One of the most basic bits of relationships advice that literally everyone will give you is that communication is vital.
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Yes thanks, but how? Well everyone prefers to communicate in different ways at different times, so this is something that you can work out between you. To help you here’s a worksheet that you can either both fill out or just think about.
There are lots of kinds of things that we will need to communicate in a relationship, from the beginning and the middle bits and the end bits. Obviously it’s going to be more difficult saying how you’d like to be flirted with or asked out before it happens.
You might also think it’s a bit radical/strange to talk about how you might want to end your relationship if you have no intention of ending your relationship, but I think that’s important too. This is something that you can use this tool for, but also you could talk about it hypothetically. For example some people have had really bad experiences being ghosted in the past, so that would be a bad break up for them. Others might actually prefer it. Obviously this depends on how your relationship goes and this will change over time.
The different ways of communicating all have different aspects to them which might work for some things and really not for others. For example: making your relationship official on social media might be really great for you because you will get a load of people sending you “awwwwws” and hearts. However, for the other person, that might be awful — like if they aren’t out, or they have an ex who doesn’t know, or they are just a private person.
Same for arguments or other big conversations. Some people prefer emails or texts so that they can have a bit of time to think about how to respond, other people prefer face to face so that they can see each other’s facial expressions and really try to connect with each other.
When it comes to chatting about sex, some people enjoy doing this in person (e.g. before or as part of sex) others would die of embarrassment. Some people like texting each other sexy things but other people really worry about privacy. Some people might prefer a WhatsApp saying ‘check your email for a picture of my cock’ rather than to be bombarded with pictures of your cock. Others like the exact opposite.
As you can probably already tell a lot of this comes down to consent and consent isn’t just important for sex. Giving each other options like this is really important because then you can know what to expect, you can feel safe and comfortable with each other, and that helps you to make your communications mutual and nice.
For more about how to do relationships check out the Brief Guide to Relationships, which has loads of top advice and nice images for you to impress your instagram followers.
If you’re an educator yourself and want this worksheet and over 50 others, get my BISH Activity Book.
Do leave a comment below if you have anything you’d like to add or if you have questions. I moderate all comments before they go live. Click here to ask me a question
© Justin Hancock, 2022
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Justin Hancock has been a trained sex and relationships educator since 1999. In that time he’s taught and given advice about sex and relationships with thousands of young people in person and millions online. He’s a member of the World Association for Sexual Health. Find out more about Justin here