Communication is a key component of healthy relationships. Because relationships involve so many emotions and so much time spent together, the ability to communicate is critical for maintaining equilibrium. A lack of communication can lead to problems going unresolved, and these problems can gradually grow larger over time. No one wants that!
Being able to resolve issues and have healthy self expression in your relationship is more preferable to constant drama and repressed emotions. You may be great at letting your guard down and expressing yourself, but your boyfriend might not be. [Read: How to have effective communication in your relationship]
How can you make him open up to you?
So how do you get your boyfriend to communicate with you? Here are some helpful ideas!
#1 Simply let him know that it’s okay to talk to you about his emotions. Women sometimes forget, but men are often told in one way or another that discussing their emotions is “girly,” or reflects weakness. This can stem from a childhood experience where they were maligned for crying during their baseball game, or from their fathers always encouraging them to be strong.
Whatever the case may be, many men have learned to equate being emotionally vulnerable with being unmanly or weak. So, if you want your man to let his guard down and genuinely speak to you about his emotions, you might need to let him know that you will not think less of him for doing it. After all, you are his girlfriend, and you are the last person whom he wants to be viewed as “unmanly” by.
#2 Reward him when he does express himself well. If you notice that your boyfriend is expressing himself well, and communicating in a style that you would like him to at a certain point in time, give him a compliment! Show him that this is what you would like. You could even give him a hug or show him in some other way that this is what you want.
Sometimes he simply just might not know how you would like him to express himself. So when he does it right, letting him know that this was correct and rewarding him for it will go a long way in helping him learn to keep doing it. [Read: 25 compliments your guy will never forget]
#3 Don’t make fun of other men who do let their guard down. Your boyfriend is not going to be thrilled about being emotionally vulnerable if he sees you calling your male friend a pansy for expressing his emotions. If you want your man to communicate in a real way with you, then you have to create an environment where he feels safe to do so. He isn’t going to feel safe if he feels that you will make fun of him for doing it. [Read: 14 things you do that emasculates your man]
#4 Lead by example. Sometimes, your boyfriend can learn how to communicate properly by following your lead. Perhaps he grew up in a crazy household, and he never learned how to express himself in a healthy way. Demonstrating the proper way to communicate yourself can help him learn exactly how he should speak to you when he has something important to say.
This also means that you need to be capable of expressing yourself effectively, without making him defensive. So, if you want this to work, you should make sure that you know what you are doing first, before you expect it from him.
#5 Learn from the pros. In the modern world, there are many ways of learning from professionals about how to communicate properly. Some of the most accessible ways to do this are by watching TV programs which contain relevant information. For example, shows which feature Dr. Drew, the famous physician, often feature communication issues and many other related psychological problems.
Watching shows with Dr. Drew, as well as other shows, like Couple’s Therapy with Dr. Jenn can help your boyfriend learn about communicating in a safe and non threatening way. This can be a great way to learn from the masters.
#6 Have your boyfriend read material about communication. If you can get your boyfriend to do this, it might help significantly. He may be reluctant to spend some time reading a psychology book, which he might consider to be embarrassing, but if you can get him do it, there is a great chance that he will learn a lot.
If he’s not much of a reader, sending him a short online article might be a better option. You can also choose to highlight only the parts that he’ll find relevant, so he won’t be pressured into reading the entire book or article.
#7 Try going somewhere special. If you are struggling to get your boyfriend to open up, changing the scenery might be a useful tool that you can use. Sometimes, going for a walk in the park, or alongside a river, or maybe even going to his favorite restaurant can help him to open up.
A change of scenery or taking the time to go somewhere that he really likes may help him to feel comfortable, and open up about what is on his mind. He may not need this once he gets more comfortable with expressing himself, but initially, this can be the nudge he needs.
#8 Get him to spend time with people who you know are great at communicating. This method is a little bit sneakier, but if you have some friends who are great at expressing themselves, getting your man to spend more time with them may help him to learn how to do it better.
If your boyfriend spends enough time around people who communicate well, there is a good chance that some of their speaking styles may rub off on him. This can be a desirable effect and may improve your relationship. It can also show how important the company you keep is!
#9 Make sure to show him that you love him and you care about him. The amount of affection that you show your boyfriend may not seem directly related to his ability to communicate, but it very well could be. The more secure your boyfriend feels in the relationship, the more likely he might be to communicate. [Read: 15 ways to make him feel loved and cared for]
The reason for this is because he will feel less nervous that you might leave him if he appears “weak.” Expressing your love for him lets him know you will still care about him even if he has a problem that he discusses with you. So, make sure you are showing your boyfriend affection and approval before you expect him to be vulnerable around you.
[Read: 10 big relationship problems and how to fix them]
Effective communication can really lead to a healthier and more rewarding relationship. So taking the time to learn how to get your man to open up and express himself properly to you can be a worthwhile investment of your time.
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