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Relationships don’t exist in a vacuum. They exist between two emotional human beings who bring their own past experiences, history, and expectations into it. Two different people also have different levels of skill when it comes …

34 Comments to
9 Steps to Better Communication Today

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  1. Wonderful article, John, especially appreciated point 4 re voice escalating when one doesn’t feel heard.

    I notice my voice doesn’t rise unless I’m explaining myself for the 3 or 4th time!

    Thanks for the validation and good information.

  2. I have to be careful that I don’t use email and messaging as an easy way to say something. I feel like I should be brave and say it straight to a persons face. People say things via text and email that they would never otherwise say. It can be dangerous and confusing because you can’t see any body language or hear the tone of the persons voice. But sometimes I love using these other methods because they save time and I can plan what I am going to say, so that I don’t freeze in the moment or forget what I wanted to say or ask.

  3. Just listening sometimes for me helps. Letting the other person have there say seems to set the tone of how the discussion goes.It also lets me hear them, I do try the paraphrase method, But I do tell them why I do is because I’m trying to have a clear understanding of there wants, needs, and expectations. It helps to maintain a calm voice when at all possible.

  4. I liked it better when it was just *your* blog, so it would be great if you had an individual RSS feed so I wouldn’t have to wade through some of the other bloggers on this main feed. I have nothing to add about communication.

  5. Regardless of whether a blog is needed, (see Jude) this article has great advice. Having once worded in an acute psychiatric hospital setting, I learned many listening and interviewing techniques. Listening carefully, with full eye contact is extremely important. Staying with a person, hearing every word, clarifying anything that needs more details are all necessary to build a good raport or relationship. The hard part is to keep that attitude going once you get home and start talking with your spouse or partner.

    • I can’t understand at all. Family is supposed to be a place of mutual support, and people should be kinder and more respectful to each other than to other people. Why would some people pointlessly be mean and say bad things to family members is beyond my comprehension, unless that some of them are always bad-tempered too all the world, but some of them are obviously not.

  6. Sounds good unless you have PDD.

  7. I don’t know in which ways the article would differ, but, I would like to read an article on the same topic that is not specific to communicating with your spouse/partner. I am interested in ways to improve the way I communicate in other types of intimate relationships like friends and family.

  8. I strongly disagree with using email or other online and electronic means to communicate with a significant other. Sure it works fine for quick things but not anything large and important.

  9. Great article!

    My boss wants to reduce on the costs of labour and I seem to be one of the victims accused of “bad communication” while several tests proved the contrary, my language skills are excellent together with an extreme vision to the future.

    Isn’t it strange that two people can have such a different view on what communication is all about and what “good” and “bad” communication is?

  10. While I may or may not disagree there is one point that I feel should be clarified. When someone is speaking to me, I sometimes prefer no direct eye contact. For many this can be a form of perceived agression in a conversation.

    Just my thoughts.

  11. for all you couples reading this, this is really good advice! im only a teenager but i’ve also been kind of the mediator between my parents after their separation(we don’t believe in divorce so we’re all trying to sort stuff out).
    most of their problems, im not exaggerating, literally MOST of their problems would have vanished if they’d applied these principles:
    – neither of them if they’re arguing will listen to eachother(and not just to eachother, but with my siblings and I as well) they’ll just argue their point over and over and not consider what the other is saying!
    – if they’re arguing both of them will always forget about the whole reason that they’re arguing and focus on proving themselves right at all costs. they’re also really bad at accepting critcism
    – also, both of them do exactly what Grohol talked about in the article, they bring up issues that have absolutely nothing to do with the topic being argued. My mom might say something like “I do all the work around the house and you never appreciate it” and my dad might say something like “you don’t know anything, you’re stupid, you weren’t raised properly”, and etc.
    basically what i want to say is, LISTEN TO HIS ADVICE!!!

  12. i just posted and i realized that i sound very mean to my parents. i mean their very good parents and everything and i love them, this is just stuff i’ve observed when trying to figure out why they don’t get along very well. i should also mention i do all of the things my parents do to but i think im a bit more self-aware than they are and hopefully i can stop the bad communication habits =)

    • No you are doing great. Your parents are also just people. There is no difference between pointing out their deficiencies and pointing out others’, as long as you aim to improve their relationships, your life and their life quality in general. It’s a good-motivation stuff. Where does the “mean” stuff come from? Utter nonsense.

      Of course I’m replying a post so long ago so never mind… I think you should have already understood the stuff.

    • Also such bad parents why would you “love” them at all. They must have done a lot of bad things to your life and you’d better keep a distance with them and live independently, making sure you will become a different person, a better person than they were. Absolutely.

  13. All nine tips are good for foundations to improve one’s communication skills. It’s not too often you hear advice like “be playful and humorous” with communication, but it can cut through the tension quickly!

