These words can really improve your relationships in 2018

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Whether it's your significant other, a friend, or a coworker - all relationships need work.

When it comes to building better relationships, it's not as much about what we should do but rather what we shouldn't do that can make all the difference.

Executive coach and Your Relationships on a Diet Author Lisa Godfrey says giving up certain words or actions that cause negativity can make a huge impact on our relationships. First, she says remove the word "why" from our vocabulary.

"You have a child. 'Why' is the lowest form of conversation. It's normally for two or three year-olds, if we understand the negative connotation," Godfrey explains.

Replace "why" with "what" or "how." It's a tip that made a huge difference in the relationship between Kimberly Bonhomme and her teenage daughter.

"Instead of going to my daughter and saying, 'Why did you get this grade?' I'm saying, 'What can i do to help you?'" Bonhomme says.

"Coming to her and talking to her as an adult and asking her what, how, when instead of why has become very instrumental in our communication," Bonhomme continues.

Next, Godfrey says to use the 24-hour rule when you bring up a proposition.

"You need to let people process the data," says Godfrey.

Presenting ideas and waiting for the answer worked really well for wife and mom of four boys Christina Devilliers.

"They've had a chance to think about it, and you're not surprising them and expecting them to give an answer right then because if you do, they don't want to do it. If you leave it, they'll agree to it and enjoy it," Devilliers says.

Finally, Godfrey recommends everybody do a health assessment for their relationships.

"Think about if you're building a house, you need a solid foundation," Godfrey explains.

She recommends using the Johari Window.

"You click on six positive adjectives that you think best describe your personality. Then, you send it out to eight or 10 friends, colleagues, family, and they click on six adjectives," adds Godfrey.

It's an exercise that made a profound impact on Amanda Cotler.

"Even if there are adjectives that I see myself as, there are so many more positive ways that people would describe me that I probably wouldn't have pinpointed as my top five that they see in such an amazing light," says Cotler.

If you want to try the Johari Window exercise, here is the link:

One more tip from Godfrey: Eliminate 'problem' from your vocabulary and replace it with 'challenge.'

Report a typo to the ABC13 staff
Copyright © 2021 KTRK-TV. All Rights Reserved.