Matchmakers will tell you this about successful relationships: communication means more than immediate physical chemistry. Ideally, you want both, but finding someone with whom you can communicate openly with SIGNIFICANTLY increases the chances of a successful match. But, above all else, AVOID these four “relationship killing” communication traits (Source: John Gottman, PH.D.):
- Criticism: complaints are fine. Criticism is more global — it attacks the person, not their behavior. They didn’t take out the garbage, not because they forgot, but because they’re a bad person.
- Contempt: “…name-calling, eye-rolling, sneering, mockery, and hostile humor. In whatever form, contempt – the worst of the four horsemen – is poisonous to a relationship because it conveys disgust. It’s virtually impossible to resolve a problem when your partner is getting the message that you’re disgusted with him or her.”
- Defensiveness: “…defensiveness is really a way of blaming your partner. You’re saying, in effect, ‘The problem isn’t me, it’s you.’ Defensiveness just escalates the conflict, which is why it’s so deadly.”
- Stonewalling: tuning out. Disengaging. This doesn’t just remove the person from the conflict, it ends up removing them, emotionally, from the relationship.