Healthy Communication

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Healthy communication is a skill that definitely hasn’t been adequately modelled to many of us and it’s something that all of us can choose to practice.

This is what healthy communication looks like:

  • Listening to understand – Healthy and efficient communication is based on authentic listening and making the other person feel heard. You’re not just listening to respond or waiting for your turn to speak; you’re listening to understand what the other person is saying and what they mean. It’s important to try to understand where someone’s coming from – even if you disagree.
  • Mutual respect – Healthy communication is all about mutual respect. You’re not attacking each other, you’re teaming up to solve an issue. That doesn’t mean that you’ll never get frustrated or angry, but it does mean that conflicts are still grounded in respect instead of judgement or abuse.
  • Asking for clarification – Asking instead of assuming is central to healthy communication. When your communication is healthy, you’re free to ask for clarification instead of jumping to conclusions. Less drama, more clarity. You know that you won’t be mocked or ridiculed for asking for clarification, and you give the other person the benefit of the doubt and a chance to explain before making decisions based on assumptions.
  • Authentic apologies – We all mess up sometimes. Relationships aren’t about being perfect; they’re about taking accountability and being committed to repairing the situation when something goes wrong. Healthy communication involves authentic apologies with awareness of what went wrong, talking things through, and a plan to do things differently in the future.
  • Keeping the other person “in the loop” is about clarity. This doesn’t mean you have to share every thought and thing you do with the people in your life. But especially in our closest relationships, healthy communication includes keeping our loved ones in the loop about what we’re planning or how we’re feeling about certain situations or things.
  • Communicating willingly and openly – Trying to force another adult to communicate is stressful and frustrating for everyone. Everyone in the relationship should be committed to open communication: choosing to talk about the important things and address things before they pile up. This can include talking about things when they emerge instead of bottling them up and expecting the other person to pick up on something being wrong, for example.

Healthy communication tips (like keeping someone ‘in the loop’ or asking for clarification) can also backfire, not work, or be actively dangerous if you’re in an unhealthy, deeply dysfunctional relationship that lacks mutual respect and safety.

What else would you add?

10 Comments Add yours

  1. Love, love, love this post! First, you were very clear and concise. That’s important. Asking for clarification as being central to healthy communication is spot on. Part of our nature as human beings is to take things and run with them, even without true understanding; just our own. When receiving from another person, it is critical to understand where they are coming from. Asking for clarification is also practicing listening to understanding. This is a powerful post. Last, but not least, you have included how to practice healthy communication. Thank you so much for sharing!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. GS says:

      Thank you for your kind words of appreciation for the post. Clarification allows both the speaker and the listener to make sense of these frequently perplexing and complex issues. Asking the right question at the right time can be crucial and comes with practice. The best questions are open-ended as they give the speaker choice in how to respond, whereas closed questions allow only very limited responses.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Qonyike says:

    I really need this. I’m one to criticize in the middle of a conversation. I get that not everyone is perfect. Healthy communication is a topic overlooked. Perhaps if this was done more often, we wouldn’t have an invasion of a country by another nearby nation. Thank you 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. GS says:

      I agree the world would be a better place. One of the main benefits of Healthy communication is that It promotes trust. When leaders set the standard for communication across the company, they form a positive example for team members. These examples encourage collaboration, teamwork, and trust. A trusting work environment excels when colleagues communicate openly.

      Like

  3. Brenda says:

    I’m in agreement with vercellonopace above – this is such a good post and well rounded. I’m also so pleased that you started off with listening skills. We’re all so focused on what we want to say, impatiently trying to get our points across that we don’t take time to practice active listening skills. its probably the most fundamental communication skill and is sadly lacking in so many.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. GS says:

      Thank you to you both. I appreciate your additions to the post. Active listening is an important part of your communication skill set because it encourages openness, honesty, and success. When you pay attention to your conversation partner, you show that person they are being heard, thus building trust and making that person feel like their words matter to you.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Very good piece on healthy communication. That point on ‘communicating willingly’ hits a spot. This is where I get weary and quit…we can’t force it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. GS says:

      Agreed it’s very important. Believing that people have good intentions and being curious about their perception of the world. Even though their actions or ideas may not make sense in your world, it is very possible that it makes perfect sense in their world. Taking other people’s perceptions of reality to be as true as your own

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Your discussion offers much. Feedback between the sender and receiver is important to clarify the whole process. I am pleased that you listed “listening” as your first point. It is often forgotten.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. GS says:

      Thank you. Listening is important because it helps us understand our audience and, thus, tailor our message to their needs and concerns. By listening well — through active listening — we can discover the best way to deliver the message we want our audience to hear.

      Like

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