Community College of Rhode Island

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Improving Communication Skills In Relationships

...some suggestions


Create a context in which your partner can feel free to share feelings, thoughts, fantasies, hurts, and complaints, without the fear that you will condemn, attack, lecture, or simply withdraw.

  • We tend to be as critical of others as we are of ourselves.
  • Know that you have a right to your feelings as others have a right to theirs.

Working on a relationship always begins with working on ourselves.

  • Try not to blame all of the relational problems on your partner. Remember, you only have control over changing yourself, not others, and the temptation is to blame others for our problems.

Don't rush yourself into sharing emotionally painful information.

  • Sometimes it's best to write out your concerns in private then share them with your partner at a later time.

The Sentence-Completion method can help.

  • Set aside a block of time when you and your partner can talk.
  • Both of you should take turns completing the following statements on communication:
    • Communication to me means . . .
    • The hard thing about intimate communication is. . .
    • Sometimes I withdraw from communication when . . .

It is also beneficial to complete the following statements on self- disclosure.

  1. I am a person who . . .
  2. One of the things I'd like people to know about me is . . .
  3. When I try to talk about things that are important to me. . .
  4. When I try to express intimate feelings . . .
  5. If I were more open about expressing my feelings and opinions . . .
  6. When people try to talk with me, sometimes I. . .

Moreover it is useful to explore obstacles to communication by completing these statements.

  1. If I weren't concerned about the listener's response. . .
  2. Sometimes I become blocked when . . .
  3. One of the ways I sometimes make it difficult for people to talk to me is . . .

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Last Updated: 10/31/13