How to Communicate When You Don't Know What to Say

Have you ever been in a conversation with your partner, but found yourself struggling to say what you wanted to say? If so, you are not alone. In our most important relationships, we often struggle to find the words that get our point across. In this blog, I want to explain some of the reasons why we don't say what we want to say, and then conclude with ideas that you can use to help you communicate more effectively.

Below you will see three of the most common reasons people struggle in their communication.

Fear of rejection

When I ask people what prevents them from sharing their thoughts with their partner they tell me that they are afraid that their partner will reject their thoughts and ideas.

Previous fights

Another common reason people have a hard time sharing their thoughts is previous fights or arguments. When issues are not resolved, it is harder to communicate about new problems or concerns.

Don't know.

Sometimes when I ask people about conflict in their relationships, they tell me that they don't know what they want to say. When you don't know how you are feeling or what you are thinking it is hard to work through differences because the issue is not defined. 

What We Pay Attention to When We Communicate

Tone of Voice
Body language
It was Albert Mehrabian, a researcher of body language, who first broke down the components of a face-to-face conversation. In his work, he found that when we observe new people, we determine whether we like them more by their body language 55% nonverbal, 38% vocal, and 7% words only. (1)

While this number may surprise you, consider how much your try to read your partners emotions after being away from each other for the day. You are probably looking for clues to how their day was by reading their body language. While Dr. Mehrabian's research is not directly related to couples communication, it does provide us with a general sense of how much our non-verbal communication matters.

The next time you and your partner are talking, notice how much you are listening to their words. Then pay attention to how much you are watching their body language for cues into your partner's mood. 

Perhaps you are wondering why your partners body language matters when you are trying to communicate what you are feeling or thinking with your partner.

Here's why it matters.

Before we open up and communicate with our partner, we attempt to determine if they are in the right mood to talk. In essence, even if this is done subconsciously, we are determining if it is safe to talk with our partner. If their body language tells us that now is a good time to talk, we are more likely to bring up an issue or concern. Conversely, if we can't get a good read on their mood or we determine that they are upset, we will likely hold back.

If you would like to learn more about "How to Communicate When You Don't Know What to Say, I invite you to join me for a free webinar.  You can sign up below.

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