Struggling to communicate is a common problem in couples and families. Here’s a list of thought-provoking ideas to help you be a better listener and create more intimacy:

  1. Take responsibility for yourself. You can’t control anyone else.
  2. Make plans to talk. Timing helps.
  3. Nagging is usually a way to get someone to talk. It doesn’t work.
  4. Make eye contact.
  5. Start with positives and give compliments liberally.
  6. Ask open-ended questions and/or “Tell me more.”
  7. Good communicators listen more than they talk.
  8. Use storytelling with imagery and metaphors.
  9. Validate others positive points that you can agree with.
  10. Use I-statements. You-statements make people defensive.
  11. Be bold with your needs and wants.
  12. Pray with and for family members.
  13. Start with the most difficult issues first.
  14. Confidentiality is a must for safety and trust.
  15. Manage how you say things, not just what you say.
  16. Listen to what others say, not how they say things.
  17. Take a break or time-out if needed.
  18. Avoid distraction and give your undivided attention.
  19. Make the other person feel special.
  20. Observe non-verbal clues.
  21. Give choices to give more power.
  22. Share your feelings.
  23. Focus on problem-solving only if specifically requested.
  24. Be OK with saying “No.”
  25. Talk about your dreams for yourself and together.
  26. Write what you want to say first.
  27. Delay a response if you need to if overly emotional.
  28. You can disagree without being disrespectful.
  29. Use tentative statements like “In my opinion…If you ask me…From my point of you…Could you consider…”
  30. Speak only positive words or ask in a positive way.

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