I recently read a report from a few years back. It was looking at the impact that our words have on relationships. Most specifically, it focused on marriage, but it applies equally as well to virtually every other kind of relationship.
The first point it made was this: Among couples who stay married, during the first few years of marriage no more than 5 out of every 100 comments made about each other were putdowns. Among couples who ended up divorced, during the first few years of marriage at least 10 of every 100 comments were insults.
That small gap magnified over the following decade for these couples, until they were flinging five times as many cruel and invalidating comments at each other as before. Whereas the couples who stayed together were also limiting or even reducing the amount of harsh comments. "Hostile putdowns act as cancerous cells that, if unchecked, erode the relationship over time," says the author of the book. He also pointed out that, "In the end, relentless unremitting negativity takes control and the couple can't get through a week without major blowups."
Whether married or not, think about your relationships. Think about the nature of your conversation. Does it steer toward negativity and criticism, or does it steer toward positivity and encouragement? Just to be "positive" about things is not the solution to a problematic relationship, but it reveals where things are headed; undeniably. Consider your own words and realize they are far more powerful and influential than it appears.