Developed by HRI Program Coordinator, Camila Dos Santos, M.Ed.

Open and transparent communication is crucial to having a healthy relationship, but for many of us, it takes both practice and intentionality to create a trusting space where everyone feels comfortable sharing their thoughts, feelings, and fears without judgment.  

Through HRI, we have developed a number of resources to help aid communication in relationships of all kinds.  In this week’s series, we will focus on our conversation starters, or questions, that are designed to help you connect, reflect, and communicate about the things that are important to you and your partner. In fact, many of the conversation starters we share can also prove useful for other types of relationships as well. 

Our challenge for you this week is to pick a couple of the conversation starters we share and spend at least 10 minutes discussing with your partner or loved one. A couple of important tips before you start the conversation:

  • Set aside time so that your conversation does not feel rushed.
  • Have your conversation in private places that you both feel comfortable in. 
  • Commit to active listening – instead of thinking about what you are going to say next while your partner is speaking, make it a point to intentionally listen to what they say, and to pause before responding. 
  • Be open to disagreements. Healthy relationships are not without conflict! Rather, healthy relationships handle conflict together through communication and listening. 
  • As much as this conversation will teach you a lot about your partner, remember that it can teach you about yourself too, and to use what you learn to self-reflect on your role in the relationship. 
  • Commit to kindness and respect with your partner – not only in this conversation, but in all!

Even if it feels strange at first, you may be surprised to learn something new about yourself or your partner! You also may find that you feel more connected and in tune with each other after this activity! 

Adapted from HRI Toolkit for Couples: