Good communication is the greatest single factor in keeping our relationships healthy and alive. When we fail to communicate on an intimate level, our important relationships begin to wither. This can lead to boredom. Once we become bored we begin to look elsewhere for stimulation, which is often the beginning point for breakdown of relationships. Boredom also creates ambivalence and when we are unemotionally involved with our partner we stop talking. It is vital for healthy relationships to have good, stimulating and even challenging conversations.

Here are a couple of things we should avoid if we want healthy communication:

  1. When our conversation become one sided, one person doing all the talking and the other just listening, there is no exchange of ideas, thoughts, opinions and emotions. The result will be that our relationships become dull. To avoid this we need to leave room for the listener to respond and this can be achieve by framing a questions.
  2. Our personal relationships are diminished when our conversation express statements that sound final and leave no room for comment, discussion or exploration. It is not wrong to have strong opinions but we need to allow others to express their opinions as well. We need to treat their opinions as valid and be big enough to listen.
  3. At all costs we should avoid talking ‘down’ to people. When we talk down to another person they will tend to withdraw. We will then never learn what they actually are thinking or feeling and as a result we may miss something poignant.
  4. We should never dismiss another person’s point of view if it clashes with our own. We can so easily be just as wrong as them and in our arrogance never grow into something better.
  5. All too often we look at our partner through our experience or understanding of yesterday. We need to look at one another in the present and talk to them where they are today. All of us should be continually growing and changing. Therefore our point of view should accommodate these changes.
  6. Avoid internal dialogues as much as possible. An internal dialogue involves us mulling over our own personal viewpoint and does not allow our point of view to be challenged. To the extent that we are involved in our own internal dialogue we stop listen to what is being said. This is completely different from positive self-talk.
  7. Not finding out or exploring how another person is feeling or experiencing a situation can cause them to feel left out. We should develop an enquiring mind to find out how others see and feel about a topic.
  8. Try not to cross talk, interrupt or answer until they have completed their story. If we do this it can cause our partner to feel we are not hearing them and as a result they could stop sharing.
  9. We should try to hear what they are saying rather than applying our own interpretation. A good conversation skill is to repeat what we think we heard them say before answering.

Good, deep meaningful conversation can take a lot of energy but it is vital if we want to remain healthy. The alternative is emotional stagnation and eventually death to the relationship.