Susan Blackburn Psychology

Hinting and 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 he 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. Never bring something to his attention by saying “We need to talk” as it will have him in a state of 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 him what you’re trying to say.

Forget about the sentiment 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 he 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 him. So spell it out clearly and with warmth. You might be surprised to discover that your partner, regardless of how well you know him 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 tenderness, relief, and safety with your partner.


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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