Respectful Communication in RelationshipsThe most common request I receive from clients is to help them communicate better. Respectful communication in relationships is really important. The words you choose matter. Your tone of voice matters. Your body language sends messages, so that’s important too. All these things work in concert to communicate your feelings and ideas. All of them need to be sending the same message at the same time, so your message comes across as genuine and you get the result you are looking for.
Respectful communication in relationships can help reduce conflict and improve connection. Checking in on your words, tone and body while trying to communicate can be difficult. You can take steps to traverse the process more naturally without having to feel like you are constantly checking boxes on a list over and over. Here are some steps to a respectful and productive conversation:
Listen more than you speak. The more you listen, the more information you have to continue the conversation in a thoughtful way. You can use that information to connect, reduce conflict and create unity.
Ask questions based on what the other person said. When you ask, you avoid assumptions. When you have an assumption, ask if you are on the right track. Clarifying shows respect and keeps your conversation on track without misunderstandings.
Take the time to pause and choose the right words. It’s okay to use silent time to think. Pausing slows down the conversation so you can make good decisions as you formulate your response. You can listen to what it will sound like to the other person in your head before speaking. You can ask yourself questions and hone in on your best response. How might they interpret your meaning? How can you clarify so there is no misunderstanding?
Be vulnerable. Focus on your mistakes and how you would like to make changes for a better relationship. When you make the issues about you, your words and tone become more comfortable for the other person. They feel safe and can let their guard down. It helps them listen and participate with collaboration and understanding. Focusing on your own changes creates an environment where ideas can be freely exchanged and discussed.
Think well of the person you are talking to. This starts with respect. Everyone deserves respect. You can also include other qualities like admiration and love. Keeping in mind the respect, things you admire about the person and caring feelings you have for them can help keep you grounded. This mindset reminds you that they are doing their best at the moment. It helps you stay on track and avoid saying things you might regret. When your thoughts about someone are positive, you are more likely to have a respectful and productive conversation.
Together, These 5 steps to a respectful and productive conversation can help you maintain your composure, communicate more effectively and create an environment of trust.