There’s something freeing about having open communication with those who are closest to us especially when we know they are listening to understand.

Like the time I was sharing with a friend how she had hurt my feelings when we were on an outing. I was expecting her to be offended, but knew I had to share the incident with her regardless of the outcome because it was weighing so heavily on me. Instead of her being offended she quietly listened as I poured out my feelings of how and why I was hurt.

When I finished lovingly sharing with her how I was feeling she said, “First let me say I love you very much and secondly I am so sorry that what I said hurt you.” She didn’t make excuses; she didn’t come back with “well you said this, or you did this.” She didn’t get offended; she didn’t yell and bring up past situations where I had hurt her. She simply said, “I’m sorry and I love you.” I knew then that I had been heard and understood.

Sometimes in a difficult conversation that’s all we need, to know the other person cared enough to listen and understand. Communicating effectively is vital to maintaining open and healthy relationships.

Following is a list of 4 things that we need to practice if we want to have open, honest communication in our relationships.

Don’t take it personally and become offended. Remember this is about the other person and their feelings at the moment not you and yours.

Listen to understand NOT to respond. Don’t talk over that person trying to explain why you did what you did or why you said what you said. Breathe, listen, and genuinely try to understand.

Don’t say I’m sorry, but… A true sorry does not have a but behind it. It’s a simple “I’m sorry” and that’s that!

Don’t bring up the past. This is not the time for you to bring up how you were hurt by something they said or did 6 months ago. That will only throw fuel on the fire. Again, this moment is about them not you.

To communicate effectively means to do these 4 things really well. While these things can make communication incredibly challenging or feel a little awkward, they will help you communicate better and build healthier relationships. From there with practice, it will start to come naturally to you.

What are some of the ways that have helped you communicate positively? Leave a comment below!