Understanding communication in Cougar couples


With social media and texting, couples discuss the power of effective communication in the Cougar Couples: Communication in Romantic Relationships workshop on Wednesday. | Betty Henriquez/The Daily Cougar

Our lives are so busy that many of us find ourselves having to communicate with others by using social media, text messages and emails.

These modern methods of communication may affect our relationships, and our messages may be misinterpreted somewhere between the Facebook and Twitter hemisphere or on our cellphone screens.

Public health sophomore Thao Bui has communication problems with her boyfriend and wanted to find a solution to improve her relationship.

“My boyfriend and I are so busy that sometimes we have issues when it comes to communicating with one another, and I think that this workshop might help,” Bui said.

The Cougar Couples: Communication in Romantic Relationships workshop is one of many workshops offered by the Division of Student Affairs and Enrollment Services as part of the Spring 2014 Food for Thought Workshops that are free for UH students.

Predoctoral psychology intern Katie Croft explained that everyone has a communication style that may be different than the partner’s, and understanding this is effective in improving relationships.

“The speaker may not know how to put their feelings into words, and this may affect the process of communicating effectively,” Croft said.

Effective communication is a important factor that combines a set of skills including nonverbal communication, attentive listening, the ability to manage stress in the moment and the capacity to recognize and understand one’s own emotions and those of the person one is communicating with, according to

Words can be tricky and ambiguous, which can leave someone frustrated, something that psychology junior Lydia Rockson knows all too well.

“I hate the word ‘sure,’” Rockson said. “When I ask my boyfriend if he wants to join me for dinner, and he texts me ‘sure,’ I don’t know if he really wants to join me or if he responded that because he feels obligated to.”

Croft discussed the importance of using words of affirmation that help reassure the other person that they understood the message and interpreted correctly.

“Be specific and sincere when responding to the other person you are communicating with so that you are both on the same communication level,” Croft said.

Effective communication in romantic relationships is not about who is right and who is wrong; it is about understanding each other’s style of communication and finding a common ground.

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