Communication is important for developing strong relationships. It could mean discussing a tricky topic with a loved one, talking about a health issue with your healthcare provider and much more.
Most of us would agree that good communication is vital for building strong relationships, whether it’s raising a sensitive topic with someone you care about or talking to your friends and family about your own health. This section provides advice, information and resources that may help for better conversations.
Raising a sensitive topic
If you, or someone close to you, is facing a challenge, talking about it can be helpful and make it seem less daunting. However, sometimes it can be hard to start a conversation, particularly if it is about a sensitive or emotional issue.
Talking to a family member or friend about a health problem can be hard, but communication is very important for keeping families close and well-connected. Many couples and families go through life without saying how much they care about the other.
It is necessary for everyone to talk honestly and freely about what they’re feeling. Having open and honest conversations may not only reduce episodes of stress; it may also encourage closeness and emotional support.
You may be worried about a partner, family member or friend who you think should make changes to avoid becoming sick or you may be thinking about making changes yourself. Whatever the reason – it’s always good to talk and share ideas.
Getting the conversation started with those you care about
Tip 1: Be reassuring and tell them how much you care for them and how important they are to you.
Tip 2: Offer help and support, help them talk through the issue and ask how you can help.
Tip 3: Brainstorm a few ideas together – see our problem-solving section.
Tip 4: Avoid arguing and nagging them about making changes.
Tip 5: Focus on the good things about making changes.
Friends & family – for more information about helping someone quit smoking The Quit Group, NZ
How to talk about alcoholism or issues with alcohol alcohol.org.nz & Health Promotion Agency, NZ
Losing weight – conversation starters Healthfinder, Department of Health & Human Services, US
Effective communication Helpguide
Effective communication – improving your social skills AnxietyBC
Active listening – hear what people are really saying Mind Tools