  14. Great tips here! My husband & I will celebrate 40 years in the fall. Our firstborn attended my high school graduation. We’ve been up to the mountaintops and down in the deepest of valleys. As a result, we have made many of these mistakes!

    Along the way – we learned these tips through ‘study’, ‘trial & error’ & what I call ‘mean fighting’. Trust me – you will find your way best with much less damage if you choose the study path.

    All of the ‘I’m sorrys’ in the world won’t erase the damage done by hurtful words & actions.

  15. Great article–just make sure when you’re reading someone else’s body language you don’t read too much into it. I often fold my arms without thinking about it–not because I feel defensive but because I’m one of those people who is always cold, even with a sweater on in the summer! I also fold my arms when I’m alone, for the same reason.

  16. Wow, this was a great article.
    I agree with Laura, I always fold my arms!
    Also, I chose to listen to others with not so much eye contact, it lets me concentrate on listening better! People ask me if I’m feeling okay! funny
    I find that this advice can be carried to nearly every relationship. I call it my freak radar. If people break these rules constantly, I don’t keep them as friends or (close) family.
    And to the Anonymous teenager that posted, you are wise beyond your years, good luck. Just remember you are a mediator, not a fixer, otherwise YOU are impacted too much.

  17. This is a wonderful idea for human communication.But I don’t understand one point forcre yourself to hear.This is because I am not a native.

  18. After months of counseling (basically what this article is saying) with my wife, I have employed many of these techniques (I really don’t want a second exwife). It’s not nearly as easy as it sounds and is still a major work in progress, try coming up with something humorous to say when you’re fuming inside and desparate to defend yourself from some percieved irrational statement/emotion. Worth the effort.

    • Be yourself. I have seen so many examples where people try to be “fun” but end up losing themselves and become absolutely detestable. Why such a fuss about “fun” and “humor”? If you confidently live your natural life you’ll naturally exude a type of funness that some people would appreciate(“fun” is very subjective, so not everybody can be amused by the same type of person for sure). Even if your type is not that “fun”, still there will be people who appreciate you. What I hate most is the pervasive “fun” stuff in the mainstream culture. It has almost become like a dogma. In the end it just winds up destroying people. Knowing “being funny is nice” is enough, but definitely don’t let it preoccupy you in any way. “Be yourself” instead of “be fun” is the best advice to take, regardless who you are.

    • No I think in this case you didn’t really get what the author means by “humorous” and “fun”. It is as if you are talking in sarcastic mood, not fully respecting the other side and introspecting on yourself, then of course things will not work out. “Fun” is a natural thing. It only works when you are being *genuine*. Otherwise it will all become sarcasm, which is horrible.

  19. The advice here sounds great. But each has individual problems that provide obsticles to actually doing all of them in the right way. It would be great to have that same support in the marriage as is suggested here. WE have been to a ‘marriage encounter weekend’ and it was only helpful afterwards if both parties are willing to do what is needed to keep the relationship going, but when one wants to keep the ‘dialoge’s going and the other doesn’t it won’t be making the progress intended . These things were also discussed in that weekend in a matter of speaking. So much is needed in this area, for those of faith and those who need to have faith as well. It helps too if you are able to overcome the issues at hand and proceed forward, but each step is different for each couple. Some who have special health needs, or concerns can’t always apply all of these steps as would be desired and adjustments have to be made accordingly. With reference to ‘sitting’ close to each other, in the heat it’s hard to do so when the ‘hot flashes come, and the other can’t handle body heat’, it’s a lose lose situation at hand, when the desire is for a ‘win win’ result .

  20. Great article and I’m sure all this advice would work, but only if both parties are willing to work on their relationship together. If only one person in the relationship is willing to work on getting their relationship on the right track then no matter how great and effective the advice is it will not work for that particular couple.

  21. i think to me the points that are listed below surely matter much the way we use our language and how we approach to one another bse we are not all perfect but we try to adjust to one another as we communicate. but all in all God should forgive us where we go wrong amongst ourselves.

  22. thats all well and good and i agree totally with what is said.. but what do you do when you can comunicate perfectly well but your partner refuses or is unable to cominicate on any sort of level???

  23. Could please tell me that how can you respect a person who don’t respect you

  24. Please help me:

    My daughter aged 12 stopped talking to me and my husband and is making screeming sounds when she sees us, she is clinging to us and not able to function normal at all around us. She acts normal with all people except with us. We thought that she was acting, but we realised that she does not have control over it. She is fully aware of what is happening while she is with us – she just cant control it and become limp. She even laughs at jokes I make. But she is now so bad that I have to dress and feed her in the morning when she is with me.

