The Power of Words and Tone in a Relationship

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Written By:

Counselling Psychologist - M.Sc. Psychology - Swansea University, UK.

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Reviewed By:

Counselling Psychologist - Ph.D. Relationship Psychology

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Imagine creating a glass vase. Making a delicate glass vase is a very intricate process and often it takes the maker months and years to build a pretty and functional vase that can hold flowers. Once it is built you use it to decorate your house. It becomes a cherished piece in your household. But let’s say you place it in an inconvenient and unsafe place. What do you think will happen? It will shatter into pieces in seconds. Months of hard work put into creating the vase will be destroyed in almost seconds. 

This is exactly how words and tone affect a relationship. Our relationships are like the glass vase. We put in a lot of hard work and effort to build a perfect and functional vase. But if we indulge in hurtful words, or use a hurtful tone on and off with our beloved, we are likely to destroy the beautiful glass of our relationship. 

The Power of Words in a Relationship

Words can make or break any relationship. It is almost like an arrow shot from a bow. It creates an instant impact that is often irreversible. If we are constantly critical, and hurtful in our words with our partners, then it is going to create a significant negative impact on our relationship. When you use negative words, it is going to impact your partner’s self-esteem. The external voice that you are used to soon becomes an internal voice. This is how our inner critics are built. The relationship becomes toxic because your partner finds it difficult to trust you and is constantly filled with anxiety. Negative words involve abusive words (like swear words), condescending and sarcastic words, and taunting words. These are very likely to leave a scar on your partner and can shatter the delicate glass of your relationship. 

On the other hand, positive words can strengthen the glass of your relationship. When you utter regular positive words to your partner then you are fostering a deeper connection and bond with them. Your partner will feel confident and will have trust in you. Moreover, they are going to be filled with positive emotion which is beneficial for both of you in the relationship. Positive words involve words of affection, compliments, words of acceptance, words of reassurance. Just like negative words leave scars, positive words add to the foundation of love. 

Words play another important role in a relationship. Words are the building blocks of good communication. Every healthy relationship must involve open communication between their partners and this can only be maintained through words. We must understand the importance of words in effective communication so that we are able to resolve conflicts and build deeper connections. 

The Power of Tone in a Relationship

Tone and words are two sides of the same coin. If we give importance to the words we use in our relationship, we must understand that the tone in which we use those words is also important. Tone helps us to convey our true feelings and emotions behind the words. For example, let’s say our partner is upset and we react by saying “Oh no!”.

There are two ways in which this can vary in its tonality. 

The first is - “oh no!” (in a condescending tone). 
The second is - “oh no!” (in a sympathetic tone). 

Imagine your partner reacting using the first statement. How would you feel? You would feel hurt and you wouldn’t want to disclose your feelings to your partner because they will rebuke you. On the other hand, if your partner reacts using the second statement, you will feel cared for and will be likely to disclose information to them. 

Tone also plays a big role in communication. It is the non-verbal part of communication. It is said that 10% of our communication is verbal and around 90% is non-verbal communication. The tone is a part of this. It helps us in conveying our actual affections, feelings, and interests to our partner. Hence, we must also be very mindful of the tone in which we communicate with our partners. 

What can you do? 

One of the best things you can do to improve your usage of words and tone in your relationship is to be empathetic and to be an active listener. 


Empathy is when we place ourselves in the shoes of the other person and see situations from their perspective. It is not what you would do or how you would react, it is how the other person would react.

This will help you deeply understand your partner s feelings and emotions. When you are able to understand your partner’s emotions and feelings, you will use your words accordingly.  

Active Listening

This is a complementary part of empathy. In order to be kind in our tone and words we must be active listeners. We must truly pay attention to what our partner is saying, how they are feeling so that we can form our response accordingly. 

Ms. Priyanka Walia
Ms. Priyanka Walia M.A. Counselling Psychology Counselling Psychologist 05 years of experience

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Ms. Muskan Maheshwari
Ms. Muskan Maheshwari M.Sc. Clinical Psychology Clinical Psychologist 02 years of experience

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Mr. Nishant Sharma
Mr. Nishant Sharma M.Phil. Clinical Psychology Clinical Psychologist 07 years of experience

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Ms. Akshita Bakshi
Ms. Akshita Bakshi Ph.D. Relationship Psychology Counselling Psychologist 05 years of experience

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