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Good communication isn't just about being able to say clearly what's on your mind. You have to be able to listen and respond well to what the other person is saying. Worry not. Being a good listener isn't as hard as it sounds. 

Here are some tips to help you:

1. Let them finish what the're saying

Try not to interrupt the other person mid-flow – even if you feel strongly about what they're saying. Let them finish, and then speak.

2. Listen to what they're saying

Concentrate on what the other person is saying to you. It's not about waiting for them to finish speaking so that you can get your points across. Think about what they're saying – it might change what you want to say next.

3. Let them know you're listening

It doesn't take much – just a nod or an "uh-huh" will let them know you're still paying attention.

4. Eye contact

Maintaining regular eye contact while they're speaking says you're interested in what's being said. Just don't stare continuously (that's too much – especially if they're talking about difficult stuff). 

5. Make sure you've understood them

Don't assume you've really understood what's been said. A good way to do this is to repeat what they've just said in your own words – "So, what you're saying is..." Be careful only to repeat what you think they've said and not jump to conclusions. If you're unsure, say so and ask them to explain it in a different way.

6. Stay calm

Keep the temperature down by not reacting straightaway to what's being said. Take a breath and try to imagine what the other person might be thinking and feeling before you respond. How would you feel in their position? 

7. Be prepared to compromise

You shouldn't 'give in' about things that are really important to you (like using protection or starting a family), but be willing and ready to give a little. Sometimes, a compromise can't be reached, and you need to be prepared for that too.

8. Stick to the positives

Let the good things you have to say drive the conversation and try to steer clear of negatives. If you do need to say something isn't right, don't talk about whose fault it is, focus on describing what you feel the problem is.

9. You don't have to talk about everything at once

Just remember that what you have to say might be a lot for the other person to take on-board so be prepared to have more than one conversation. Perhaps start with the thing that is most important to you, or which is easiest to fix?


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