There are a lot of factors that go into making a successful relationship. Communication is one factor that is extremely important. In fact, it forms the base for many of the other factors. One aspect of communication is knowing what to say and when to say it. You can look at this as being a balancing act between diplomacy and honesty.
We generally use a mix of honesty, diplomacy, diplomatic honesty, and brutal honesty. Consider the following four statements and tell me if you can classify them into one of those communication styles.
- You’re FAT
- No dear, you haven’t gained a pound all year
- I think we have both put on a pound or two since last year
- Oh, you may have put on a pound or two
The problem with many relationships is that they tend to sit in one or two of those styles. Some are just brutally honest all the time – it’s like being in a war zone if you pay a visit. Others take the purely diplomatic route, always avoiding any type of conflict. Neither are helpful for a successful long term relationship.
Of course, there are times when brutal honesty is needed. Likewise, there are times when being purely diplomatic is the best approach. However, if you have a good communication relationship between yourself and your partner, these are acceptable parts of the norm.
So how do you approach communication with your partner? If you’re the diplomatic type, always avoiding conflict, then you are probably quite frustrated in many of the actions of your partner. The problem is, you are giving them permission to continue. This is where a counselor can help you to learn communications skills that will free you from being the constant diplomat. The same can be said for those that are brutally honest – learn to be diplomatic occasionally.