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4 Do's (and Don'ts!) of Successful Relationships

Updated: Jul 30, 2020

Ah, Love! That magical, elusive feeling that leaves us on cloud nine...or down in the dumps (#DisneyRelationships #ToxicRelationships).

As much as we glorify being in a relationship (#RelationshipGoals), having close family relationships, or having that #RideOrDie best friend, respectful communication is hard when you don't feel like you're needs are met. People don't usually get into relationships thinking that they are going to break up and yet they do, time and time again. However, according to Gottman at, there are ways to practice effective communication and therefore promote the longevity of all of our relationships.

4 Do's (and Don'ts!) of How to Communicate in Relationships

1. DO State your needs in a respectful, objective way that tracks behaviors, rather than intentions.

DON'T criticize the other person for something that they weren't aware of.

Ex: "Last night, you came home at 2am, rather than 11pm, like we discussed. That made me very worried about you. In the future, I would appreciate an update if you are going to be late."

2. DO acknowledge how your friend/partner/family member has added to your life and validate their work

DON'T use contempt or shame to bully them into action.

Ex: "I really appreciated letting me know that you were going out, and I also noticed that you cleaned the dishes! Thanks!!"

3. DO listen to your partners/friend's/family member's grievances without immediately defending yourself.

DON'T invalidate, become defensive, or interrupt.

Ex: "I want to listen to whats going on for you. I see that you're upset."

4. DO engage in conversation if it is appropriate and also respect your own boundaries and the need to take breaks during arguments.

DON'T ignore, pretend like you're partner isn't in the room, or walk away without explanation.

Ex: "I'm feeling pretty anxious right now and don't want to say something I don't mean. Would it be okay if we cooled off for five minutes?"

The 4 do's and don'ts of communication can correlate with decreased relationship anxiety, an increase in mindfulness, and simply an ability to give more time to yourself to enjoy your life with your partner, family, and community without resentment, keeping score, and emotional walls.

Pivot Counseling, PLLC offering BCBS covered telehealth and in-person therapy for individuals struggling with Anxiety, Depression, Relationships, and Eating Disorders in Durham, NC. For more information regarding individual counseling, please go to

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