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5 Powerful Strategies to Improve Communication Skills

Whether you’re single or in a relationship, Valentine’s Day is a good time to think about stepping up your love life and sharpening the skills that keep love alive.

Improving your social life by opening yourself up to more people and more experiences is a great first step toward finding the love of your life or bringing more fun and excitement into your existing relationship.

1. Define What You Want

To get what you want, it helps to know what you want, and that’s as true of love as it is anything else. Remember, it’s about what you want, not about societal expectations. “We get further and further away from happiness when we look for the things we think we ‘should’ go after instead of the things that are core to our unique personalities.” Start by identifying your needs when it comes to romance and establishing your relationship goals. What do you want to give, and what do you want to get out of a partnership? When you have a firm grip on what you want, you can look realistically at your own behavior patterns to see if they are helping or hurting your search for lasting love and take steps to make changes if necessary.

2. Use Your Loneliness

While chronic loneliness isn’t healthy and can contribute to depression, feeling lonely from time to time is normal, whether you’re in a romantic relationship or not. And feeling emotionally disconnected from people doesn’t have to be a negative if you use those lonely feelings as motivations to make necessary changes that will move your life in more positive directions. “Finding an enduring partnership takes effort. You don’t want to settle for a series of casual relationships if what you really want is something long-lasting.” Start by paying more attention to relationships you already have and reconnecting with people you have lost touch with over time. Make new connections by joining clubs and special interest groups or volunteering. You never know how you’ll meet someone new, but you’ll only meet them if you get yourself out there.

3. Balance Your Love Budget

While generosity is normally considered a positive trait, you may be sending the wrong message to a current or potential mate of extravagant spending on dinners and gifts. In fact, you might make a better impression by displaying more of an inclination to save money because it shows you are able to exercise self-control and are likely to accumulate greater financial resources over time. “But be careful not to appear too restrictive or too controlling when it comes to your finances.” That could lead someone to believe you’re not fun and won’t bring much in the way of excitement to the relationship.

4. Start Talking

If and how couples communicate, along with individual willingness to change, determines whether or not problems can be resolved and the quality of a relationship maintained. Some problems, especially minor issues, are best resolved with a cooperative and affectionate approach that doesn’t put anyone on the defense.

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