“Say what you mean and mean what you say. Don’t be afraid to stand firm on the decisions that you make. Trust yourself. Believe in your instincts. Do what works best for YOU. Stay true to yourself and be good to yourself. Allow every decision that you make to empower, enrich, and add value to your life!” – Stephanie Lahart
To always speak your truth is not an easy task. Trying to be mindful about speaking honestly and expressing your true thoughts and emotions gets quite tricky, especially in relationships.
Meaning what you say can get even trickier, especially when your emotions take a hold of you.
We’re here to help you learn how to remain respectful and kind when communicating with your partner, without compromising the truth that needs to be told.
Also, we’ll explore the idea of lying and if there’s ever a time when it’s okay to do so.
9 Tips To Improve Your Communication Style
1. Timing is everything
It’s not that you should always put off saying something important, but choosing the wrong timing won’t get you anywhere.
Don’t surprise your partner with a super serious conversation while you’re having fun at a party, or interrupt them while they’re doing something important.
Choosing the right timing can make the whole difference between solving your issues honestly and openly and arguing without getting to any kind of solution.
It’s not a bad idea to agree on the time the conversation will take place so neither of you is surprised, angry, or overly emotional to resolve whatever there is to resolve.
If it’s something small that you want to share, again, think of the timing. When your partner is just getting ready for work or an event is definitely not the time to tell them they’ve gained weight.
It might be true, but telling them something like that in that specific moment is just cruel.
2. Don’t plan the conversation ahead down to every little detail
While most of us intuitively plan out what we’re going to say and even creatively imagine how the other person is going to respond to our words, conversations cannot really be predicted.
This is especially true if it’s something deep and emotional that you have to talk about. Things will probably not go the way you planned.
This is why you should remain flexible.
Having a general idea about what you want to share and how you want to communicate it is important, but trying to control the conversation completely can only lead you to a misunderstanding and eventually, fighting.
Bend with the conversation, leaving room for whatever it is that your partner wants to contribute to the discussion.
3. Patience, patience, patience
Choosing the right words can be difficult. If your partner isn’t as good with words as you are or has a hard time expressing themselves, you might get impatient.
Don’t force them to blurt out anything just because you can’t wait for them to find the right thing to say.
Patience is really important when trying to honestly and openly communicate your emotions.
Don’t try to help them out, putting words in their mouth. Also, don’t sit there planning the next thing you’re going to say.
Try to actively listen to anything they share, because for people with communication problems, every word matters.
If you’re the one having issues expressing your exact thoughts and emotions and usually find it difficult to say what you mean, give yourself time. The right words will probably come, but…
4. When words fail you, follow your intuition
It’s not just words that play a role in your communication with your loved ones. Sometimes, words fail us.
Misunderstandings are very unpleasant and all the confusion that comes from them can be quite stressful.
When you’re at the listening side of the conversation, try to listen with your heart.
Even when our ears hear our partner saying something that absolutely doesn’t fit who they are, our hearts hear past that.
Follow your intuition on this one and try to calmly discuss it further without pushing your partner deeper in the mud of unfitting words they have spoken by getting angry.
If you’re the one speaking and you’ve just said something wrong, explain that you weren’t able to find the words to express yourself better and what you said wasn’t what you wanted to communicate.
Ideal love is about healthy communication, but also about talking with your hearts.
5. Let go of judgment and choose acceptance instead
In order to say what you mean and mean what you say, your words have to come from a place of love and clarity.
Honesty is not about being judgmental.
When we choose to communicate, our ultimate goal is to have our partner find understanding for us, the same way we need to find understanding for them. Building a safe environment is a must.
Starting the conversation from a place of judgment and criticism only leads to misunderstandings, fights, and hurt feelings. Choose acceptance instead.
No matter what it is you talk about, decide ahead that your starting point is that of acceptance and love.
If your partner feels judged, they’ll shut down, hiding their vulnerabilities from you. Honest communication is not about offending or hurting someone.
It’s about creating a safe environment for your conversational partner where they feel safe to open up.
Of course, the biggest part of saying what you mean and meaning what you say is honesty. There’s no point in sharing something that isn’t even true. No one benefits from lies and deception.
Partners need to be able and willing to speak their truths, always keeping in mind that love, good intentions, and clarity are huge parts of healthy communication.
Being honest and at the same time coming from a spirit of love will deepen and strengthen your relationship more than anything else.
7. Always choose face to face communication over any other
Letters, emails, and text messages can be misinterpreted. More often than not, they are.
When there’s something important or tricky you have to share with your partner, it’s best to choose a face to face conversation.
Talking in person helps avoid all the unnecessary miscommunications that are all too common in any other way of communicating.
If you’re trying to avoid talking in person because it seems to you like you never share everything you want to, it might be a good idea for you to collect your thoughts beforehand and write them down so you can remind yourself of all you wanted to say.
8. Mind your body language
Besides the actual words you say, your body language is the biggest part of your communication style. Make sure that it’s telling the same story your mouth is.
Pay attention to your partner. Sit close to them and physically engage yourself in the conversation.
Make eye contact and stay open. Don’t clench your fists or do a nervous tick like bouncing your leg.
