This Simple Test Can Tell You How Competent You Are At Having Safe Conversations With Your Partner

Relationship experts Harville Hendrix, Ph.D., and Helen LaKelly Hunt, Ph.D. have a test you should take!

couple having a safe conversation DAPA Images and Syda Productions via Canva

Safe Conversations is a special way of talking and listening that helps people connect better in their relationships. Imagine it as a structured approach to communication that was created by experts to make conversations feel safe, respectful, and understanding.

Do you know how to have one? If you are interested in seeing if you are doing the safe conversation life correctly, there's a quick test you can do to find out. 


Don't worry if you are just now coming across this concept, this test can also help you learn more about safe conversations and give you an outline of what this sort of dialogue looks like!

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What is a safe conversation?

Safe Conversations was initially developed by relationship experts Harville Hendrix, Ph.D., and Helen LaKelly Hunt, Ph.D., and consists of a dialogue of multiple micro competencies in the form of sentence stems.

The purpose of a "Safe Conversation" is to talk without criticism, listen without judgment, and connect beyond differences.

In a Safe Conversation, you can express your thoughts and feelings without worrying about criticism or judgment from the other person. It's like having a space where you can be yourself and share your vulnerabilities without fear.

This method aims to help you build stronger and more meaningful relationships by improving the way you talk and listen to others.


In simple terms, it's a conversation where you feel safe enough to reveal vulnerabilities about yourself and establish growth within your relationship.

Safe Conversations stands as a beacon for fostering authentic connections, nurturing emotional intimacy, and creating a space where individuals can truly be themselves.

What is the safe conversation competency test?

Once you understand what a Safe Conversation is, your next step is to become competent in all its parts. One way to do this is to take the test, the relationship experts call it a Safe Conversation Index/Scale. In this index/scale, each competency is identified, described, and illustrated by a sentence stem.

You score yourself based on each sentence to reveal your Safe Conversation Competency Level.


How To Take The Safe Conversations Competency Test

1. Read the description.

You will first look at the index which lists each competency in a safe conversation with an accompanying description and an example.

The competencies you will see are: 

  • Honoring Boundaries
  • Expressing Appreciations
  • Relaxing Defenses
  • Sender Responsibility
  • Mirroring
  • Accuracy Check
  • Expressing Curiosity
  • Regulating Overload
  • Summarizes
  • Expressing Validation
  • Expressing Empathy
  • Expressing Gratitude

safe conversations competency test


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2. Give yourself a score.

Once you have understood the competency given/described you will give yourself a score between 1-10 (1—I never do this;10— I always do this).

It's important to be honest in your scoring. This isn't to make you feel bad about yourself; it's to help you improve your relationship. The more honest you are the more accurate your score will be at the end.

safe conversations competency test


3. Calculate your score

Once you have answered all 24 competencies, you will add up your scores. This final number will be your Safe Conversations Competency Level. If you maxed out you will be standing at a pretty 240! 

If you wish to increase your score by reading the sentence describing the expression of each competency and practicing each competency with another person in your daily conversations.

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Deauna Roane is an associate editor for YourTango who covers pop culture, lifestyle, astrology, and relationship topics. She's had bylines in Emerson College's literary magazine, Generic, and MSN.