5 Types Of Conversations That Can Kill A Relationship

types of conversations that can kill a relationship

The best relationships feel safe. Though many people claim the comfort of being with someone in silence as a true sign of a strong relationship, how you converse when you finally speak can make or break the connection. Speaking and showing you care are inseparable.

When you are angry or annoyed by others, your emotions may come out sideways in your conversations. When you don’t know how to talk about how you feel, you use your words and gestures to wound them. The sting could cause permanent harm to your relationship.

Conversational Weapons

Ursula K. Le Guin said, “Words are events; they do things, change things.”1 In moments of pain or anger, words can wound others and damage relationships.

We have all used the weapons described below in our lives, as children and adults. These events not only affected the connection at the moment; you might still experience the impact today. As you read the list, try to remember what triggered these behaviors in you. Be honest with yourself. Then seek to catch your reactions in the future to strengthen instead of scar your relationships.

1. Punish someone with insults if they hurt, irritate, or disappoint you.

2. Use the excuse of being authentic and speaking your truth to criticize someone.

3. Shut down or angrily respond when they get defensive.

4. Roll your eyes, look away, smirk, laugh when they are serious, and interrupt before they complete an idea.

5. Rehearse in your mind what you are going to say while they speak, then beat them to death by explaining why you are right and they are wrong.

Related: 11 Conversation Killers To Avoid At All Costs

Be careful of your spontaneous expressions that serve as counterattacks meant to demean the person’s behavior. You can share if something they did offended you so they know the impact of their words or actions. Then give them space to digest what you share. No one likes to feel bad or wrong; they may need some time to think before they accept your disclosure.

When you use a respectful tone and accept what they say as their truth right now, people feel psychologically safe with you. They know that no matter what they say, they won’t feel shamed, hurt, or embarrassed by your reactions. They know you won’t retaliate against them in the future for what they say today. Psychological safety maintains trust and harmony, strengthening your connections over time.

Here Are Five Guidelines For Maintaining Healthy Relationships When You Have Conversations:

1. Remember how much you care for someone before letting words leave your lips. Seek to understand the intention of their behavior before you judge it as bad or insensitive.

2. Make sure your words are congruent with your body language. Your facial expressions and posture have more impact than the careful words you choose.

3. After you speak, listen with an open mind and heart. When you close yourself off from others, you disconnect from them.

4. When your body tightens up, pause and breathe. Relax before you share how their words or actions made you feel.

5. Temper your honesty with tact. If you need to share how their behavior felt hurtful, tell your truth with care. Be kind, not cruel.

Receive the explanations of their intentions. You can always ask them to accept the impact they had on you regardless of intent in an effort to improve the remaining or next conversation.

good conversation

Manage Your Energy

Your ability to be thoughtful and manage your reactions is hurt by sleep deprivation, poor nutrition, noise pollution, excessive conflict, lack of money, and a shortage of friends. If you don’t take care of yourself, you will have a difficult time being careful with others.

Also, be careful of taking on other people’s emotions when they are reactive in conversations. Negative emotions are sticky.2 If you embody the emotions you pick up from someone, you will live with their suffering. You may find yourself feeling angry, depressed, and resentful even when you started the conversation with care. If you instead, notice how they feel, and compassionately release the emotions in your body so you can hold the space for them to safely express themselves, you can better help them find solutions to their dilemmas.3

Related: 5 Dysfunctional Conversation Types When Delivering Bad News

Every conversation has the possibility of creating mutual understanding and feelings of being cared about. There is also the possibility of being misunderstood and hurt. Even with the best intentions, outcomes are unpredictable. Take care with your conversations. We, humans, are social animals—we survive through connection. Hopefully, you will have many times where your speaking and listening evokes personal and relational transformation.


1. Ursula K. LeGuin. (2004) “Telling is Listening” an essay in The Wave in the Mind: Talks and Essays on the Writer, the Reader, and the Imagination. Shambhala; 1 edition.

2. Klodiana Lanaj and Remy E. Jennings, “The Costs of Being a Caring Manager” HBR blog, January 6, 2020.

3. Marcia Reynolds, “Can You Have Too Much Empathy?” Psychology Today blog, April 15, 2017.

See more tips on having effective conversations at www.Covisioning.com

Written By Marcia Reynolds  
Originally Appeared On PsychologyToday  
types of conversations that can kill a relationship pin

— About the Author —

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Up Next

10 Healthy Things To Do When You Feel Lonely, According To Therapists

Healthy Things To Do When You Feel Lonely

Feeling lonely can hit like a ton of bricks, whether you’re dealing with adulting, moving away from home or breaking up. But don’t worry because mental health experts suggest some things to do when you feel lonely.

