How to practice communicating with a SO
January 20, 2015 10:20 AM   Subscribe

My SO and I are trying our hardest to communicate together, but we quickly get frustrated and have low patience. My SO frequently doesn't understand me when I say something/give instructions, even though I feel I am very clear. What are exercises we can do that will help us practice communicating with each other without getting frustrated?

Please keep in mind that this is my memory so it might be a perspective seen through gold-tinted glasses.

Typical conversation:

Us hurrying to get her ready for a IM soccer league game.

Her: Can you go search my car for my soccer bag with my gloves?
Me: Sure! [Goes and searches]
Me: (texting from car as I come in) Got it!
Her: (texting from inside as I come in) Any gloves in there?
Me: [now inside] here you go!
Her: was there any gloves in there?
Me: I don't know, here you go though. [hands her bag]
Her: ...[gives me bewildered look]
Me: um.. did you mean in the bag or in the car?
Her: In the car.
Me: If it's not in the bag I'll go look in the car...
Her: How could you text me and not read the text I sent back before just coming inside?
Me: Well I was just letting you know so you could stop looking inside/to alleviate your stress.
Her: ...well I don't see how you would expect ME to read the text right away and then not feel like you need to read my text when I send it. Don't you see how that could be frustrating?
Me: Yes, but I was just coming inside then. There was only a 10 second gap because I was already coming in.
Her: That doesn't make sense. Why would you text me?
Me: Just to let you know about the bag so you could stop looking for it if you were. Did you find the gloves in here?
Her: I want to keep talking about this so we can figure out how we can communicate better in the future.
Me: Me too, but we should do it when we are less stressed/in a hurry! I'll go look in the car.

These same conversations happen all the time, in video games, conversations at bars or over dinner. Does anyone know of any exercises or programs we can do to help us learn to be more patient and communicate better?
posted by bbqturtle to Human Relations (30 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
Stop texting.
posted by valoius at 10:31 AM on January 20, 2015 [40 favorites]

One thing you could try is using a "repeat back." So it would look like this.

Her: Can you do X?
You: Sure, but just to make sure I've got it, you want me to do Y, right
Her: No I need you to do X, which will take A&B.
You: Ahh...I get it, you need me to X along with A&B.
Her: Yes, thanks.

When you or her repeat back, you check for understanding.

It does require patience and understanding that many times people don't get things 100% the first time you ask/explain them.
posted by brookeb at 10:32 AM on January 20, 2015 [10 favorites]

As in any relationship question, I would recommend the John Gottman Book, Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work.

In general, my husband and I consider text messages lossy communication. That is, the message may be read, or it might not be, or it may be read after a very long delay (several days, sometimes). If something needs to get said, it needs to be said in person or over the phone (or otherwise acknowledged as received by the other person). Otherwise, we assume the other person didn't get the message.

If you didn't text each other, would you still have had an argument? If so, what about?
posted by ethidda at 10:33 AM on January 20, 2015 [3 favorites]

Well for one, stop relying so much on texting, especially if you are within 50 meters from each other (as this sounds).

Other than that, it's hard to tell from this one example what the pattern is. It seems, though, that in this case you didn't get her intended meaning (she probably meant the gloves, and gave you the bag as a point of reference - you had to check the car AND the bag inside the car).

I had a relationship once in which this exchange could've taken place. I felt like my SO was always interpreting my requests in the laziest possible way, so he could put on the least possible effort to fulfill them.

So I would suggest you to do your best to interpret her requests in the most dedicated spirit possible! When in doubt, do more.

And I would suggest her to be patient when she doesn't understand what you're doing, when your reaction is slightly different to what she was expecting.
posted by ipsative at 10:35 AM on January 20, 2015 [2 favorites]

Ugh, are you my boyfriend? I'd think you were if I ever played soccer (which I don't). I still can't figure out why, just every now and then, we seem to completely talk past each other and it escalates into ridiculousness. I think it is just the way our brains work; his tends to skip to 3 steps ahead, and mine tries to anticipate in advance, and as a result, disaster.

We haven't yet looked for an official exercise or program, but one thing that we're trying is that I basically ALWAYS make him stop, articulate exactly what he wants, and confirm it with him.

Common example, he's scurrying around to get ready for work, mumbles something about his phone, I figure he can't find it, go digging around for his phone, and return to find him angry because what he needed was for me to get his lunch out of the fridge WHILE he looks for his phone.

