Communication Ground Rules
COMMUNICATION GROUND RULES
Following is a list of suggestions & tips to keep a conversation from turning into an argument/fight. This will allow everyone involved to feel less hurt or attached and more understood and cared for.
- Only one person speaks at a time.
- Keep comments brief, so everyone gets a turn.
- Challenge ideas, words, and actions…but make it clear you are not attacking the other person.
- Take a time out if the situation is becoming too heated or upsetting. Determine for how long, then return in an attempt to resolve the situation/issue being discussed.
- Respect when the other person needs a time out.
- Take deep breaths often, to keep yourself calm – ESPECIALLY when you feel like lashing out at the other person.
- Do NOT bring up past hurts or arguments.
- Do NOT “hit below the belt” or use the other person’s triggers/sensitivities as leverage.
- Do not have arguments when there is not enough time, space, or privacy.
- Do not allow one argument to “mushroom” into a battle over EVERYTHING. Stay focused on one issue or problem at a time.
- Allow humor to arise spontaneously. If done respectfully, letting a smile or giggle through when it feels genuine – perhaps at the absurdity of it all – can work wonders in defusing a heated argument.
- When someone breaks a rule, point it out calmly and respectfully (otherwise the rules themselves will become something to fight about).
- No name calling.
- DO NOT try to “win”!
- It’s “ok” to apologize/admit you are wrong.
If you are considering counseling to improve your/your family’s communication skills, or if you need additional information, please reach out to one of our mental health professionals by clicking on the Find A Therapist tab at the top of this page.