Why Hinting Never Works in Your Relationship

Do you ever hint to spare your partner’s feelings or your own?

Have you ever caught yourself saying, “I said or did such and such… and they just wouldn’t take the hint,” all the while believing that you did everything you could to make your point known and that your partner is the one with the real problem?

I hate to break it to you, but hinting never works in relationships. In fact, it makes problems worse.

What does work is stating the obvious with kindness and respect.

Speak to your partner clearly and directly. Don’t bring something to your partner’s attention by saying “We need to talk” as they will start to panic before you even begin!


Instead, ease into the conversation by taking a deep breath (several is even better), sinking down into your body (and getting out of your head) and opening your heart so that your approach is soft on the outside and strong on the inside.

State the obvious in terms of what you want, rather than what you don’t want. Use a calm tone of voice and it will be perfectly clear to your partner what you’re trying to say. It is literally a different conversation when the guesswork, emotion and/or drama is taken out of the equation.

Forget about the idea that says ‘If you don’t have anything good to say, don’t say anything at all.’ This is where all the hinting started.

When you don’t state the obvious, in a way that they can hear you, it leads to a lot of assumptions that are often inaccurate. Be clear about what you want. Use ‘I’ statements instead of ‘you’, such as ‘I’d like to work things out’ (instead of ‘you never listen to me’).

When you state the obvious it clears up a lot of misconceptions.

What might be completely obvious to you might be totally oblivious to them. So spell it out clearly and with warmth. You might be surprised to discover that your partner, regardless of how well you know them was on a completely different wavelength.

It’s time to clue your partner in to your real needs and desires.

When you express yourself with kindness and respect it creates intimacy and connection. Try it and see if you don’t feel more love, safety and relief with your partner.

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Susan Blackburn

Susan Blackburn

About Susan Blackburn:

Susan Blackburn, M.A., C.Psych. is a Registered Psychologist, Psychotherapist, Counsellor & Therapist in Toronto at Yonge Eglinton, a Published Author and a guest Relationship Expert on radio and television.

Susan enjoys working with people to enhance the quality of their lives. Her collaborative psychotherapy and counselling approach offers clients effective tools and strategies to increase happiness, manage stress, find balance, improve confidence, embrace self care and focus on the positive so that they can relax and enjoy life.

Services are covered under most extended health benefits and workplace insurance plans requiring clients be seen by a Registered Psychologist through her registration with the College of Psychologists of Ontario.

Susan is the owner of Susan Blackburn Psychology a boutique therapy private practice located in midtown Toronto at Yonge and Eglinton.

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