So instead we try to do this:

Him (mumbling as he walks past me): looking for my phone
Me: Hold up, I didn't hear you. You're looking for your what?
Him: phone
Me: do you want me to also look for your phone?
Him: no, can you instead grab my lunch from the fridge while I look?
Me: Word.

This seems like it might have worked in the scenario you're describing.

Her: Can you go search my car for my soccer bag with my gloves?
You: Do you need the bag, the gloves, or both?
Her: Both.
You: [goes and gets bag, checks for gloves, brings it back in.]
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 10:35 AM on January 20, 2015 [12 favorites]

Response by poster: If you didn't text each other, would you still have had an argument? If so, what about?

We have frequent mis-communications like this even with spoken speech. For instance, playing a video game cooperatively, we will get frustrated at the game and then each other, and expect the other person to read our mind as far as

Her: "go to the next beacon"
Me: "I can't - I'm surrounded by enemies - come help me"
Her: "why can't you just get them yourself?"
Me: "They are the kind of enemy I can't kill"
Her: "But if I leave this spot I'll die - I wish you were on the other spot"
**We lose** (Multiply this by 3/4 times with different people having each side"

And other frustrating things where it feels like we can't change perspectives easily.
posted by bbqturtle at 10:39 AM on January 20, 2015

Best habit my husband & I got into was having him repeat back what he thinks I said.

It sounds dumb, but he is used to being the smartest person in any room he's in, so stops listening and assumes a hell of a lot. He often assumes wrong where I am concerned as we have a huge difference in backgrounds & the way we handle situations.

So if I communicate something & don't think he actually listened , I'll actually ask "What do you think I said?". We started doing it jokingly but it has proved very effective, and I guess is a form of the repeating something back that others mentioned above. It has taken a while but it has got him in the habit of listening the first time. Oh he also has the same "right" to ask me the same thing if he thinks I've missed the point, he just doesn't use it as much as I do.

Also for the love of God stop texting, if you have to long distance communicate that device you text on has a means of using your voice to actually speak words to each other which helps clear up a lot of confusion, as replies etc are less likely to be missed and you can get instant feedback. Also stop talking while doing other things, gaming, out at a bar etc. Try & talk free of distractions, make active plans to try different methods, if they don't work keep trying.
posted by wwax at 10:40 AM on January 20, 2015 [5 favorites]

Response by poster: Don't mean to thread-sit, but:

Also stop talking while doing other things, gaming, out at a bar etc

The main reason we do things like go to a bar/restaurant together or play games together is because we enjoy each other's company/want to collaborate or work together on something.
posted by bbqturtle at 10:43 AM on January 20, 2015 [1 favorite]

for what it's worth I've overheard a lot of conversations between people playing a video game and 100% of them sound like what you're describing (well okay, most of the ones I've overheard have involved lots of screaming and vulgar insults as well). I'm not sure that is a sign of poor communication on your part--I think that's just the nature of two-player video games.
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 10:45 AM on January 20, 2015 [14 favorites]

Here are some of my ideas based on what you wrote:

You both seem to get distracted from the main issue and into the "whys" of how you do things. Do both of you like to micromanage? Just try to stay focused on the main issue which is looking for the gloves and let the details slide. Learn to say "oh, whatever, here let me look in the bag" (her) or just repeat "I didn't find your gloves, but I found your bag" (you; i.e. don't get defensive and justify how you did things, that leads to circular arguments)

For patience: accept that the other person has a different view of things, and that this view is likely WAY more different from yours than you realize. Then accept that this different view is a totally valid way of organizing one's experience. (Don't try to make them see your view, don't try to make them validate your view, just accept the differing views.)

Also it sounds like she wants things figured out Right Now, which isn't always feasible. You need to time discussions sometimes. It's ok to sort things out later. There's not one ideal way to be.

