sentence starters



    sentence starters for healthy relationships


    A significant aspect of my work as a counsellor over the years has revolved around couples grappling with unhealthy communication patterns. Many find it immensely challenging to engage in constructive dialogue, leading to struggles in feeling heard and respected within the relationship. Unfortunately, this communication barrier can persist for years, eventually resulting in a complete breakdown of communication and often ending in divorce. However, I have observed that communication can be significantly enhanced by making just one or two small changes. For instance,

    When conversing with a loved one, try not to start your sentence with ‘YOU’  ……………

    Commencing a sentence with “YOU” can frequently be interpreted as judgmental or accusatory, potentially triggering defensiveness or misunderstandings in communication. Couples who skillfully navigate challenging topics without escalating into conflict often employ a different approach. They prioritise personal observations, feelings, and inquiries, fostering a more constructive and respectful exchange of ideas.

    This emphasis cultivates active listening and mutual understanding and promotes healthier relationship dynamics rooted in empathy and cooperation.

     This shift from commencing sentences with “YOU” contributes to an environment where both parties feel heard, valued, and respected, ultimately fostering more effective and harmonious communication.

    Using the following sentence starters instead can significantly alter the outcome of a conversation between two individuals.

    1. Sentence Starter – I’ve noticed that………………

    Starting a sentence with “I’ve noticed that…” allows for an observation-based approach to communication, fostering open dialogue without placing blame or judgment.

    For example, “I’ve noticed that we’ve been spending less time together lately, and I’m wondering if there’s something on your mind that you’d like to talk about.”

    2. Sentence Starter – Can you tell me more about………………

    This phrase invites the other person to share their thoughts, feelings, or experiences, encouraging deeper conversation and understanding. For instance,

     “Can you tell me more about what’s been bothering you lately? I want to understand better how you’re feeling.

    3. Sentence Starter – I’m feeling …………..

    By starting with “I’m feeling…,” individuals can express their emotions authentically, promoting empathy and connection. For example, “I’m feeling overwhelmed with work lately, and I could use some support. Can we talk about how we can manage our schedules better?”

    4. Sentence Starter – Could instead of should……….

    This phrase encourages collaborative problem-solving and flexibility rather than imposing expectations or judgments.

    For instance, “Could we try a different approach to resolving this conflict instead of insisting on our own way?

    5. Sentence Starter – How can we………

    Beginning with “How can we…” fosters a sense of teamwork and shared responsibility, encouraging mutual participation in finding solutions.

    For example, “How can we better communicate our needs and expectations to each other?”

    6. Sentence Starter – I have something I’d like to talk with you about ………..

    This phrase sets a respectful and considerate tone for discussing potentially sensitive topics, preparing the other person for the conversation.

    For instance, “I have something I’d like to talk with you about regarding our finances. Can we find a time to discuss it together?”

    7.  Sentence Starter – I want our relationship to grow, and I want us to be close again……..

    Starting with a statement about relationship goals expresses vulnerability and a desire for connection, fostering intimacy and understanding.

     For instance, “I want our relationship to grow, and I want us to be close again. Can we work together to strengthen our bond?”

    8. Sentence Starter – How can we finally let go of  what happened in the past……….

     This phrase initiates a conversation about moving forward and overcoming obstacles, focusing on reconciliation and healing.

     For instance, “How can we finally let go of what happened in the past and rebuild trust between us?”


    In conclusion, these are minor changes we are talking about, why not give it a try? By implementing this small change in how you speak to one another, you have everything to gain. Starting sentences with personal observations and feelings, rather than “you”, can transform the dynamics of your communication. It promotes understanding, empathy, and cooperation, leading to healthier and more harmonious relationships. So, why take that step towards fostering a deeper connection and try this simple yet powerful adjustment in your conversations? You might be pleasantly surprised by the positive impact it has on your relationship.


    sentence starters for healthy relationships

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