Giving And Receiving Feedback In Romantic Relationships

How we give and receive feedback in romantic relationships may be an indication of our overall happiness. Research suggests that feelings of love, bliss, emotional connection, and physical attraction lie at the heart of how happy we are as individuals. We need to love and be loved by other people, whether that be from a romantic relationship or from family and friends.

Its important for all of us to build strong social networks with family, friends, and even pets as they all may contribute to our overall happiness.

Giving And Receiving Feedback In Romantic Relationships

Also the reverse can be true, bad relationships can be a trigger for stress and bad health. While there are many benefits from having a safe, and secure romantic relationship. Research has also shown that many of the health benefits associated with a spousal relationship can also be achieved with having a best friend.

One of the most important aspects of any relationship is knowing how to give and receive feedback. Its important to note that many people find difficulty in giving and receiving reallygenuine feedback. This is especially true for those in romantic relationships. Feedback may often come across as criticism, snarky remarks or as attacks on our character.  There are many strategies for giving or receiving feedback; here are a few;

When giving feedback;

  • Be Specific: When giving feedback, do it on observable behaviour, not on one’s feelings or conclusions drawn from observation of behaviour. 
  • Be Timely: Do it immediately. Do not let the issue fester.
  • Be Actionable: The feedback should be based on something the person has control over. Not their height or the colour of their eyes.
  • Be Positive: Do not just offer critical feedback, try and balance out critical feedback with positive feedback.

When receiving feedback, make sure you:

  • Listen without comment. When they have finished giving feedback don't try and rationalise your behaviour. Ask questions if you want clarification. 
  • Acknowledge the courage it took to give you feedback. Consider the feedback as a gift intended to help you grow. Thank the person for the feedback which can be difficult when you are feeling criticised. 
  • Feedback can be difficult to receive. And even harder to acknowledge if undesirable behaviour within ourselves. Also its important to understand that it is only a person’s perception of you. It does not make it fact, other people may not experience your behaviour the same way. 

Christopher Swane - Relationship Counselling and Psychotherapy - Wellington New Zealand