Another Relationship Lesson – It’s All in the Phrasing

I hope you’ve been reading the last couple of posts I’ve written. They have been based on information I gained at a conference I attend every year, SmartMarriages. At this annual meeting, there is a multitude of subjects presented on every aspect of relationships one could imagine.

In today’s blog, I’m not going to discuss a particular subject matter as an entity. Rather, I want to bring to your attention something having to do with how you communicate to your mate. To be honest, this insight can have meaning for anyone with whom you relate to where you are concerned with your communications.

The ABC’s of communication

I know you’re aware of how important good communication is in a relationship. Of course, what does get tricky is the concept of exactly what makes up good communication. In previous articles, I’ve offered advice on being aware of your tone as well as facial expression, gestures, and body language. All of these non-verbal indicators are sending your message also — often to a greater degree than your actual words.

On the other hand, I’ve told you that sometimes, simple words can go along way. Here are some reminders: If men would say, “My bad” when they’ve goofed, women would feel much better. Or, if the person who feels overwhelmed in an emotional situation would merely state, “I don’t know what to say right now” rather than remaining silent, the other person wouldn’t feel blown off.

A new insight

So, with all this “expertise” on my part, what is it that I heard that I felt worthy of writing about? When someone is sharing something with you and they seem to have finished, try saying, “Tell me more.” What most of us say (myself included) is, “Are you done?”

Think about it for a moment. Now, on my behalf, I do believe I ask that question gently. But in this particular case, the words will have more of an impact than the tone. The very question, “Are you done?” sends the message to the other person that you are waiting for the end, that you are anticipating the finish.

Perhaps that’s not what you mean to convey; perhaps you want to make sure you are not cutting the other person off. But in a subtle way, that is the message.

In contrast, when you state, “Tell me more,” it is an invitation. You are sending the message that you are open to hearing more of what your partner has to say. You are not done, ready to leave, or tired of listening. If your mate is, in fact, done, he or she will let you know that there is no more. But now your partner will feel cared about.

Who knew that besides “I love you,” there were three other little words that could make such a difference?