Healthy communication is essential to building, nurturing and maintaining relationships. Healthy communication is grounded in respect for the listener or audience, the ability to use “I” statements, and having a goal of being heard and understood. In addition, healthy communication requires the parties to be open to listening and hearing what others have to say in response. Healthy communication leads to improved relationships, and the ability to obtain wants and needs.
Signs of Optimal Health & Wellness
Indicators of healthy communication include:
Often feeling heard or understood
Easy navigation through conflict or tough situations
Ability to match communication style to audience
Clear goals or outcomes for the communication
Ability to listen to and hear unexpected responses
Consistently able to articulate and obtain needs and wants
Warning signs include:
Feeling unheard or misunderstood
Avoidance of conflict or tough situations
Lack of consideration or awareness in how communication is being received by the intended audience
Unclear or negative goals of communication
Inability to maintain basic respect during a disagreement
Use of coercions, exploitation or manipulation to meet goals
Feeling left out, feeling unimportant
Prolonged inability to communicate in person
Unable to express or obtain needs and wants
Communication is critical for effective relationship building. When warning signs are present, it may be time to evaluate your communication style. Ask yourself: Do I use “I” statements? Do I treat the intended audience with basic dignity and respect? Am I being clear in my communication? Am I willing to engage in conflict or tough conversations when needed? If the answers are no, it may be time to learn new communication styles or skills.
Research basic communication skills and style online
Sometimes learning new communication skills isn’t enough, particularly when unhealed trauma is present. This can lead us to maintaining destructive or ineffective communication patterns. In these case, it might be necessary to get support.