TALKING FROM THE HEART
Intimate communication is a two-way street. Not only
must you listen in a way that makes your partner want to talk
to you, you must also talk in a way that makes your partner
want to listen. Otherwise your conversation may reach a
Of course, you want to be true to yourself and tell it
like you see it. It will help if you keep your partner’s
needs in mind as well. And then there are the needs of your
relationship. For the exchange to be really successful you
must serve the needs of all involved including yourself, your
partner and your togetherness. Here are ten tips:
1. Show that you understand your partner’s viewpoint
before you express your own. Try to do
this without being either presumptuous or
2. Be the world’s leading authority on everything you
say, i.e., talk about yourself, what you think, feel
and perceive. That way you never have to argue
about the “facts”. Be subjective.
3. State your feelings clearly if they’re relevant to
the issue. Remember, feelings are emotions, not
judgments or assessments.
4. As early as possible, state the positive assumptions
and expectations you have about your partner which
are relevant to the issue at hand.
5. If you want your partner to change, be specific and
talk about their behavior, not their attitude,
motivation or character. Avoid generalizations like
“always” and “never”.
6. Ask for what you want, clearly and without malice.
You have the right to ask for anything but that
doesn’t mean you’re going to get it. If you do, it
will be a gift, not an obligation.
7. Keep it simple. Don’t dump all your opinions and
requests on the table at once. Avoid overwhelming
your partner and it will be easier for them to
8. Don’t delay addressing issues. Deal with things as
they arise. That way, you avoid a backlog of gripes
as well as the fear, frustration and anger that tend
to build up around unexpressed feelings and
requests. Fear and anger are the enemies of good
9. Do not try to communicate when you’re feeling out of
control. Instead, wait until your emotions subside
a little so that you can communicate clearly and
without threat or hostility.
10. Once you’ve communicated your feelings, try to be as
positive as possible. People tend to get defensive
when they feel attacked. To avoid this, talk about
yourself and your hopes and expectations for a positive
result from your conversation.