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Asking Open-Ended Questions

From John Gottman, whom we have talked about previously as one of the foremost researchers into relationships, comes an interesting tip: if you want intimacy, ask open-ended questions. Gottman warns that by asking questions with “yes” or “no” answers, we’re potentially missing out on opportunities for intimacy in a relationship. Within relationship conversations, it can be more helpful to change a question like “are you upset?” into something more constructive, such as “You seem upset – what’s going on?” Phrasing a question as “yes” or “no” misses out on the important part of communication in relationships, the “why” and “how.”

 

Gottman suggests that taking this tip further can open more doors to intimacy that we didn’t know we were closing. Instead of asking your friend or loved one if they saw a movie or enjoyed it, ask them what their favorite part is. This helps to build intimacy and strengthen connections between us. Gottman explores the topic further in his book, but this simple tip can go a long way in our everyday lives.

 

If you are seeking counseling to help strengthen your relationships and are in Carmel, Noblesville, Indianapolis, Zionsville, or Westfield consider giving Touchstone Counseling a call. We look forward to hearing from you!

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