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The best ways to show people closest to you that they are heard and appreciated

Everyone that is close to us wants to be heard in their relationship. It's for a good reason, too.

The best ways to show people closest to you that they are heard and appreciated

Strong relationships necessitate open lines of communication

Photo by Junior REIS on Unsplash

Strong relationships rely onl open lines of communication. Being a better communicator may appear daunting, but it's actually only a matter of honing a crucial skill: listening.

It appears to be straightforward. We (mostly) listen to our loved one's queries, opinions, anecdotes, gripes, and helpful suggestions. But how frequently do we actually pay attention?

We often register that they're chatting on the surface, waiting for our time to jump in and say what we want. Something has to be done about it.

Everyone that is close to us wants to be heard in their relationship. It's for a good reason, too.

Answering a simple question about improving communication with close ones is the first step toward improving listening abilities.

As a result, I wanted to find a way to really show the people closest to me that I am present and willing to take in everything that's on their minds because I do care.

In doing so, I scoured the internet to find a perspective into this and came across a Psychology Today article written by Dr. Gary W. Lewandowski Jr that delved into five ways to help a loved one feel like they matter—and it was beyond easy.

Read on to get more insight into the ways that have helped me express my appreciation for others effectively.

Dont assume you understand what's going on with your loved one

How frequently do you completely understand what your loved one says to you? Probably not as frequently as you believe. That is insufficient.

If your partner explains themselves, expresses their feelings, or tells you anything significant, they deserve to be completely understood. There will be no blunders, fuzziness, or misconceptions.

You can't solely rely on assumptions to get it correctly.

Here's what you can ask instead:

  • "What exactly did you mean by— ?"
  • "Am I accurate in saying that is the most important issue?"
  • "Could you provide an example of —?"

Reflect on the feelings your loved one is conveying

This leans into empathy. To develop empathy, you must recognize that behind everything your loved one says is an emotion they hope we will pick up on.

Sometimes it's very clear (for example, "I feel absolutely neglected around here.") Other times, it's not evident at all, such as when your loved one simply sighs loudly or says, "I'm exhausted."

When anything is uncertain, don't overlook it. Instead, make an attempt to find it out. Investigate deeper feelings and identify them as precisely as possible.

For example, if your loved one had a long day, instead of saying "Oh, that sounds really bad" say, "You work so hard, the stress was the last thing you needed."

At the end of the day, it is also OK to be incorrect. Even if you're incorrect, your loved one sees that you're trying, which allows them to elaborate.

Listen and be present

Being a better listener isn't only about what you say; it's also about how you appear. Even though time might be spent worrying about what to say, you should also pay attention to your nonverbal communication.

These are any actions you take that transmit messages to your spouse that go beyond the words you employ.

Here are some ways to have better body language.

  • Remain open ( i.e. don't cross your arms across your chest).
  • Lean in close to them.
  • Continue to make eye contact (don't look at your phone, television, or other devices).

Ask open-ended questions that prompt more than a 'yes' or 'no'

Most of the time, you aren't really interested in what other people are saying. Your loved one, on the other hand, isn't just anyone. Allow them to take center stage to show them that you care.

Not only that, but do everything you can to encourage them to communicate about their feelings and thoughts.

Asking open-ended inquiries will indicate to your loved one that you want to hear more. But not just any questions will suffice.

Simple yes/no questions, as well as those that focus on who, what, when, and where facts, should be avoided (though getting those right is an important part of the clarify step). Instead, ask questions that need more thought.

The following are some excellent choices:

  • "How did you get to that decision?"
  • "How do you see this situation concluding?"
  • "How did you come to this conclusion?"
  • "What would you advise me to do if I were in a similar situation?

Really understand what your loved one is saying by paraphrasing

Making it plain to your loved one that you "understand it" is an important element of listening. To do so, you should summarize what is said to you in your own words.

This should not become a word-for-word dictionary challenge, but rather a brief synopsis. That is difficult, but your efforts are worthwhile because paraphrasing demonstrates that you care and are fully invested.

To truly understand and repeat what your loved one is saying, you must pay close attention and listen intently.

Here are a couple of examples of what you can ask:

  • "You're essentially saying..."
  • "It sounds like..."
  • "Just to be clear..."
Ultimately, loved ones feel heard when you apply emotional intelligence by taking the time to show them that you actually care about what they're saying.
Being a good listener is a valuable life skill that you can use both in and out of relationships. Therefore, ommunication improves and the connection strengthens.

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