Now turn it into a joke. I have a dearest friend and we just do not get each other's sense of humor. His style is dry and deadpan and I just miss it and think he's serious. It has happened so many times that we just laugh now: is this one of those times that I'm not getting your joke? So you can diffuse the tension: is this one of those times that we're totally not hearing each other?
posted by St. Peepsburg at 10:49 AM on January 20, 2015 [3 favorites]

Also, to get a little deep here, you can ask yourself what do you think her underlying message is (is she saying you're not capable of finding gloves? is her tone setting you off?) and she can also dig deep into what she's assuming/reading into/reacting to about what you said. This will help change these communication patterns. It's not about the gloves, it's about what the actions mean to both of you symbolically that feeds the emotional interpretation of the event, that feeds the words & actions. Find the emotional assumptions being made and then you can collapse that house of cards.
posted by St. Peepsburg at 10:53 AM on January 20, 2015 [1 favorite]

You both sound like you expect and need the other person to read your mind, then you get offended when the other person asks for clarification. Why? That's not respectful. You and your partner both need to spend less time policing and judging each other's words and more time being receptive when one of you initiates a dialogue.
posted by Hermione Granger at 10:54 AM on January 20, 2015 [17 favorites]

In your new example, I think I see two things:

One, you should clearly define your primary goal when doing a certain activity. Do you play video games to get a high score? To beat the levels to advance the story line? To get all the cool add-ons? Or to spend time together?

If it's not to spend time together, and you get frustrated when playing together, then stop playing games together.

If it is to spend time together, then accept that even if you fail at a level, you have succeeded at your stated goal, which is to spend time together.

Two, assume that you are both smart and invested in doing your best for each other (whether looking for bags or trying to beat the enemies in a video game or whatever). WHATEVER the other person does is what they thought would be the best.

If it's not what you wanted them to do, then assume that it's either impossible or that they do not understand that you want. If my husband tells me, please make dinner, I would still have to ask him what he wanted. And if he chooses something I can't make, I tell him that I can't do it and he believes me and we try to come up with a solution which means either I make something else or he makes or helps me make dinner.
posted by ethidda at 10:55 AM on January 20, 2015 [3 favorites]

If the above is an accurate represenation of how these conversations typically go, I'm not sure if this is a communication issue as much as your girlfriend just deciding to pick a fight for some reason. Asking you if the gloves are in the bag vs. just looking herself? Getting upset with you for not reading her text message within 10 seconds? Maybe I'm missing something, or maybe that was a bad example, but I don't get it.
posted by Asparagus at 10:56 AM on January 20, 2015 [6 favorites]

When I found myself in these kinds of mis-communications a decade ago with my girlfriend (now wife), a friend of ours gave me a book and said: "Read this. It's all true.". It was such a game changer for me. It has to do with how women and men communicate. You describe a typical male reaction: problem solving, finding excuses for why something went x and not y, wanting to make her feel better. She just wants to be heard, and you literally ignore her by not being fully present in the communication. You can unlearn your way of communicating and be a better boyfriend/husband by just listening to what she says and letting her go through her emotions. I too was (and sometimes still am) guilty of wanting to alleviate her stress by going to extremes, fast and to the point. But a woman sometimes just needs to feel completely miserable, cry about it, and then the air is clear again. It might be a mystery to men, but it just works like that.

Anyways, the book of course was "Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus: The Classic Guide to Understanding the Opposite Sex" by John Gray. Read it. Buy her a copy too. It doesn't all have to come from one member of the opposite sex. She might understand you better too. Good luck!
posted by hz37 at 11:05 AM on January 20, 2015 [1 favorite]

The gaming conversation makes me think part of the problem might be coming to a compromise. A thing that sticks out at me is that neither of you are suggesting a thing to do instead--like "Okay, let's talk more about problems like this at dinner" or "Okay, so do you have any ideas how we proceed in the game, or are we doomed?" It seems like you're both (at least to some extent) just repeating your own perspectives over and over. Maybe try responding with something like "Man, I'm sorry I misunderstood/that that isn't possible! What would you like me to do next time/instead?"

Also, repeating things back before doing a thing sounds like it might be helpful.
posted by sciatrix at 11:06 AM on January 20, 2015 [1 favorite]

The video game example has nothing to do with miscommunication that I can see. You both knew what the other one wanted, but you couldn't/wouldn't do anything about it. So, you died. That's how video games work.

As for the gloves, I agree with you that having a conversation of why things are going wrong is a conversation that should be had later. First, you are stressed. Second, talking about gloves doesn't actually get her the gloves and the whole purpose of this is gloves.

Perhaps the problem can be reduced if you find out what the primary purpose of you going to the car is. Does she want the bags or does she really want the gloves and asks for the bag because that's where she thinks they are?

I don't know why she just didn't look in the bag for the gloves.
posted by It's Never Lurgi at 11:13 AM on January 20, 2015

Consider the conversation from her perspective. You two are in a rush and she's asking for help. I interpret her initial request as: Could you 1) locate my soccer bag in the car, 2) determine whether the gloves are inside, 3) if they aren't, keep looking in the car. Receiving a "Got it!" text from you would mean "I have located the soccer bag and the gloves are indeed in it" or "I got the bag and also the gloves."

