Start a Conversation: Ways to Help a Failing Relationship

Photo by Bruce Tuten / CC BY

Dialogue is essential to exchange ideas and opinions, especially in difficult situations.  Those conversations can derail if one person uses language to point another person’s faults, while trying to correct a problem.  However, every person should consider using positive communication to share feedback that gets results.


Relationship Struggles

Sometimes, individuals experience relationship trouble.  For instance, that person may have  trouble getting along with someone.  Another issue is that previous relationship bonds have become broken, and result in continuous disagreement.  There are instances when people are fed up with each other and no longer want to have dealings.  These situations make it hard to converse.


The Headaches of Relationships Gone Bad

Relationship issues give rise to a series of emotions.  For example, people experience mood changes.  Conversation becomes awkward and painful.  Oftentimes, people have feelings of being stuck, unable to move forward with one another.  Furthermore, individuals tend to think they have spent way too much time on the problem.  Without resolution, individuals become angry and resentful of each other.


Make a Plan to Save the Relationship

There are clear-cut ways to resolve these situations.  Communication tools can positively influence another person’s behavior.  Yet, the situation may require all involved parties must be willing to change the way they view the situation.

Use positive communication that focuses on the person’s strengths.  One tool should be to speak to the other person’s strengths.  The person speaking should use language that focuses on the other person’s interests and what is important to the person they are speaking to.

The person delivering the message will also benefit from good, positive communication.  For example, these responses allow them to be honest, provide authentic feedback, and the positive environment allows them to communicate their position, while sharing their thoughts using non-threatening language.

Helpful Language Gets Results

There are multiple benefits from using positive communication.  People listen and pay attention to what you have to say.  Oftentimes, the other person will be open to negotiation to find a way to reach an agreement that can be beneficial to all parties involved.  Fostering a positive environment can allow a person to make small changes in their behavior, which can eliminate conflict.  Furthermore, these powerful situations allow every person to take part in sharing their voice to shape future outcomes of the relationship.  Aiming for positive, criticism-free conversation without putting the listener in a defensive mode, allows the other person to change their behavior and grow.


Steps to Get the Conversation Going

There are simple ways to introduce healthy conversation.  Here are some simple steps to create positive, criticism-free conversation

  1. First, state the current situation as you see it. For instance, if a difficult situation arises, one person should go to the other person.  Face-to-face, one person start by verbally explaining the situation, based on their viewpoint.
  1. Second, hear the other person’s thoughts. One should ask the other person to share their viewpoint, while remaining silent.
  1. Third, focus on building trust. For instance, the person listening should admit the points of view they share the same opinion on and the feelings they had.
  1. Fourth, contrast dissimilar views. All parties involved in the conversation should state the points of view they have a different standpoint on.
  1. Fifth, make a simple plan to move forward. Together, a consensus should be reached using a simple set of action steps to move forward in the relationship.



Relationships may experience difficult times.  However, there are tools to keep important people in each of our lives.  Instead of speaking negatively to about a person, positive communication can help remove barriers.  When people take the time to understand how the other person feels, what is important to them, and look for a solution that helps everyone move forward, powerful relationships develop.