Having healthy relationships in both your professional and personal life is essential for your mental wellbeing and productivity. Here’s a way to help you optimise both.

Human life is centred on relationships. We all have to interact with other people, whether it’s with family and friends or colleagues and associates. When these relationships are breaking down, it can be very stressful. The key to fixing all these relationships can often be found in better communication.

As the world recovers from COVID19 and the isolation that was so much part of this pandemic, we’re all re-learning how to be around each other. Ups and downs are a natural part of all relationships, but effective communication helps us deal better with potential conflict.

The purpose of communication is for you to explain to someone else what you’re experiencing and what your needs are, for them to do the same. Even though communication is essential to human interaction, most of us have never been formally taught how to communicate well.

Broken telephone
When communication isn’t effective, it leads to misunderstandings, confusion and unnecessary conflict. While everyone wants to be heard and understood, very often people don’t know how to listen, which is an essential part of good communication.

It’s important for you to express yourself clearly, but it’s just as important for you to hear the other person and their viewpoint, so that you can get on the same page sooner rather than later.

It’s also important to remember that people have different communication styles. The more you understand your partner’s communication style, the easier it will be for you to communicate. The same applies to colleagues, family members and friends. Without effective communication, it takes you longer to reach your goals, and the path to reaching them can be a painful and unnecessarily difficult one.

Manage conflict
Communication experts offer the following advice to help you manage conflict through better communication:

  • Avoid using the silent treatment.
  • Don’t jump to conclusions. Find out all the facts rather than guessing at motives.
  • Discuss what actually happened. Don’t judge.
  • Learn to understand each other, not to defeat each other.
  • Talk using the future and present tense, not the past tense.
  • Don’t bring up issues from the past but focus on resolving the current issue.
  • Talk about the problems that hurt you or your partner’s feelings, then move on to problems about differences in opinions.
  • Use ‘I feel’ statements, not ‘You are’ statements.


Modern living has its various stressors. When it comes to communication, digital gadgets are convenient, but they also get in the way of good communication.

In other words, our devices have become part of the problem with the breakdown in communication. Not only are many people distracted by their devices, but often things can get lost in translation via text messages.

Recent studies show that even having your phone upside down on the table can still prove to be a distraction. Putting your phone away completely will make a big difference to how focused you are on who you’re speaking to, immediately making you connect better.

Most smartphones have various options of “Do Not Disturb” that will help you switch off, be more present and real as you communicate face to face with family, friends and loved ones.