Building Your Communication Toolbox

By Dr. Dorree Lynn, Ph.D.
NABBW’s Boomer Women\’s Sexuality Expert

Honest and effective communication takes tools, skills, and practice. Here are some ways to let the things you say nurture and grow your relationship.

Use  “I”  statements.  Take ownership of your feelings and thoughts.  State your personal beliefs and feelings clearly and plainly. For example, instead of “You are so loud and annoying. Why do you keep bothering me?” you can say “I felt scared when you slammed the door. I would really like it if you could please be gentler when you leave.” (Follow the phrase “I feel” with an actual feeling word, like sad, mad, bad, glad, and other feeling words, not a criticism, such as “I feel you are really stupid.”)

Avoid blame. Stick with what happened and how it affected you, not what a mess you think the other person is. Avoid saying “you always” or “you never.” Besides being blaming, it’s also probably inaccurate.

Be positive  and focus on what you want. “I love it when you touch my shoulder when you walk past me.”  Or use a  “you”  compliment:  “Your  smile  makes  me happy.” Turn a negative into a positive.  Instead of saying “I hate it when you’re late,” try “I really like it when you pick me up on time. It makes me feel loved.”

Be direct. “Would you please give me a shoulder rub? I feel so much better when it’s your special touch.”

Reveal yourself. “I get a tingling feeling when you are near me.” Or “I have a secret. I used to get sick when I smelled hot dogs cooking. I still don’t do so well even when you cook them at home. I always felt uncomfortable telling you why I want to walk out.” (Self-revelation doesn’t have to start with big things.)

Be honest and offer positive solutions. “I have never liked your  giving  me  oral  sex  and  I’ve  always  been  afraid  to  hurt your feelings. But if we try starting on my thighs, I might be able to learn.” Or “I think that shade of green is not the best for you.  Let’s see what  color  shirt  will  show  off  your  handsome face.”

Be patient and kind. “Thank you for trying to be gentler in bed. I know how hard it is to change.”

Dr. Dorree Lynn, NABBW’s Boomer Women Sexuality Expert is the founder and Editor-In Chief of FiftyandFurthermore.com, a lifestyle website that is known for offering sexy, savvy and sage advice for grownups over 50. She also blogs at www.DrDorreeLynn.com and writes a column in  Upbeat Senior. She is  a practicing psychologist and life coach in Washington, D.C. and Florida with over 4 decades of experience.

Dr. Dorree is the founder and Editor-In Chief of FiftyandFurthermore.com, a lifestyle website that is known for offering sexy, savvy and sage advice for grownups over 50. She is also a practicing psychologist and life coach in Washington, D.C. and Florida with over 4 decades of experience.