We know that open communication can benefit our relationships with our partners and friends. However, are you communicating in the most effective way? Asking important relationship questions is a powerful and impactful practice that can have a very positive influence on your relationships. Furthermore, asking the right type of questions can provide valuable information and insights into the person we are speaking with. Questions will spark curiosity, build understanding, and deepen your connection to your partner and friends. We have broken down five important relationship questions for you to help you communicate better with your partner and/or your friends.
5 Important Relationships Questions
1. When something bad happens,“What can I do to support you?”: As the listener, you do not want to provide unsolicited opinions or advice. It may be better to ask what the other person needs instead of assuming. Asking how you can support someone will invite the right type of encouragement. The person might want advice on what to do, a personal opinion, someone to agree with them, or may just need someone to listen. Asking “What can I do to support you?” shows much more empathy and can help the other person receive exactly what they need to tackle a sticky situation.
2. When you fight, “How do you like to handle miscommunications or conflict?”: Emotions can run high when conflict occurs, and thinking clearly can be difficult. Asking a thoughtful question is probably not the first thing on your mind, but a good way to get ahead of this situation is to ask, “How do you like to handle miscommunications or conflict?” This insightful question will help you understand the other person’s needs, giving you valuable information on how to react appropriately. Some people prefer to work through conflict immediately while others need a few minutes, hours, or days to process what is happening. Asking this question will help you navigate conflict in a productive way.
3. When going out, “What are your intentions?”: A night out with your best friend is usually a recipe for success, fun, and good memories. However, if you are not on the same page, the night can quickly turn into a disaster. For example, you might want to spend the evening chatting with your friend and having a great “catch-up” session, but your friend might be ready to party, dance, and socialize with everyone in the room. The best way to figure out what kind of night you both want to have is to ask, “What are your intentions?” Maybe you are both looking to socialize and meet people. How much better will your night be if you are on the same page and aligned with your intentions?
4. When traveling or getting ready to go out “How do you perceive time?”: Traveling with your partner or a friend is an exciting prospect. But, upon arrival, you might have different ideas of what vacation means. To some, it is a time to sleep in, relax, and enjoy the hotel. To others, it is a time to wake up early and explore the destination. Perhaps you are comfortable arriving late to an event, but your partner gets anxious if they are not early. Asking your travel partner, “How do you perceive time?” is a great way to level set expectations. Understanding how the other person prefers to travel will help set yourselves up for a successful and fun trip that everyone will enjoy.
5. At any time, “What are your needs?”: One of the best catch-all, important relationship questions to use anytime is “What are your needs?” This powerful question can make anyone feel valued. For example, think about using this with a co-worker who you are managing a project with. You might be revved up and excited to talk about the project deliverables during a meeting, but your co-worker’s energy might seem off. Instead of getting frustrated, taking the time to understand their needs will likely change your perspective and how you view the situation. Your co-worker might be dealing with some personal issues at home and need some alone time before jumping into your project, or may need a gentle touch when being asked to complete tasks.
Questions are powerful tools that can change your perspective, turn a negative situation positive, and allow you to learn a lot more about the people in your life. Try incorporating the above important relationship questions into future conversations with people in your life to deepen your relationships
While asking questions is a form of empathy and a very strong communication tool, empathy does have its limits. Check out this post on “Understanding Empathy Burnout” to make sure you understand the power and impact giving empathy can have on you.