How to Boost Your Communication Skills


How to boost your ability to manage difficult people or situations in this blog...

A lady saw me with a history of frequent headaches.  She was drinking plenty of water, so dehydration was not the problem. It turned out that the headaches were triggered each time she had contact with her mother.

Communication and relationships are a huge topic. I advise at least one person everyday who is having trouble with relationships.   Relationships - whether with family, friends or work colleagues – can definitely be challenging.

Mind reading has been tried by many people. Effectively they hope that the other person will read their mind and change their behaviour so they will then be happy. Does it work? I am still waiting to hear of a successful result!

Clues that you may be having trouble getting your message across.

• Poor sleep

• Anxiety

• Craving chocolate or lollies?

• Feeling frustrated?

• Fatigue

• Want to run away or lie on a couch

• Bloating, constipation, back pain, headaches

Yes, there are also a lot of physical causes that need to be ruled out. The bottom line is that emotional stress is often a trigger or contributor for the above symptoms.

Here are some of my thoughts and general advice.


Healthy boundaries preserve our integrity and filter out harm. How good are you at setting and protecting your personal boundaries? Have you walked away from a conversation, meeting, or visit feeling violated and not understood?  

Once again I recommend that you get a copy of “Where to Draw the Line” by Anne Katherine. It is a practical guide to establishing and maintaining healthy boundaries in many different situations.  Topics covered include friendships, sexual relationships, dress and appearance, time management, money and food. Her book offers skills and strategies that will help you make choices that balance your own needs with the needs of others.

Time Frames

Quite a few people have told me about difficult friendships or relationships that have gone on for years. The results have included low confidence, low self- esteem and exhaustion. Work out how long you are willing to put in the time and effort to sort out stressful people and situations. Ideally you will be making progress within six to twelve months. The exception is where a relationship is unsafe and needs to be ended quickly.

Neutral Ground

Meet on neutral ground when discussions at home result in frustration. Meet your friend or relative in a public place such as a café. People tend to stand their ground in the safety of their own home and avoid reviewing their opinions. Thus behaviour is more likely to be relatively polite and flexible in a public area.

Assertive Skills

Assertive skills make a huge difference to how you get on with others. This is where you choose words that say how you feel about or see a concern. For example, “I feel uncomfortable when… “ is a non- threatening way of speaking. Pointing your finger and saying that “You are a pain in the…” or “It’s your fault that…” is guaranteed to put the other person on the defensive and escalate conflict.

Protect the Young and Innocent

Protect your children. Avoid involving your children when you are unhappy with a partner. Lots of people tell me of emotional scars from their childhood as a result of getting drawn into, or trying to fix parental arguments. Some of these children have grown up to realise that they have spent the rest of their lives attempting to please, fix and rescue others.

Having the Last Word

Some people have a pattern of always wanting to have the last word and finish the discussion. How do you think the other person will feel or respond? Will they feel resentful or controlled? You may need to let the other person have the last word. Perhaps one or both of you need some time to think about your options and can revisit them in a day or two.

I Will Get back To You

I will get back to you. Children are masters at wanting something NOW. Some adults are no different. “I will get back to you when…” is a really useful phrase. It is empowering and there are many times that you will benefit from some extra time to come up with the best decision.

What Else Can You Do To Boost Your Communication, Mood and Emotions?

Make an appointment to see me, a counsellor or psychologist to give you independent advice, skills and strategies to improve your communication skills and review how you manage your boundaries. As is often said – If you do the same thing over and over again, you will get the same results over and over again. There is a limit to what most people can achieve by themselves.

Those who know me well, will be aware that journaling, appropriate exercise and food choices are an expected part of my holistic approach to boosting communication skills, energy and resilience.

Enjoy a healthy life,

Dr Pete

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