Couples who communicate well with each other are more likely to have a happy and fulfilling relationship. Communication is the key to any healthy, long-term relationship, so here are some tips to help develop your skills!

1. Be open and honest with your partner about how you’re feeling, even if the conversation is difficult.

It can be hard to talk about feelings! Some people like to figure out what they want to say before the conversation starts, but it’s important to not to predict what your partner’s responses will be. Having an open mind can help them feel comfortable saying what’s on their mind. Keep in mind that your feelings and your partner’s are both valid, and that your perspective is not the only one that’s in play.

2. If you’re angry with your partner, it can be helpful to take a break from the discussion in order to cool off.

Taking breaks can help people take time to process what they’re feeling and what their partner is feeling without the pressure of having to respond immediately. It can also help people figure out what they’re actually angry about and communicate that in a respectful way to their partner. Anger (however valid!) is not an excuse to be mean, rude, or belittle your partner, so take time to cool off before re-engaging.

3. Try to find ways to support each other, like complimenting each other and making yourself available.

It can sometimes be easy to overlook the good things your partner does, so try hyping them up for things like an awesome parking job, for being vulnerable with you, or for nailing that job interview. Make sure that you’re able to support them in ways that honor your needs and theirs. For example, let them know that they can get through your Do Not Disturb setting if they call twice in a row but that it should only be used for emergencies after 11pm.

4. Be aware of each other’s needs and boundaries.

Every person has different needs, especially in a relationship. Some people have spots on their bodies they don’t like touched or certain topics they don’t like to talk about. Some people need to be close to their partners and others need a bit of distance. Make sure that you’re aware of what you need as a person and as a couple and figure out how to compromise if need be to make sure everyone feels safe and comfortable.

5. Figure out how you like to communicate as a couple!

Some couples like to text memes to each other every hour. Others like to call each other every other day after school to check in on how things are going. Some couples prefer to use Snap to see what the other one’s up to. Whatever works for one couple might not work for another, so figure out with your partner how you want to talk to each other, what you want to share, and how frequently you want to communicate.