Your body should remain calm and open the same way your mind is open to receive everything your partner is sharing. When you speak, do so calmly.
Don’t over-gesticulate, especially not in aggressive ways that would only show your anger and impatience.
Show your partner that you have respect for them, even when you disagree and want to make a point that’s completely different to theirs.
Don’t be distracted with anything else like checking your phone while you’re talking.
9. Use the two days rule – not everything needs to be shared
If something has happened that made you want to speak your mind about it to your partner, but you feel very angry or confused, or your emotions are just going wild over it, choose to wait.
48 hours later, if you still feel the same way, then speak to your partner about it.
If, after that time, you don’t even care about what happened, consider simply not saying a thing.
The big part of “say what you mean and mean what you say” attitude applied to relationships is to know when not to overshare.
It’s okay to simply not say something if it’s no longer important and wouldn’t change anything except maybe cause a fight.
If you choose to speak up when you’re upset, you’re risking not meaning what you say. And that’s equally important as saying what you mean – never forget that.
This Is How To Mean What You Say When You’re Angry
1. Take a step back and breathe
If you’ve found yourself in the midst of a passionate conversation (read: fight), and feel like you’re no longer in control of your emotions or words, it’s best to hit the pause button.
Tell your partner that you need some time to think about everything that happened.
Calm yourself down before you make the situation even worse by saying a lot of things you don’t even mean that would hurt your partner’s feelings and possibly even ruin your relationship.
2. Think about what made you angry
When you’re calm, think about what made you so mad. Try to analyze the situation as comprehensively as you can.
Did something your partner did make you mad or was it something they said or the way they said it?
Think hard until you realize what you actually mean and what it is that needs to be shared with your partner in order to express your true emotions and thoughts.
3. Talk (keeping in mind all the tips we’ve given you)
When you know just what it is that you want to say, and when you’re finally calm, talk to your partner. Keep in mind all the tips we’ve outlined.
Stay respectful, open, and accepting. Choose patience and flexibility and make sure your body language is in tune with how you’re feeling.
Always say what you mean, but don’t say it mean.
Find a way to express love and understanding even when you’re calling down behavior or trying to prove something to your partner that they don’t necessarily agree on.
4. LISTEN – don’t forget to listen
Don’t only focus on what you have to say. While your partner is talking, don’t use that time to come up with the next thing you’re going to say.
For a conversation to make sense, you both need to express your truths.
Actively listen, thinking thoroughly about everything your partner shares with you. Try to understand their point of view.
Make space for healthy and calm communication where everybody feels free to be truthful and vulnerable.
Is honesty always the best policy? All about white lies
At first glance, it may seem to you that the obvious answer is to always be truthful. But, there’s a good reason white lies exist.
So, what are they?
A white lie is a lie told with all the best intentions, trying to keep the other person from getting unnecessarily hurt or embarrassed.
There are many different kinds, and we present to you four types of white lies commonly used in relationships:
Outright lies don’t have the tiniest bit of truth in them.
Remember high school, when you were late for class and your teacher asked you why and you told them that your bus was late or your driver was sick, all the while you actually overslept? Yup, that’s it.
So, if you tell your partner that you didn’t go out, but were studying while you were actually watching Netflix, that’s just an outright lie – no matter how little difference the truth would make.
Softened truths are a kind of white lies that you use when you want to minimize the impact of the truth you’re about to share.
For example, your partner asks you if your ex was better than him in any way, and you tell him that “he was a very different type of person,” not wanting to hurt his feelings with the complete truth, yet still not telling a lie.
Careful omissions are what you do when you sense that an awkward situation or comment is coming, and you quickly change the topic or excuse yourself to go to the bathroom.
For example, your partner says how lovely his sister is and you sense he’s about to ask you what you think of her (and you don’t like her), so you say something like “Yeah, listen, we have to go, otherwise we’ll be late for dinner.”
Gray lies are lies that are not really white, but not yet black (just a good old lie).
The biggest difference between a white lie and a grey lie is that a white lie is used when trying to save someone else from unnecessarily feeling bad, grey lies actually help you save yourself from embarrassment or awkward situations.
Every white lie can also be a gray lie, depending on your intention.
For example, when you tell a funny story from work where someone gets embarrassed, but you use your co-worker as the main character, while the story you’re talking about has actually happened to you and you just wanted to avoid the embarrassment – that’s a grey lie.
Are white lies truly necessary?
There isn’t the “one size fits all” kind of answer to this question. The truth is, telling a small, insignificant lie can be just that – completely insignificant.
The problem occurs when a person fails to make a difference between telling a small lie and actually lying about something that really makes an impact.
Also, some lies – gray lies, in particular – can be difficult to get out of.
Once you say something, it can drag a whole bunch of further lies that need to be told in order to uphold the first lie, and that gets messy.
It’s up to you to find reason in what you decide to do, whether it’s to tell your partner their hair looks great, even when it doesn’t, or that their family is lovely, despite you not particularly adoring them.
It all comes down to your own personal feeling about what’s important and what’s not.
The best way to decide whether to use an insignificant little lie or not is to think about what you would like to be told in that kind of situation and act accordingly.
Sometimes, we prefer being told little lies just to feel better, even when we intuitively know we aren’t being told the truth.