Learning Positive and Negative Interpersonal Communication Skills

Interpersonal communication skills are among the most important factors to maintaining positive relationships. Peer through the differing forms of communications below to see if you might be conversing with others in a positive or negative way.

Negative Communications

DISCOUNTING:  “Your needs are not as important as mine!”

WITHDRAW/ABANDONMENT:  “Do what I want or I’ll leave or give you the emotional deep freeze”

THREATS/PUNISHMENTS:  “I’ll hurt you or deprive you of something if you don’t do what I want”

BLAMING:  “My needs are your fault.  Your need is your fault”

BELITTLING/PUT-DOWNS:  “You’re foolish for wanting or thinking that”

GUILT TRIPPING:  “You’re unfair for wanting that … you shouldn’t/should do this because I think so or because I want it”

DERAILING:  “I’m switching topics for what you (or I) started talking about even though we haven’t reached any resolution”

MIND READING:  “I know what you really think or feel”

SUMMARIZING SELF:  “I know you’d agree with me if you could just get what I am saying, so I’ll repeat myself until you get it”

CROSS COMPLAINING:  “If you complain about me, I’ll complain about you”

KITCHEN SINKING:  “You did this, and also that, and also that ….”

YES, BUT:  “I don’t really agree, so I will tell you all of the reasons that I can’t do what you are asking for”

DISAGREE OR OPINIONS WITHOUT RATIONALE:  “I’m right.  I just feel that way, no matter what”

UNCLEAR:  “Just… I don’t know … kind of like that”

NEGATIVE NONVERBAL:  Frowns, cold voice, rude gestures

YOU STATEMENTS:  “You made me feel so sad/mad etc”

Positive Communications

VALIDATING OTHERS:   “I can see why you’d feel that way”

RESPECT, COMMITMENTS:   Even though we disagree, I’ll hang in there until we work this out”

POSITIVE REINFORCEMENT:  “I’d really like it if you did this for me .. and it would lead to this positive outcome for you”

TEAMWORK/PROBLEM SOLVING:  “Let’s not worry about who’s to blame, but figure out how we can solve problems”

COMPLIMENTS:  “I appreciate how much effort you put into this”

ACCEPTANCE:  “I accept who you are and acknowledge you have a right to feel that way, even if I disagree”

BACK ON THE POINT:  “Wait a second … what do we want to be talking about?”

CHECKING OUT:  “I think this is where you are on this … is that right?”

SUMMARIZING:  “So what I hear you saying is …”  “Sounds like you feel …”

ACCEPTING RESPONSIBILITY:  “Yes, I did that … I’m sorry it had that effect on you”

FOCUSING ON SPECIFICS:  “Yesterday, you did X … in the future, could you try Y?”

ACKNOWLEDGE DISAGREEMENT, PROVIDE RATIONALE:  “I have a different take on this; my perspective is …”

AGREE/DISAGREE WITH RATIONALE:  “Here’s my thinking on this”

CLARIFICATION REQUEST:  “Could you give me some specifics on that?”

POSITIVE NONVERBAL:  Smiles, warm voice, eye contact

‘I’ STATEMENTS:  “When you do X, it pushes my buttons and I get angry”