Group of friends chatting about their communication preferences in a relationship

5 Helpful Communication Pointers to Strengthen Relationships 

Marjorie Sanchez
May 13, 2024
April 30, 2024

Positive and supportive communication skills are essential for building solid foundations and sustaining our relationships across time and in life’s ups and downs.  Sometimes, we get caught up in daily activities, and we miss a moment to truly connect or to make up for gaps in steady communication.  In other instances, we may be focused on matters that trigger stress, and we may find it hard to open up or participate in a conversation fully.  Below are 5 communication tips we can practice for reconnecting or tuning in with our loved ones to help strengthen the bonds in our relationships:

  1. “Tell me more about what you’re thinking/feeling about (a specific subject)”

Initiating a conversation with “Tell me more about what you’re thinking/feeling about (a specific subject) is a helpful opener that shows you are interested in their perspective and want to explore an issue more in-depth. When asking this, it helps to stay in a more empathic and curious state, refraining from judgment, so you can learn more about how you both feel about the situation being discussed. 

  1. Recognizing strengths 

To start a conversation, point out one of your loved ones' strengths and recognize how you admire that quality in them. It can be applied to a recent situation or something in general you have observed.  For example, “I like how you resolved _____ the other day”, “I admire how you _____.”  This can lead or tie into something else you each may want to talk about as well.

  1. Requests vs. Demands

Asking for something in the language of “Requests” as opposed to the language of “Demands.”  Starting with, “You have to _____” or “make sure you ____” with a demanding/ordering tone will shorten communication and create barriers. On the contrary, if we use, “Could you help me_____?” or, “Would you mind ______?” and, “Would you be able to_____?” it will come through differently.  A softer tone and a “thanks!” with eye contact will also create a more meaningful exchange.  

  1. “Can I share with you something that happened today?”  

If needed, add, “I could use your help with listening and helping me process it.” This can be a funny or positive event being shared or a challenging situation that you want to explore/resolve. Here, you can add to the exchange by asking your loved one if there is something they want to share from their day as well. Listening attentively, without distractions, will also continue to boost this communication.

  1. “How come?” vs. “Why?”

Using “How come?” instead of “Why?” to clarify and understand the reasons your loved one said or did something. “Why” can indirectly carry a heavier and more detached tone, while “How come?” can prompt a more open and inviting conversation.  For example, “Why did you miss the appointment?” could trigger more defensiveness, while “How come you missed the appointment?” can sound lighter and extend a more supportive and open conversation.

These communication pointers are a few creative and supportive ways to deepen the emotional connection in our close relationships.  When we consider additional factors, such as choosing the best time/place to talk, monitoring our energy in the moment, showing attentive body language, and our positive intentions behind what we say, our communication can uplift us and take our relationships to even higher levels of connection.

Marjorie Sanchez
Marjorie Sanchez
Marjorie is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (MFT) and she has been providing therapy and counseling services for the past 22 years. She enjoys providing attentive care and a safe space where her clients can feel heard, understood, and valued. She creates positive and relaxing therapeutic experiences, especially when someone is seeking support for the first time. Marjorie draws from her integrated experience as a therapist, yoga instructor, and mindful life coach to connect naturally and help you enhance your well-being and your relationships. She will focus on your strengths and guide you towards building balance and greater self-empowerment. Marjorie can offer support with personal/work-life concerns, stress management, anxiety, depression, life transitions, relationship issues and more. She has native fluency in Spanish as well and can provide services in Spanish if preferred.