When you are listening to someone you care about, do you observe their body language? This can be a clue to what they might actually be trying to communicate. An example of this is when you ask your partner, “What;’s wrong?” and they say “Nothing.”

Usually it’s obvious that there definitely is something wrong. Their body language always gives them away. When this happens, you have two choices: either accept their response and move on or ask another question (I would recommend the second choice).

For example, you might say, “You seem very tense to me right now, what can I do to help you feel better?” Or, “I can see that something is not right, please let me know what it is and how I can help.”

Sometimes, we really don’t want our partner to know what’s bothering us and so we hold it inside where it becomes difficult to process and resolve. Relationships can only grow when we are open with one another and able to communicate to each other what we are feeling. On the other hand, when our partner is trying to tell us what they are feeling, give them the support of listening reflectively, noticing their body language and encouraging them by offering unconditional acceptance and understanding.