How well do you communicate? Nine questions.
or use the manual version below.
Communication Assessment Manual Version
Please answer the following questions by choosing (a) or (b). Please answer by choosing the letter according to how you think or respond the majority of the time.
1. Do you believe that disagreements or arguments are
- harmful and negative for a relationship or
- helpful and positive for a relationship
2. Do you believe that your partner should
- know what you are thinking and feeling or
- hear what you are thinking and feeling
- Do you
- drop hints about your concerns in the relationship or
- get right to the point when discussing a concern in the relationship
- Do you tell your partner
- what you don’t like about them and your relationship or
- what you like about them and your relationship
- Do you
- withdraw from a conflict or conversation with your partner or
- stay around until there is a resolution of the conflict or conversation
- Do you
- hint at what you want or don’t want from your partner or
- state clearly what you want and don’t want
- Do you
- interrupt your partner’s conversation or
- wait until they have finished stating their thoughts and ideas
- Do you
- blame your partner or others for your relationship problems or
- acknowledge and accept your part in your relationship problems
- Were your parents
- poor communicators or
- good communicators
The answer “b” to all questions indicates more effective communication. The more b’s you have, the better you’re doing. The a’s indicate an opportunity to improve. The following explains why “b” is the better answer for each question:
1. Intimacy and conflict go hand in hand. If you want real intimacy with your mate, then there will be real conflict. People just don’t agree on everything at all times. How you handle the resulting disagreements is more important than whether or not you have them. The most successful couples work through their disagreements and conflicts together and develop a stronger relationship as a result of that teamwork.
2. No one is a mind reader and it is really impossible for your partner to know what you are thinking and feeling no matter how long you have known each other. It is important that you agree to say what is important and to talk until you both agree that you understand.
3. Dropping hints waste your time and your partner’s time and it usually leads to misunderstanding and disappointment. Get right to the point so your partner won’t have to guess what your concerns are in the relationship. State how you feel by using “I” statements instead of “you” statements.
4. Concentrating on what you like about your mate and your relationship will lead to a more positive relationship. If you concentrate on the things you don’t like, it’s easy to overlook the good things. Negativity breeds negativity which then makes communication and problem solving more difficult. Use positive elements of the relationship as a foundation upon which to learn and grow. We get more of what we concentrate on!
5. Communication requires two people. Issues will remain unsettled unless you and your partner agree to communicate. We recommend that you agree to communicate with the guidelines of understanding, kindness, honesty and respect as ground rules. These guidelines will serve to reduce tension and remind you both that you are on the same team. As a couple agree to your own discussion rules which can include such things as time-outs for cooling off or thinking.
6. Most of us don’t pick up on hints so don’t expect your partner to guess what you do or don’t want. Make clear and direct statements. Follow the guidelines of understanding, kindness, honesty and respect. These guidelines make it easier to state your desires in a positive way and are more likely to be understood and well received.
7. Successful communication requires good listening. No one wants to be interrupted while they are speaking. We all want our feelings and thoughts to be heard, valued and understood. Listen for understanding. Rephrase what you have heard your partner say and then ask if this is correct. Save your side of the discussion until you have validated your partner’s feelings. Validating your partner’s feelings and thoughts is the key to success.
8. Blame fuels the fire of disagreement. Most of the time we believe that our position is acceptable and tend to blame the other person for any misunderstanding rather than to see our own flaws in communicating. Analyze your part in fueling a problem and avoid blaming others. Be responsible for your role in the relationship.
9. We tend to learn by example. If your parents were poor communicators more than likely you have learned and now act out some ineffective ways of communicating. These habits may seem quite comfortable to you even if they are not working. It is up to you to learn new positive ways to communicate. Be persistent and practice until they become habit.