Photo by Andrik Langfield on Unsplash

By Maria Sylvester, MSW, CPC

“Listening is an attitude of the heart, a genuine desire to be with another which both attracts and heals.” ~ L.J. Isham

“Tell me more”…is my relationship mantra. It’s magical. It’s powerful. It works. “Tell me more,” I say, when wanting to deepen communication. Tell me more. This is my number one conversational secret sauce for building stronger relationships. Now I’ll share some of the reasons why I love these three words and believe them to be instrumental in the creation of greater intimacy and connection.

“Tell me more” is a communication that has the impact of gently encouraging another to expand on something (and it can be absolutely anything) they have shared. It is, first and foremost, a communication of care and respect. It is a statement that says, in affect, “my attention is with you…I am here — curious, interested and ready to listen further.” Additionally, “tell me more” is a communication that makes it less likely you’ll interrupt the other person or change the subject. Instead, you are indicating a wish to see a topic developed more extensively. Inherent in the request is also a declaration of willingness to remain present for the discussion.   

Asking another to tell you more is additionally a way to build trust. And the “telling more” does not necessarily have to be anything deep or profound in order for this to happen. Trust grows as a person feels cared about, listens to, and supported in sharing. Simply talking about the details of one’s day, for instance, while feeling listened to, fosters a more meaningful connection.

Warmth and kindness are often infused in the request “tell me more.” This type of loving request creates a sense of spaciousness for conversation. The result is a sense of one being able to relax into a discussion and share more freely. In other words, “tell me more” is a communication that encourages vulnerability in the connection. When a person feels another is open to hearing more, they often open themselves, and become more vulnerable. This deeper revealing builds intimacy and helps foster a sense of feeling known and understood. “Tell me more” nudges the other to be braver and have courage to open further.

I have noticed that when I invite someone to “tell me more” and they do, it is as if my  request serves as permission of sorts for the other to allow floodgates to open. The conversation moves from small talk to greater revelations. The result is a real flushing-out, an emotional sharing of ideas, feelings, dreams, and desires. It is powerful to witness.

And in witnessing such, time and time again, I am reminded of our universal human longing to be heard. “Tell me more” is a communication that strongly implies interest and a clear desire to hear another. When one believes they will be heard, they feel valued and appreciated. Feeling appreciated builds closeness and a more secure emotional attachment. The more secure one feels in an emotional connection with another, the more a person can speak their truth and feel comfortable being themselves. And so it is, and shall be — the gift of three simple words and their power to grow and transform relationships. Go forth, and say them often!


Maria Sylvester, MSW, CPC is a certified Life Coach in Ann Arbor, MI who loves empowering adolescents, adults, and couples to live from the HEART of what really matters to them so that they can bring their fully expressed, vibrant selves into the world. She has a special gift for helping women reclaim their feminine power, and embrace their radiant, sensual, sexy spirits. Their lives transform. They soar into their mid-life magnificence!


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