I'd like to offer a few more bits of wisdom from Thich Nhat Hanh's book, The Art of Communicating. Here, he talks about the six mantras of effective and loving communication.
The first mantra is "I am here for you." This sets the tone for deep, compassionate listening.
The second mantra is "I know you are there, and I am very happy." You can use this when you are with someone you love, or even like a little.
The third mantra is "I know you suffer, and that is why I am here for you." This helps diffuse a tense situation and allows the other person to vent while you focus on your breathing and compassionate listening.
The fourth mantra is "I suffer, please help." This is used when you need to vent and have another listen to you with compassion and understanding.
The fifth mantra is "This is a happy moment." This is used when two people are together and are sharing a positive experience.
The sixth mantra is used when someone praises or criticizes you. For example, when they tell you that you are the best at doing something, you think of your many mistakes, and answer, "You are partly right." Or if they criticize you, perhaps unfairly, you think of your successes and answer, "You are partly right." It helps keep your ego in check.
I found myself highlighting and bookmarking many pages in this book. Perhaps you will find it helpful as well. Highly recommended.