    She started with a stuttering problem earlier this year after a camp, and then it got back to normal during June this year. During exam time in September she (according to the doctors) had a panick attack whereafter she suddenly stopped talking to us, which changed into a screeming/ crying tone everytime she sees us. She makes this sound the whole time in our presense and it only stops when we leave and she dont sees us anymore. She gets hysterical and clings to us when we leave. She would be perfectly normal and busy discussing something with a person – until she sees me or my husband – then it is as if it takes her over and she would start making the sounds and start clinging to us – you need to use force to break her grip from us. She wants to kiss and hold us the whole time when she sees us.

    We had serious marriage problems (my husband had affairs, drinking etc. but he changed his life a year ago) and by now we know that our marriage problems is the main reason for her behaviour. She admitted to the pshyciatrist that she did this because she is scared that we get divorced, but that she tries her best to talk to us and that she misses talking to me and my husband – but just cant help it.

    They’ve diagnosed her with Conversion disorder, said that there is some anxiety disorder and also seoperation disorder – but the question which still needs answering is why she is able to function normal with everybody else and only is like this with us? Is this then really a Disorder? We are currently busy with phileal therapy (spelling?) but she is just not able to talk to us, although she tries very hard.

    Interesting is the fact that she has done very well at school, is a fine artist, plays keyboard and very goodlooking. She is a reserved child, but is able to communicate well at school and children loves her. She is our only child.

    We’ve been to many many doctors, pshyciatrists, pshycologists and even take her now to people who pray for miracles – nothing helps.

    Would you be able to confirm what the problem is and where we can go for help? We are staying in SA but we are prepared to do and take her anywhere in the world – if it can helps. We are currently going for marriage council also and things are happy at home – but she just cant function normal at home….

    Please help….

    Riana

  25. what do i do when the person i am trying to communicate with wants to talk ALL NIGHT regardless of who is tired??? refuses to give the problem a rest? will talk ALL NIGHT????

    PLEASE HELP

  26. Great Advice! I think that the whole thing comes down to letting go of your ego.

  27. how can i get a girl i loved so much but shes is not responding to me but one funny thing is that when i decided within me to go my way she will notice and start behaving as if she is in love with me

  28. Thank you for this article. I’m going to try these tips. This is a problem for me right now. I’m hoping that I can apply these tips. Thanks!

  29. Great article!
    My husband and I had some serious problems of communication in the past. At least we were able to communicate and agree that we lack of communication. Hence, we decided to talk to a Life Coach online (can recommend Your24hCoach). It’s pretty much what the coach asked us to do. Especially the body language is often totally undervalued. My husband often talked to me while watching TV. It’s obvious that he didn’t really give his whole attention to our discussion in such a circumstance.
    Mostly it’s so easy.. you just have to reserve some time to chat with each other. We for instance just sit together after both returned from work and have a short talk. Then of course honesty and trust are key!

  30. i heard somewhere that nonverbal signals are really important and often say more than what is actually said. so i guess this point is often underrated (when it is possible to see who you’re talking with).

  31. great advice!

    you might want to check this out too.

    it’s about how to make someone feel heard/understood while making your point without anyone feeling attacked: amandafrances.com/relaxwevegotthis2

  32. I thank God for this information on communication-I am the one who has to be right all the time-and you enlightened me on this point because it shows me that it causes our relationship to be one sided and not really look at my husbands view in the matter-also how my attitude towards him has affected our communication-I thank you and God Bless-

  33. I’ve been through a lot with my relationship..I was blinded by my emotions where i forgot to listen and understand my partner. In reading this article, it helped me realize that i was wrong..all this time I’ve been selfish and inconsiderate about how He feels..Now that i knew where i should start..I’m willing to take a chance to learn and win Him back..Let Him know that i understand..I love him so much..Thank you for your article..Keep helping us..
    More power to you guys!

  34. On point 9, I really agree it’s important for both sides to cede as it’s the only way that things can be worked out. However, I don’t agree it’s a “priority” thing, which I find to be quite an strange perspective. It should be paraphrased this way: We should all be able to think on the other’s perspective. The truth is, there is *no way that you are absolutely correct and the other is absolutely wrong*. The world simply doesn’t work like this. Being able to recognize on which part you are wrong and letting the opposite side do the same, you’ll be very fine. However it’s not like “putting the other’s happiness above truth” or stuff. Truth has to be respected, no matter in what kind of situation. If in relationships the truth is not being fully acknowledged then this can only lead to further problems, not “happiness”.

  35. I’m shocked by # 9 I think this is the problem with society these days. Every communication article mentions it as a valid form of communication. it is often misconstrued and taken out of context. Why should I have to pander to ones personal form of communication. Social media blows. Otherwise I will improve on the remaining 8 great ideas. Thanks for offering this great article.

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