Tag Archives: healthy relationships

The Importance of Face-to-Face Communications

smartphone and importance of face-to-face communicationAs I watched my kids text each other from different rooms in the house, I wondered how much today’s technology is changing our relationships with friends and loved ones.

With email, texting and social media, you can almost go the entire day without actually interacting with people. Why is this a problem? Digital forms of communication are highly impersonal. You lose the nuances of body language, tone and emotion that come from talking face-to-face.

Growing and maintaining your personal relationships is part of creating a balanced life. If you have trust and understanding with your friends and family, it’s much easier to find balance in other areas of your life as well. You can focus on healthier eating habits, exercising and getting plenty of sleep when you have strong relationships to help support you.

Miscommunications are also a pitfall of using social media and other technologies to have important conversations with those who are close to you. You may unintentionally do damage to your personal relationships.

Real communication happens when we listen with understanding. You have to grasp the ideas or reasoning from the other person’s point of view. Having understanding and empathy is why in-person interactions are crucial to healthy relationships.

Here are 5 reasons why face-to-face communications are a valuable part of creating healthy, long-lasting relationships with friends and family:

Reading non-verbal cues
Body language is a crucial part of a conversation. You may say more with your expression, stance and hand gestures than you say with actual words. While a person may say they are doing fine or that nothing is bothering them, her body language may tell a completely different story. To truly be engaged in a conversation, you need to see and react to the person’s non-verbal cues.

More effective conversations
In-person discussions help boost the efficiency of your conversation. Rather than sending texts and emails back and forth half of the day, you can hash out the details in one face-to-face conversation. You are also more likely to avoid miscommunication or confusion during the exchange if it’s face-to-face.

Less chance of misunderstanding
It’s easier to misinterpret the tone or intent of a text or social media post. Sarcasm and humor may be lost in translation in written messages. Some people are just less clear and fluid in writing than they are when speaking.

A personal touch
Talking with someone face-to-face is just more personal. It means more to someone who is close to you to talk in person. Even picking up the phone to have a conversation is more intimate than sending texts or Facebook messages.

Increased honesty
Talking face-to-face keeps us honest. It’s more difficult to stretch the truth or lie when you’re looking someone in the eye. You are more likely to be yourself and be more authentic when you talk in-person. Those verbal cues also let you know if someone is being evasive or less than honest.

Go with your instincts
Your instincts can help guide you when you’re talking to someone face-to-face. You can get a better feel for what they are not saying, and if they really mean what they are saying. You can be a better friend if you truly pay attention and make an effort to be a good friend.

Has email, texting and social media changed your relationships? What can we do to make personal communications more “personal” again?

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9 tips to surviving holiday relationship stress

Holiday table relationshp stressI love the holidays – that magical time from Thanksgiving to New Years. At the same time, a little part of me dreads the holiday season.

It can be one of the most stressful times of year, especially when it comes to our relationships. We have more tasks to get done, we’re pulled in multiple directions, we want to make everything perfect, and we tend to lash out at those closest to us.

Here are 9 tips to make sure you maintain healthy relationships and have an enjoyable holiday season this year:

Have realistic expectations
The biggest mistake many of us make is wanting to have everything perfect and create the best holiday ever. Whether it’s the food, the decorations or the holiday gifts, you probably have something that is your favorite part of the season. I have a friend who puts up eight Christmas trees in her house every year. My mother enjoys cooking the holiday meals for our family.

If it’s something you enjoy doing, then keep up the tradition. If you find yourself stressed out and snapping at everyone, then it may be time to tone it down. More than likely, your family doesn’t care about it nearly as much as you do. They would be happy with less extravagance if it means you are able to fully enjoy the holiday season.

Ask for help
I am a control freak. I am the worst at asking for help when I get overwhelmed by all the things I need to accomplish. Your family and friends would rather help you than see you stressed. You can actually spend quality time with friends and relatives by asking them to pitch in with holiday traditions. Kids especially like to feel they are part of the festivities. You may even be able to create new traditions.

Say thank you
When you’re in “get it all done” mode, you may forget to show others your appreciation. Go out of your way to thank your spouse, kids, family members and friends when they do something for you. You may assume they know they are appreciated, but it’s always nice to hear “thank you.”

Set your priorities
Decide what is most important to you. I used to make handmade Christmas cards to send to family and friends. I loved creating the card design and putting them together. I would get together with friends, and we would visit and work on our cards. At some point, I began to dread doing my holiday cards. The stress of getting the cards done outweighed the joy of sending cards, so I stopped doing it.

You have to prioritize what is most important to you and make sure you have the time to do it all. If you don’t, then cut back. Your spouse and children will be much happier about living in the same house with you.

Divide and conquer
During the holiday season, we have more events to attend. You may have work commitments, gatherings with friends, and family festivities. On top of that, you and your partner may not necessarily like attending each other’s events. Your spouse may have an annual party with his old college friends, and you may like to trim the tree at your grandparents’ house. It’s okay to go to events by yourself if it will eliminate relationship stress. Or, you can take separate cars so that one of you can leave earlier.

Make family time count
It’s so easy to get caught up in running everywhere and fitting in as many activities as possible. You may forget to include some downtime into your schedule. Plan an evening to hang out at home watching movies with popcorn and candy. Go out to eat and give the cook a break. Have family game night. Your family should know they are the most important part of the holiday season.

Learn to say no
It’s hard for many of us to say “no,” especially during the holiday season. You feel like you’re a bad person if you don’t help out with the annual office party, neighborhood charity event or holiday program at your kids’ school. You can say no. Think about your priorities and decide what you can do without sacrificing quality time with your family and your own happiness. If you feel anxiety instead of joy and excitement, then politely decline.

Spend time with friends
Our friends can give us a reality check. Set aside time to hang out with your good friends during the holiday season. Not only is it fun, but they will also be honest with you and help you decide what matters and what to let go. And, spending time with friends is just good for your health.

Give yourself a break
If you start to feel overwhelmed by your to-do list and responsibilities, give yourself a break. Set aside some time to do something you enjoy. You can take a walk, go for a drive, window shop or play with your kids. Just give yourself a break so that you can relax and recharge.

The stress of the holiday season can strain our relationships. Cut yourself some slack and remember to take the time to balance your commitments with maintaining healthy relationships with your family and friends.