Communication Guidelines for Better Relationships


Watch Those Phrases!

When discussing issues with someone, several key words and phrases should be avoided because they intensify already heated emotions, make the other person defensive, and lead to further disagreement. Some of these are: "You always . . ." "You never . . ." "Everybody . . ." "Anybody . . ."

Speak for Yourself!

Instead of attacking or blaming the other person, admit your own feelings and thoughts, and take responsibility for them by using "I feel" or "I think" statements. ("I feel angry . . .")

Then, add "when" to describe the situation that upsets you, without attacking or judging the other person. ("I feel angry when you don't call to let me know you will be late . . .")

Finally, include "because" to describe your underlying feelings/thoughts. ("I feel angry when you don't call to let me know you'll be late, because I worry about you.")

Take the initiative to share YOUR feelings without making accusations of the other person. Speak for yourself!

Remember, the goal of good communication is not to determine who is right and who is wrong, but for both persons to share their feelings and thoughts and be understood and respected.

Repeat What You Hear!

Listening effectively is a vital part of good communication. Let the speaker know you heard what he/she said by repeating back your interpretation of what was spoken. ("I think I heard you say that you feel _____ when _____ because _____. Is that right?")

Clear up any misunderstandings at this point, then continue your discussion.

Practice! Practice! Practice!

Practice good communication skills by taking 15 to 30 minutes together, allowing each person to share three things that occurred that day. The speaker should practice being specific and direct. The listener should give constructive feedback to show he/she has clearly understood.

Find out more about Christian counseling.

Back to articles index .

Read devotionals from CCES.