9 Simple Phrases to Improve Your Relationships!
Every conversation is an opportunity for you to strengthen your relationship with someone. Changing these simple phrases that we use in our everyday language can have a positive impact on the way we feel and help us achieve the desired outcomes of our conversations. When people feel you are collaborative and supportive, your relationships are enriched. These phrases can help you be more collaborative and supportive.
“Help me understand.”
Using this phrase reduces defensiveness and creates space for sharing perspectives. Rather than asking “why” which can result in defensiveness, “help me understand” asks for partnership and indicates to the other person that you want to learn from them. This phrase bridges differences.
Replace the word “try” with the word “practice”.
Particularly when you are committing to changing behaviors. The definition of the word “try” is to make an effort to do something or attempt something. The definition of the word “practice” is to perform something repeatedly in order to acquire and improve a skill or to carry out in action. Trying implies room for failure and quitting. Practicing implies continuous improvement and striving for accomplishment.
Replace the word “but” with the word “and”.
Stop and think. We use the word “but” when we have two competing ideas. Competition inherently creates a winner and a loser. It’s much more collaborative to communicate, “this is true and this is true”. When we recognize both perspectives, we can decide how to move forward to accomplish a mutually beneficial outcome rather than staying focused on which version of reality wins.
Additionally, using “and” doesn’t negate the first part of our statements. “I think what you did was good and…” feels much better than, “I think what you did was good but…”
Rather than saying, “I know”, practice using the phrase “I can imagine”.
When we use the phrase “I know”, particularly during a conversation in which people are hearing difficult news or there are strong feelings, a common reaction for the listener is to respond with, “No, you don’t know. You are not the one who…”. And rightly so – no one feels exactly as the next person, we all react differently. The phrase “I can imagine” communicates empathy and relationship rather than telling someone you know their circumstances perhaps better than they know them themselves.
Practice getting confirmation by asking a clarifying question that specifically relates to at least one of these: What; So What; Now What?
Asking these questions indicates not only that you heard the other person, it paves a path to further clarity, moves the discussion toward action oriented outcomes, and results in co-creating opportunities and change.
Practice saying “no” with accountability.
I can imagine that saying “no” is difficult for you. It can be for me. And at times, it can be the most responsible thing to say in a relationship. When we say, “yes” without conviction, we are not likely to keep our commitments. Saying “no” authentically and honestly and providing reasons why you can’t comply with a request, honors people much more than a quick “yes” to spare feelings.
It’s also important to recognize that every time you say “yes” to something, you are also saying “no” to something else. When you commit to take action in any relationship, realize what you won’t be able to commit to when you make your choice. Yin, yang will prevail and the balance of opportunity costs will exist with every yes and every no you utter.
Use the phrase “I observe” rather than making an evaluation statement.
“I observe that you’re raising your voice and interrupting” is a statement that specifies behaviors that have a direct impact on the conditions of the conversation, rather than making a judgmental statement such as, “You sure are angry!” that may or may not be accurate and can misdirect the conversation
When making requests, use the phrase “I would like”.
Ask for what you would like, clearly and specifically rather than stating what you don’t want. This shift keeps the conversation and relationship focused on positive actions rather than communicating negativity and blame.
Make a point, every day to say, “I appreciate you because…” to at least one person.
This statement doesn’t have to be in exactly these words. It can be as simple as offering to get another person an unexpected cup of coffee, telling someone their smile just brightened your day or that the way they formatted that report makes it easy to understand the data. Expressing gratitude will lead to increasing happiness in your life and the lives of others you touch.
I appreciate you taking time to stop for a moment and read my post! Help me understand your perspective – I would like you to leave a comment if you have feedback or more suggestions for my readers!
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