Her expectation is that the problem is solved. But you reenter the house having not located the gloves. Your remedy, going back outside if the gloves aren't in the bag, would eat up additional time while you're trying to get to the game. Then there's two dozen lines of dialogue between when you texted "Got it!" and then ask her "Did you find the gloves in here?"—which is what she asked of you in the first place. I could easily see her posting here "My SO frequently doesn't understand me when I say something/give instructions, even though I feel I am very clear."

tl;dr: she asked you for the bag and gloves, you brought back the bag with no information on the gloves (after leading her to believe you had them), which leaves to additional lost time while you're in a rush. Frustration.
posted by JackBurden at 11:13 AM on January 20, 2015 [6 favorites]

It drives me nuts just to read how you guys make each other justify your actions and decisions to each other. It seems really important to each of you that you prove that the other person was in the wrong, and that you were making perfectly logical decisions and communicating clearly. Yikes, stop doing that.

Repeating back will help a lot, ie "So you want your bag from the car?" "Well, I want my gloves. I think they're in the bag."
posted by ThatCanadianGirl at 11:24 AM on January 20, 2015 [20 favorites]

I think your girlfriend is expecting more mind-reading than you are, as well as refusing to try to intuit/sense/deduce what you're communicating.

For example, she said Can you go search my car for my soccer bag with my gloves?, which you apparently interpreted as "can you get my bag (which I know has my gloves inside it) from my car?" For what it's worth, that's how I would have interpreted it: you said "look for the bag", I looked for the bag. If you meant "look for the gloves", you should have said "Can you check my soccer bag for my gloves" or something like that.

And the thing with the videogame…
Her: "go to the next beacon"
Me: "I can't - I'm surrounded by enemies - come help me"
Her: "why can't you just get them yourself?"
To me, at this point she's being rigid. Why can't I get them myself? Because I can't, or I'd already be doing it! I wouldn't be asking for assistance if I didn't need it — can't you trust me enough to assume I'm being reasonable, and try to help?

Checking with her about what she wants ("So you want your soccer bag?" "No! I want my gloves!") and being willing to call time-out to clarify things when a misunderstanding seems to be arising might help. I'd be inclined to have a higher-level meta-discussion about "I feel like you don't trust me to have good intentions and to be doing my best in this relationship, and that's where a lot of our miscommunication is coming from. What does it feel like to you?"
posted by Lexica at 11:32 AM on January 20, 2015 [7 favorites]

I am not the poster child for unambiguous communication, but my suggestion would be to avoid using two communication streams at the same time. Like, I am definitely not going to tell you to stop texting, but if you were already talking and expect to be talking again imminently, adding texting into the mix means you both have to pay attention to two ways you might receive new information about the situation, plus there's a potential time lag, which leads to your example. If you're talking, talk; if you're texting, text.

Separately, your example reminds me a little of what programmer-types call the XY problem -- you're trying to solve problem X (I want the gloves) and you think solution Y (get the bag) is the way to do it, so you ask people for help with Y instead of X, even though Y is not actually the best course of action (because the gloves might be somewhere else). 9 times out of 10 when I'm having communication issues, it's because I am guilty of some part of the XY problem -- either (a) I assume the person I'm talking to understands that when I'm asking for Y, I really want X to happen (usually they don't) or (b) I assume that someone asking me for something has unambiguously decided that Y will get them what they want (often they haven't, because they're doing (a) themselves).

Double-checking whether you're in an XY problem situation can help, although for some people "but WHY are you asking for Y" is a major annoyance ("It doesn't matter why I want Y, I just want Y!"), so plan accordingly.
posted by dorque at 11:39 AM on January 20, 2015 [14 favorites]

I used to get into this kind of thing with my SO, but then one day I just realized these are silly and trivial things to begin with and really not worth fighting about. Instead of turning every incident like this into a big heavy relationship talk, it could've just ended with "ok whatever, misunderstanding, let's just find my gloves and go." or "ahh video games! that was dumb, oh well, play again?" These aren't situations where you absolutely need a right answer, they're just misunderstandings.

I mean, definitely work on communication skills and not making assumptions about what the other person is saying, but it's tedious to turn every single misunderstanding into an argument of who was right or wrong. For both sides, it's so much easier to just let it go sometime.
posted by monologish at 11:48 AM on January 20, 2015 [5 favorites]

Basically you just need to stop being dicks.

