Twenty-Four Ways to be Positive & Associated Positive Interactions (Couples Institute)

Important note: Think about how you aspire to be before having a difficult discussion. For example, be curious about your partner’s perspective, be patient, be calm, be assertive, be concise, be considerate, be understanding, etc.

Focusing on how you aspire to be is an exceptionally good way to have better discussions immediately.

If you do something positive today that’s not on the list, write it down and count it – and congratulate yourself. You’re tracking your success!


  1. I listened to difficult comments and kept my cool.

  2. I was able to recap what I was hearing in a conversation.

  3. I expressed compassion in a difficult situation.

  4. When I felt I needed to solve a problem, I first asked my partner if they wanted advice.

  5. I used some appropriate humor, which my partner appreciated.

  6. I asked several questions before butting in with my reactions.

  7. I took several relaxing breaths instead of negatively commenting on an annoying habit.

  8. I expressed appreciation at least twice today.

  9. I took this further and expressed why I was appreciative of what my partner did.

  10. I took a time out to stop a downward spiraling argument.

  11. I apologized for my part in a bad situation or conversation.

  12. I went out of my way to do something nice for my partner.

  13. I had kind and loving thoughts about my partner today.

  14. When I had negative thoughts about my partner, I shifted to thinking of what I appreciated.

  15. I emailed my partner at least one appreciation today.

  16. I texted my partner at least one appreciation today.

  17. I said both “please” and “thank you” today.

  18. I made better eye contact today.

  19. I kept my voice tone positive during a difficult discussion.

  20. I told my partner how I would like them to respond to me before talking about a difficult topic. For example, “I just want you to listen with concern. No advice needed, just support.”

  21. I looked for something positive in my partner today then expressed it.

  22. I asked a series of questions about my partner’s perspectives and reality. I genuinely was curious.

  23. I took the initiative doing something I know my partner would value.

  24. I expressed empathy for my partner’s feelings or experience.

Today I practiced being:

  • Affectionate

  • Kind

  • Generous

  • Supportive

  • Caring

  • Curious and asking good questions vs telling or preaching

  • Understanding vs pushing my perspective

  • Thoughtful and considerate

  • Grateful for things I usually take for granted

Today I avoided these negative behaviors:

  • Sarcasm

  • Cold shoulders

  • Saying “never”

  • Interrupting

  • Name calling

  • Blaming/accusing

  • Guilting and shaming

  • Being resentfully compliant

  • Raising my voice inappropriately

  • Being vague about what I wanted

  • Criticizing what my partner wanted

  • Changing the topic during a difficult discussion

  • Asking blaming questions like, “Why do you always…?”

  • Psychoanalyzing my partner during a difficult discussion

  • Pouting

  • Withdrawing

  • Acting like a victim

How to Know When to Compromise: 4 Key Questions to Ask - Goalcast

“He’s so bullheaded”. “She’s so stubborn.” Some have said that standing your ground, no matter what, shows strength. Does stubborn “strength” resolve problems or is it more a need to be right, because being anything less than right might appear to be weakness. Is it possible that both partners can be right at the same time? If that is possible, then how can two right opinions resolve differences?  Ask these 4 simple questions and see if by combining the best of each person’s perspective, a third right opinion can be found to bring harmonious compromise to the matter.     Click the title link to learn more.