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The most important aspect of any relationship
by Counted Heart. June 1st 2013, 02:10 PM

The most important aspect of any relationship
By Chris (Chris.)

What do you think is the most important aspect of any relationship? This is a hard question, and one I took a great deal of time to research, and to bring to a conclusion. Most answers consisted of the following: love, trust, listening, and giving. Those are all great ideas, but there is a bigger idea behind all those: communication. You can’t love someone if you haven’t communicated with them at some point in time. You can’t really trust someone if you haven’t communicated with them at some point, and you definitely can't listen to someone if there is no communication. Communication is the most important aspect of any relationship.

What is a Relationship?
Before talking in detail about the healthy and successful ways to communicate, we first have to understand the term "relationship." A relationship (as defined by Dictionary.com) is "the state of being connected or related." In simple terms, it’s the connection between you and another person or thing. There are two types of relationships. First, there is the professional relationship, in which you wouldn’t often share personal or "at home" stories, experiences, or details. A professional relationship may be with a boss, teacher, co-worker, acquaintance, or stranger. Second, there is the personal relationship, in which you would often share more personal stories, experiences, or details. A personal relationship may be with a friend, family member, or romantic partner.

Types of Communication
Now that I have covered what a relationship is, and the different kinds of relationships, we'll come back to the topic at hand: communication. Communication involves sharing information about yourself, including what you are thinking and feeling. Communication also involves being open to what other people are expressing about themselves. There are three different ways to communicate: verbal, non-verbal, and written. Verbal communication would be what you say to another person (ex. “You are beautiful”). Non-verbal communication is what you express through body language (ex. rolling your eyes, shrugging, putting your head down, walking away, crying, smiling, and laughing). Written communication is what you express in a written format (ex. letters, emails, Facebook messages, and text messages).

Positive and Negative Communication
Communication can be both positive and negative in nature. Negative communication could include rolling of the eyes, not making eye contact, keeping one's head down, not facing the other person while they are talking, ignoring someone, fighting (physically/verbally), throwing things, yelling, insulting the other person, and so on. A great deal of negative communication may be present in an abusive relationship. Positive communication could include making eye contact, sitting up straight, facing the person while they are talking, touching (when appropriate), speaking clearly and directly, talking in a calm voice (tone is very important), and summarizing and/or reflecting the conversation (which indicates you truly heard and understood what the other person said).

Summarizing a Conversation
A lot of people may not understand what I mean by "summarizing and/or reflecting the conversation," but I believe it’s critical when attempting to connect with a person. Here is an example:
Person: “On Friday, I went to a party and had a great time. Saturday, I went car shopping and I couldn’t find the car I want, even after visiting five different dealerships, then I went out to another party with my friends. Sunday, I went car shopping again, and still couldn’t find the car I want. I am so frustrated.”
Your response: “Wow, it sucks that you couldn’t find the car you wanted, but at least you were able to go out with your friends, get your mind off things, and have a good time!”
Explanation: I basically summed this whole story up, and reflected it to them. I showed that I was listening and sympathetic. This will make the person feel good around me and want to carry on a positive and lasting conversation. Effective communication leads to a sense of trust, and failing to effectively communicate by leaving out important information (especially when it relates to your thoughts and feelings) or not actively listening to someone can hurt professional and personal relationships alike.

Communication, Communication, Communication
One question emerges time and time again within threads, tickets, and calls on TeenHelp: “Why aren’t my needs being met?” The answer, according to Dr. Drew, is communication. “Our ability to tolerate and regulate broad ranges of emotion is built on sitting with another person and just listening and responding...everyone's different. We have to communicate that to our partners...to listen and actually signal an appreciation [for] that person builds a deeper sense of self, a deeper sense of confidence...you should be able to ask for your needs to be met in a relationship.” Without communication, relationships wouldn't exist. Make an effort to effectively communicate in a positive way in all your relationships in order to reach the maximum amount you can get out of each relationship. Give it your all - they (and you) deserve it.
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