-ended questions, eye contact, & follow up) and apply them in conversation with them ASAP. They deserve it - and you do too.