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Healthy Communication

Interpersonal skills can make or break human relationships.   Increased stress further challenges our communication and can compromise our relationships.  Quality in personal relationships relies on listening skills. When people don’t listen to each other, there is no real understanding, no basis for growing together, no mutuality, and no acceptance.

Effective communication is a learned skill and the foundation upon which all else in a relationship is built.  If you want to improve your relationships, practice the following tips:

  • Listen without countering. Actively try to hear the other person’s point of view. Stop planning what you are going to do or say next and just tune in. Don’t be defensive.
  • Make eye contact. 
  • Speak for yourself. Make "I" statements about what you feel, and need.
  • State and restate what you have heard. Seek clarification.
  • Stick to the subject. Make your point without making accusations. Provide examples or details to support your point.
  • Look inside yourself.  What is the motive behind the words you choose to say? To defend, provoke, distract or to really communicate?
  • Ask for behavioral change.  Bring the conversation back to your everyday life.  What will be different after this discussion? What can be expected?
  • Remember your partner’s trigger points. Then resist the temptation to use them.
  • Remember your own trigger points. Then resist the temptation to react.
  • Agree to disagree sometimes.  Practice respectful acceptance of difference.
  • Remember the power of apology.  If you know you have been hurtful or wrong.

Words Can Work can help parents to start and continue conversations with their children about healthy communication.

For more information or to discuss relationship concerns please contact Partners Employee Assistance Program at 1-866-724-4EAP.

In case of emergency, please call 911 or your local hospital emergency service.

This content was last modified on: 08/11/2008

Partners EAP serves employees, and their household members, of Partners HealthCare and related entities.
Partners EAP is not a service for the general public.
Call Us, Toll Free: 1-866-724-4EAP
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