Have you ever found yourself in the middle of a family argument and not known when to speak up or when to stay silent?
It’s a common dilemma that many of us face when dealing with family issues. According to recent studies, effective communication is essential for building strong family relationships but knowing when to speak and when to listen can be tricky.
What’s even harder at times is to choose to do the right thing. So let’s explore some tips and tricks for navigating family discussions.
Listening is Key
When it comes to communication in the family, listening is key. A recent study found that family members who actively listen to each other are more likely to have better relationships and reduce conflict.
But what does listening actually mean? Or better yet, how do you do it well? According to research by MSU, “Great listening skills encourage others to talk. Just because a person acts like they hear a message does not necessarily mean that they really did hear you.
One of the key ways to reduce family conflict and improve family communication is to polish our listening skills.” In other words, active listening involves giving your full attention, being empathetic and acknowledging the speaker’s thoughts and feelings.
By doing this, you can create an environment where everyone feels heard, understood and respected which can lead to a more positive outcome.
Speaking up can be equally as important as listening. However, it’s important to know when and how to do it.
One study found that people who speak up and express their feelings in a calm and respectful manner are more likely to have their needs (and even wants) met.
On the other hand, those who speak up in a hostile or aggressive manner often cause more conflict and make the situation worse.
Therefore, when you do speak up, it’s essential you speak up in a way that is constructive and respectful because it can lead to a more positive outcome for everyone involved. Not to mention, you’ll actually enjoy the discussion.
What if You’re Dealing With a Narcissist?
Dealing with a family member who has narcissistic tendencies can be especially challenging for various reasons.
More often than not narcissists have an exaggerated sense of self-importance and can be very difficult to communicate with.
One way to handle this predicament is to focus on your own feelings and needs as opposed to trying to change the narcissist’s behavior (which is usually unsuccessful without professional help).
This approach, which is known as “radical acceptance,” involves accepting the situation for what it is and finding ways to cope with it the best you can. By doing this you can maintain your own sense of self-worth and avoid being drawn into the narcissist’s drama.
This is especially important because it allows you to look after yourself first, and in turn others as well.
Finding a Balance
In the end, knowing when to speak and when to listen is all about finding a balance (and it can be hard at times); it’s important to express your feelings and needs but also to listen and be open to other perspectives.
A recent study found that finding a balance between speaking and listening can lead to more positive outcomes in family discussions.
By practicing this, you can create a healthy and supportive family environment where everyone feels heard and respected. It does take patience though, time, and willingness to put in the work needed.