In both examples you give, she seems to get disproportionately frustrated with you over different expectations in trivial situations. In the first example, she thinks you should have looked for the gloves and was annoyed when you didn't, but you figured she could just look for the gloves in the bag herself. No big deal, neither of these expectations were unreasonable but they just weren't shared. Same thing with the video game; you weren't able to do what she expected/wanted you to do and got annoyed. I see the point of failure here as being the reaction to the communication not going as expected.

If the only way to avoid that for her (or you) is to never have communication go wrong then you will both have to be very precise with speaking and listening to one another. Leave nothing open to interpretation. This sounds tiring.

Or you both could just accept that sometimes you might have an exchange that doesn't go exactly as expected and recognize that it's just trivial and doesn't really matter because you love each other and you don't want to be dicks.
posted by Polychrome at 12:03 PM on January 20, 2015 [14 favorites]

Maybe you both need to accept that logic isn't everything.
posted by Coaticass at 12:48 PM on January 20, 2015 [4 favorites]

My impression is that maybe one of you (both?) might have issues with becoming easily frustrated stemming from the fact you both think you're being abundantly clear and are both extremely logical people, and therefore other is kind of illogical.

It doesn't work if you both secretly think that about the other. As indicated by your, 'I'm being perfectly clear,' comment. I'm sure she thinks she is being clear, too.

I feel like both of you are kinda doing the, 'you should read my mind/duh isn't it obvious I meant X!' thing on some level. If this is the case, the only thing I can recommend is to take a deep breath, and hold on to your patience when these misunderstandings start to happen. Don't take the view of, 'I was infallibly clear!' when interacting, and instead, think; 'well my SO for whatever reason misunderstood me-- oh well, I will say it again differently and ask for details in a respectful manner instead of knee-jerking snarkiness/annoyance because: 'Why would I mean Y? Are you stupid or what?'

Easier said than done, I know. But my impression is that you're both smart, logical people who have different ways of thinking, and you're clashing when your logic doesn't align and there's nothing wrong with that; neither of you are thinking things illogically/wrong-- you're just thinking differently. And that's fine, except in my experience the way to bridge different ways of thinking is patience and to not be short with each other.

On the gaming: As someone who has co-op gamed video games/computer games her whole life, I have some pointers.

Firstly, some fights are inevitable, especially if you guys are playing team PVP or such. Team PVP in an FPS or MMO setting can be super tense, and it can get really heated when someone lets down the team or such. Moreover, things can get competitive. It's not a great atmosphere sometimes, depending on how super seriously you guys take it, and if you are PVPing in any capacity, all I can suggest is trying to not taking it super seriously. The point is to have fun, right?

Recently, I had the opportunity to start gaming with new friends, when prior I'd mostly played with a select few; namely my brother, and a bunch of various friends. Me and my brother are a fantastic team for the most part, we fight occasionally, but we work really well, and our disagreements are few. He's been my main co-op partner.

However, when I recently played with a male friend of mine, who wasn't used to co-operative play at all, it was really jarring for me. Where I was used to leading, he wanted to lead. Where I'd wait for my partner to open a chest or loot something, or fight a boss, my friend would rush in without me or loot and scoot. He left me behind on the map when I was disorientated, where I was used to waiting and moving into new areas together with my partner. In our game of choice, he refused to start a new game with me since he'd 'already played it a little', resulting in a level difference between us that saw me dying constantly, (think level 2 compared to level 16) and made it impossible for me to not be killed in one hit since the mobs generated were his level, not mine-- which ironically meant he kept dying too because I couldn't provide support and there were too many mobs. We died about 10 times before we gave up in frustration.

In short, he was kind of the worst gaming partner I've ever had, and I have gamed with a lot of different people.

When another friend decided to take over (the same game) with me, he remade his character (so we were the same level) and we killed it and it was awesome, and we beat it in two days or so and it was really great.

Likewise, when I first met my now boyfriend, and we'd game at his place, it came really naturally to work well together in a variety of co-op games, and team pvp.

Afterwards, I sat and thought why gaming with my one 'friend' was just so unfun, and tense and crappy and frustrating, and with everyone else it was super fun. And the conclusion I came to was this: selfishness.

