If you are part of a happy couple, you should be getting a positive response about 86% of the time. That’s a pretty good batting average, eh? If you want to improve your current average, here are a six things you’ll want to avoid.
- Harsh comments: When your bids for your partner’s attention start with a harsh comment, there’s a 94% chance you won’t get a positive response!
- Criticism: You know when you’re criticizing. At other times, you may be engaged in playful sarcasm. Even though you may be joking, it’s usually not a good idea to launch an attack on your partner by questioning his or her character, intelligence, and/or abilities — especially in front of friends and family.
- Generalized statements: Such as “You never …,” “You always …,” or “What’s wrong with you?”
- Stonewalling: Withdrawing and/or refusing to respond to your partner when you’re hurt definitely won’t get you anywhere.
- Defensiveness: Assuming your partner is going to be critical from the start can set you up for reactively attacking in self-protection. Realize that not everything he or she says is meant at an attack. Your partner may be trying to tell you something important, but just be really bad at letting you know what he or she needs or wants. Be patient. (More on that later.)
- Contempt: This one is particularly toxic. Couples who show contempt for one another — either verbally or nonverbally — rarely get the love they want.