The 25 Statements Necessary for Relationship Success

A guest post by Susan Campbell.

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In my 55 years as a relationship coach, I have discovered that most misunderstandings are preventable if people can master what I call “the 25 statements necessary for relationship success.” Here’s a quiz you can take right now to see how many of these essential statements are already in your communication repertoire. After you take and score the quiz, please read my closing comments about why communication can be so difficult and how to become a more effective communicator.

Can You Make These Statements?

Take a look at the 25 statements below. Next to each statement, write 0 if it would rarely or never occur to you to say this, 1 if you might occasionally make this statement, and 2 if such a statement is typical of your style.

1. Hearing you say _________, I feel _______. (e.g., Hearing you say, “When are you going to fix the fence?” I feel some resistance coming up in me.)

2. I want you to listen and hear me out before responding.

3. I’m sorry. If I had it to do over, I would ________.

4. Tell me more about why you feel/think/see it that way. (Useful when you do not immediately agree with something.)

5. I didn’t mean to hurt you. What I wish I’d been able to communicate is ____.

6. I’d like to make it up to you/to make amends.

7. Could we sit down and talk about something that’s on my mind?

8. I’m feeling unfinished about that recent conversation between us. Could we talk about it?

9. I need some time before I respond to you.

10. I hear that you think/want ____. I see it differently than that. May I tell you how I see it/what I want?

11. I think/favor/want ____. What do you think/favor/want?

12. I appreciate you for ______ (something specific the other person did or said).

13. I want ______. How does that work for you? (Or “Is this something you can give?”)

14. I feel crummy about what just happened. Can we talk about it?

15. I notice myself getting defensive. I think I’m getting triggered.

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16. I see what you mean/I understand how you could feel that way.

17. I’m feeling insecure. Can I have a hug?

18. I’m feeling a need for reassurance. Are we OK?

19. I’m feeling amorous/turned on/sexual … how about you?

20. I need some support/sympathy/understanding. Are you available to listen?

21. I’m getting triggered. Can we hit “pause” until I can calm myself?

22. I want to feel connected to you. Will you tell me what’s going on inside you?

23. Can we start this conversation over?

24. I like the way you ______ (move, smile, look at me, touch me, hold me, express yourself, etc.).

25. I want you to just listen to me without trying to help or solve anything.

Scoring

The highest possible score is 50, and the lowest would be 0. The higher your score, the higher is your likelihood of having successful relationships. Here is a breakdown of what your scores might mean:

0–9: You probably find yourself frustrated in relationships more often than you would like. Perhaps the Getting Real practices will open your eyes to new possibilities.

10–30: You have a high aptitude for relating and are open to learning. You will probably find the Getting Real practices compatible with your style.

31–40: You have good relationship skills and have the aptitude to take your skills to the highest level if you wish. Keep using these phrases with others. Keep taking risks to clear the air and keep it clear.

41–50: Your capacity for present-centered relating is already at a very high level. Congratulations! By continuing to practice and develop your in-the-moment awareness you will be helping others become better communicators. Aware communication is contagious … pass it on!

Whatever your score today, you are now aware of these statements. If you use them consistently, you’ll experience more success and fulfillment in your business and personal relationships.

Why Is Communication So Complicated?

Communication between people is a multi-layered thing. In any communication event, there are two important aspects to be aware of: the content level and the feeling level. The content level consists of the facts or information being exchanged, as in “No, I’m not interested in seeing that movie.” The feeling level consists of the feelings that are present in both the speaker and the listener — how the speaker feels saying “No” and how the listener feels hearing “No.”

These 25 statements help you become more aware of the feeling level of communication — so you do not leave the conversation with a sense of frustration or unfinished emotional business. They assist you in addressing your present-time feelings. They help you clean up the old business from recent unsatisfying interactions, so you don’t build up more unfinished business. And they bring your awareness into the present moment. When you are aware of your present-time feelings and reactions, you’re more “all there” in the interaction, so you will naturally feel more confident and less prone to overreact out of fear.

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Linda & Charlie Bloom

Linda Bloom LCSW and Charlie Bloom MSW, married since 1972, are experts in the field of relationships and have published four successful books. bloomwork.com