Love, trust, and honesty all play a critical role in a relationship. Communication is another critical component. Being able to speak your needs and desires is only a part of the equation. Non-verbal communication also plays a substantial role.
Living in harmony with your partner requires spoken and unspoken communication. Saying that you love each other is important, but so, too, is showing it without words. Some types of non-verbal communication, however, can actually be harmful. Let’s take a closer look at how the different types of nonspoken communication can affect your relationship.
4 Types of Non-Verbal Communication Relationships Need
1. EYE CONTACT
Making eye contact with your partner when they’re talking to you (and vice versa!) lets them know that you’re actively listening. You’re showing that you care about what they have to say. Even if you have other things going on, putting it aside and making eye contact shows that your partner is the most important thing at the time. You’re there, you’re present, and you’re listening.
2. SUPRISE NOTES OR GIFTS
Sometimes, the smallest gestures can speak the loudest. There’s something special about finding (or leaving) a little note on the bathroom mirror, a vase of flowers on the counter, or a favorite meal on the table after coming home at the end of a long day.
3. SMALL TOUCHES
Several studies have shown the importance of touch in relationships. That doesn’t mean that you have to be physically connected every moment that you’re together. Little touches like a hand on the back, holding hands while walking, or snuggling on the sofa while watching a movie promote bonding. Believe it or not, they’re also essential for your overall health and wellness.
4. MAINTAINING POSITIVE POSTURES EVEN DURING ARGUMENTS
Arguments are a normal part of any relationship, no matter how strong it is. Just because you have a disagreement, though, that doesn’t mean you can’t come to a peaceful resolution. Maintaining positive body language can help to diffuse the situation and avoid a full-blown fight.
3 Types of Non-Verbal Communication that Can Damage a Relationship
1. DISCONNECTED BODY LANGUAGE
Where making eye contact shows your partner that you’re listening, avoiding it can indicate that you don’t care what they have to say. Pulling away from a loving touch, keeping your arms crossed, or facing away from one another can also demonstrate a lack of connection, or that you’re really not all that interested in one another.
2. INVADING PERSONAL SPACE
While touch does play an essential role in a healthy, strong relationship, there are times when you or your partner might not want it. If one of you has conveyed that you don’t want to be touched, and the other doesn’t honor those wishes, it shows a lack of care and respect for the other person.
3. USING A TONE THAT DOESN'T MATCH THE WORDS
Have you ever heard the phrase “it’s not what you said, but how you said it?” A tone of voice that doesn’t match the words you or your partner speak can completely change the meaning of a statement. For example, saying that you’re really excited about something with a sarcastic tone might send a contradictory message. For example, saying that you’re excited about something important to your partner with a sarcastic tone might show them that you don’t care about it or that you think it’s silly.
Non-verbal actions make up a substantial part of communication. The things you and your partner do (and don’t do, in many cases) often speak louder than any words you could ever say. Paying attention to those non-verbal cues (and being able to recognize the good from the potentially detrimental) can help you and your partner to build a strong, long-lasting bond.