A List of Ways to Avoid the Dreaded Shut Down

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Categories: News, Sex and Relationships

God Day, Bossip readers! In light of yesterday’s “Dear Bossip” post, the question begs: how does a couple communicate if one party has shut down? How do you initiate constructive dialogue when times are rough? With time and patience a couple will learn the best way to navigate through each other’s communicative styles and learn the best time and approach to squash the beef … or better, avoid it all together! Too often we prematurely throw in the towel and abandon all attempts to talk, but that’s all reactionary and an unhealthy habit to start – doing this, growing apart is inevitable. At some point, we have to learn how to not take all spats personally and chalk it up to learning yourself and your partner better. Take a look at these tips to break the ice when your lover turns cold.

Keep positive vibes - please remember that attitude is everything and it’s best to focus on the positive. Project your energies and focus on the loving vibration you wish to accomplish. When you’re soured or negative because your partner is, it only brews more of the same. Set the tone of positivity and say, “hey, I don’t like this tension between us, when you’re ready to talk you know where I am and please make it soon.” Positive, genuine and irresistible.

Think then speak - before you open up dialogue, clear any and all fog in your head and be clear on your points. “This is why I’m mad. I was hurt when you said this. I wish you would’ve or would not have handled it like that.” And allow your partner the time to respond WITHOUT interruption. Remember that these conversations often expose vulnerabilities and insecurities, so be aware that you’re venturing into unchartered territory. It’s imperative that you remain sensitive and don’t bash his/ her thoughts, feelings and ideas.

Admission - if you know how and what you did to contribute to the mess you have on your hands, admit it. Take responsibility for your contribution to the madness and explain your motives at that time. Be it good, bad or just plain foul, be honest and tell the truth. When you don’t explain your position honestly, your partner will find it hard to trust what you say. No bueno … ever. Honesty is the best policy when building communication and is, more often than not, respected.

Check your body language - when you engage in deep communication, your body language speaks louder than words! If your hands are on your hips or your arms are folded or your eyes are rolling and you’re sucking your teeth, this further shuts the window of communication. Think – open. Your chest (heart) should remain exposed. When you do the opposite it reads you’re guarding your true feelings. Same with your mind, if you’ve got your face buried in your hands or constantly avoiding eye contact, it reads you’re closed off. When you’re open, it’s more inviting and helps the conversation flow with ease. Take a few deep breaths, relax and try your best to eliminate all combative gestures.

Exercise patience - everybody communicates differently. Some are longwinded while others have troubles articulating their true emotions and thoughts. Then there are those that ramble about without making a solid point. Key phrases like, “help me understand,” “what do you want me to take away from what you’re saying” and take your time, I’m listening,” always helps the other person express. Be patient because while you’re getting to know your partner, they’re also getting to know you. It’s a process … lots of trial and error.

Listen Carefully - listening is the lost art. How many times have you been guilty of cutting your partner off mid-sentence so they can “hear you out?” A lot of times we’re so wrapped up in the moment and wanting to express our own side of the story that we miss the purpose of the conversation, which is to share. Listen, take it all in and then respond. The conversation time can be cut in half without all the back and fourth – which normally goes nowhere.

Acceptance - accept the fact you can’t change how your partner thinks or feels. It is what it is, and it’s best to accept that rather than try to change it. There’s no use in those “you shouldn’t feel that way!” or “why are you hurt?” plights. You can’t undo hurt or pain. But you can do is do what you can to make sure it doesn’t happen again and let it be known!

Communication is vital in all relationships! But why is it so easy to talk to your doctor, co-workers, clients, friends – while communication on the home front is all but non-existent! If you can tell everybody in your circle but the person you’re fussing about what’s wrong in your personal life, something’s not right! Put the same effort into talking to your partner and nothing but good can come from it! Communication is key … always!

Please remember to e-mail all topic suggestions, feedback and questions to loveandrelationships@bossip.com!

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