It is not loneliness that is determined only by external factors like physical isolation, but a complex feeling that can take up one’s whole life no matter how many people are around.

Up Next

Feeling Alone In The Season of Togetherness? 5 Tips To Cope With Loneliness On Holidays

Feeling Loneliness On Holidays? Tips To Brighten Your Days

Winter celebrations like Christmas, Hanukkah, or Kwanzaa are all about having fun with friends and family. But sometimes, even with all the happiness around, you might get the feeling of loneliness on holidays.

If you’re dealing with bouts of loneliness, it’s important to know that you’re not the only one, and there are ways to deal with it. Dealing with long-lasting loneliness might need some special help. But there are also simple things you can do when you’re feeling lonely during the holidays.

This guide is here to help you understand and handle holiday loneliness. We’ll give you easy tips to feel better and enjoy the festive season more. Let’s beat those holiday blues together with simple steps and support. Happy holidays!

Up Next

How To Use Binaural Beats To Let Go of Fear, Pain, And Overthinking

How To Use Binaural Beats? Best Binaural Beats Benefits

Ever wondered how to use binaural beats correctly? Find the best ways to heal, relieve fear, pain, and excessive thinking. Your journey begins here!

There are a stunningly vast array of benefits you can experience from listening to binaural beats – a fascinating form of soundwave therapy.

When one of America’s most famous living philosophers, Ken Wilber, was asked what the average person could do to raise their consciousness, he replied:

There’s already a technology that can be used to raise human consciousness. It’s called binaural beats.

Up Next

How To Live In The Moment And Be Happy: 15 Strategies For Embracing The Present

How To Live In The Moment And Be Happy: Strategies

Do you ever find yourself caught up in the whirlwind of life, constantly worrying about the past or stressing about the future? But what if I told you that the key to true happiness lies in embracing the present moment? Let’s find out how to live in the moment and be happy.

Today most of us struggle with stress, anxiety and depression as we struggle to face the increasing challenges of the fast-paced world. This not only robs us of our inner joy but also keeps us from being truly happy.

So let’s explore the art of living in the moment and uncover practical strategies to cultivate happiness in our everyday lives. Let us embark on this enlightening journey together and discover the true joy that comes from being fully present.

Up Next

Becoming a Social Butterfly: A 5-Step Guide to Cultivating Popularity

Social Butterfly Meaning: Step Guide to Being Popular

Have you ever wondered how your friend becomes the life of the party? Ever wanted to effortlessly make connections like them? Learning the social butterfly meaning can be your secret to forging similar connections. 

In today’s world, being a social butterfly can make a significant difference. Struggling to connect in a room full of people can negatively impact both your professional and personal life.

That’s where learning how to become a social butterfly can be your beacon of hope!  

Social Butterfly Meaning

A “social butterfly” refers to someone who effortlessly thrives in social setti

Up Next

What Is Self Reflection? 9 Helpful Tips To Understand Yourself Better

What Is Self Reflection? Helpful Tips For Self-Examination

Ever found yourself pondering over your thoughts, actions, and experiences? Have you ever taken a step back to examine your emotions, motivations, and personal growth? These moments of introspection and self-analysis are crucial for personal growth. Let’s explore what is self reflection in psychology and learn some self reflection tips.

What is Self Reflection in Psychology?

Self-reflection, in the realm of psychology, is a process of introspection where individuals examine their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors with a conscious and objective perspective. 

It involves lookin

Up Next

How To Stop Feeling Disconnected From Life? 7 Healing Ways

How To Stop Feeling Disconnected From Life? Best Ways

Ever find yourself in a funk, feeling disconnected and sad? Fear not! Discover seven healing ways to shake off the blues and reconnect with yourself!

You feel disconnected right now, perhaps even a little sad or lonely – or even like no one really cares about you or sees you fully.

Accompanying feeling disconnected, you might feel lost in life, like you’re aimless, bored, unhappy, restless, and have no direction.

In essence, you feel like a tiny island drifting in the middle of a big ocean, cut off from all signs of life for miles.

How do I know this? I’ve experien