How to Communicate Irritation in a Relationship

Communicating irritation in a relationship can help make it stronger.
... Jupiterimages/Creatas/Getty Images

Communication is essential to a successful relationship. However, communicating negative emotions, such as irritation, can be intimidating. Often, people fear that expressing anger will lead to a fight. However, if you stay calm and focus on the real issues, telling your boyfriend or girlfriend the things that irritate you can improve your relationship.

1 Identify the Issue

Irritation often sneaks up on people. Little things build up slowly until a final straw causes you to lose your temper. The key to communicating your irritation effectively is determining the true source of your anger. Before you say anything, ask yourself what's really bothering you. Perhaps the last thing that happened is not the real reason you're angry, but there have there been a series of things getting on your nerves. You may notice a pattern to the things that irritate you. The more you know about your own feelings, the better you'll be able to communicate them.

2 Stay Calm

Anger can be contagious. If you approach people angrily, they will respond in the same way. This can turn a small situation into a big fight. A better strategy is to calm down first. Take a few deep breaths or walk around the block; remove yourself from the problem until you have your feelings under control. Then continue to stay calm during your discussion. If you do, you and your sweetheart will be in a better emotional state to solve the problem.

3 Focus on Your Feelings

When communicating your irritation, it's important to keep the focus on your feelings more than on the other person's behavior. If you start the conversation by criticizing, it may seem that you are on the attack. You are likely to earn a defensive response, which takes the focus off the real problem. Instead, start by expressing how you're feeling. For example, instead of saying "You're late again!" say "I feel frustrated when you are late because it makes me feel like my time isn't important to you." This keeps the focus on the real problem and opens up a better mode of communication.

4 Suggest a Solution

An important thing to remember when communicating your irritation is that the problem needs to be solved. You are not just lashing out in anger, you are trying to create better harmony in your relationship. Therefore, it's good to suggest an acceptable, specific resolution to the problem. After you explain what's bothering you, explain what an ideal solution would be -- but remain open to compromise. This way, the whole conversation can be used to improve your relationship rather than tear it apart.

Kimberly Yates has been both writing and teaching since 1997. She has been published in a variety of magazines, including "The Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine" and "Woman's World." She has a Bachelor's degree in English and a Masters in English education.