The people I play with now have no real personal agenda-- they care about me and they care if I'm stuck surrounded by enemies, and we act like a team. It's not competitive or selfish, and this is the big difference. We share good loot. My friend was a very competitive and kinda selfish person and it reflected in his playing style. He didn't really care if I got left behind to deal with five enemies, and he wasn't even aware it was happening until he'd need me and suddenly I wasn't there, and ugh, didn't I just suck at this, even though he was over ten levels higher than my character? Now I don't think he was this way intentionally or on purpose, he just was this way.

Now I mostly game with my boyfriend, and it was amazing how well our play styles complimented each other. Again, I attribute this to being more selfless. We're a team, and we act like a team. When we enter a new area, we're aware of where the other is, even if we're doing our own thing. If we're tackling something big, we discuss what skills are best, (For example, in Diablo 3, if I have my group heals on, he's free to focus on other skills or such), and we chose things that are complimentary. We share items and wait for each other. We don't belittle or one-up each other when we're in a team situation because we recognize we're both skilled, and well, we love each other. And we're protective. We get more annoyed if the other dies, than if we die-- so we'll often try our best to help each other if the other starts getting into trouble.

You guys need to think like a team and act like a team. I get the feeling one or both of you is used to gaming alone and/or might be a little competitive in general.

If you guys are playing a LoL type game, it's a tough game not to argue over, (my boyf's ex used to play this with him and they'd argue constantly over the results) but again, it's about patience and selflessness, and even having a plan. If she wants you to be in X spot, she needs to communicate that before you guys get in to it, you need to say, 'ok you go for the beacons, and I'll try and keep x off you,' or what have you. You need a plan before you go into anything. Learn from the mistakes of the matches you fail to figure out what to do better.

Lastly, try really hard to be patient and assume good faith all the time-- everyone is trying their best. Nobody's perfect and if you wipe because your character is a squishy mage or what have you, recognize that some classes are harder than others and it happens, and it probably would have happened to her if she was on the same class, and, oh well. We learned this the hard way when we reached Torment II in Diablo, and we had a role reversal in terms of who was tank/ranged-- when we swapped who was main tank we found that we both equally struggled with dying on the ranged/DPS characters. So like, nobody is perfect-- sometimes it's not just how you play but who you play, and you're probably not as good as you think you are.

Lastly, it's supposed to be fun. So don't take it too seriously. If it's not fun, stop doing it. Good luck.
posted by Dimes at 1:44 PM on January 20, 2015 [3 favorites]

Based on the two instances you provided, your girlfriend is being self absorbed and dickish. She needs to take responsibility for 1) finding her own things 2) not get snappish with you over minor stuff, like when you text and whether you looked in all the places she thinks you should look.

Seriously, this was just about you helping her find her stuff in her car. Yet she gets annoyed with you and questions your method of doing things. Then she wants to have a discussion about the communication failures. That seems like a lot of work in a relationship.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:59 PM on January 20, 2015 [3 favorites]

If you want something done right, do it yourself. Example, you like washing the dishes a certain way but when your SO does it, it's completely different. Do you get mad at them? No, because they did the dishes and it's not fair for you to impose restrictions on the way someone does them. Because you love them and you are not a dictator, but also, because if you wanted it done a certain way, you should've done it yourself.

Also, try "I" statements, such as "I feel ____ because of ___." or "when ___ happens, I get ____." Try that and see what happens. A lot of communication is unspoken and it's best to avoid "You" statements to get to the actual root of the problem rather than blaming and circling. Good luck, communication is complicated enough without being emotionally charged while attempting positive communication. Also, book recommendation: Nonviolent Communication is helpful.
posted by lunastellasol at 5:32 PM on January 20, 2015 [1 favorite]

You guys are too invested in being right. You need to let things go, sometimes. I really don't think this is a communication thing per se -- I think it's a calm down and not take things so seriously thing.

You didn't come back with the gloves? Okay, you can go get them now. Done!
posted by J. Wilson at 5:59 PM on January 20, 2015

Exercise: have her use your account to post an example of a conversation here for us to compare. Because in the main example you used, she comes off as a jerk and you come off as a nice guy (Count me among those who don't understand how the second conversation is a miscommunication and not just regular video game talk). I want to hear her side of things before I feel like I could give you any helpful advice.
posted by treehorn+bunny at 6:37 PM on January 20, 2015 [3 favorites]

I would like to second John Gottman. Psychologists love him. Since he actually did research regarding his theories of communication.
posted by aaxelrod at 10:27 PM on January 20, 2015

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