The most important thing in communication is hearing what isn’t said.

Peter Drucker

Want to know what quickly deflates a relationship?

It’s when someone you love shares good news with you,

and you respond in a way that communicates that it’s not important to you.

Not only is it important to support your partner when things are rough, but it’s even more important that you choose to respond wisely when things are good.

In fact, research has shown that what differentiates good relationships from not so good relationships isn’t how supportive you are.

But how you communicate the importance

of your partner’s important things.

For example,

if your partner has been working hard to go back to school for his/her nursing degree and finally received a letter of acceptance to his/her favorite school, how do you respond?

Constructive ways to respond:

Passive Constructive

“That’s great, good job.”

Simple, verbal affirmations that you heard what they said.

What’s even better:

Active Constructive

“Wow, that’s amazing! Tell me more.”

In addition to letting them know you heard, you show genuine curiosity and excitement for the news.

Destructive ways to respond:

Passive Destructive

“Sure. But you know what happened at work today?”

Brushing off what you heard, and turning the attention to yourself.

Active Destructive

“How are we going to afford paying for that?”

Finding the one cloud in an otherwise blue sky; turning the good news to a negative one.

Want great relationships in your life?

Practice Active Constructive communication today.

Ask your partner or friend to share something that went well today (e.g., “what’s good in your life today?”).

Practice ways of showing genuine curiosity, enthusiasm, and support (“That’s so great to hear. What did you like most about…?”)

Live with intention. Lead with inspiration.