Often people do not really listen to the other person speaking. Oh yes, we hear the words, see the lips moving and get a bit of a gist of what is being said.
Sometimes we are thinking about what we want to say… and that is often from a defensive position… this is exacerbated if the words we are hearing sound like they are attacking us.
If you are both talking at the same time then neither of you can hear the other… best to get off that bad-waggon quickly and just listen.
- TRY to talk in a manner that is simply letting the other person know what you are FEELING
- KEEP to one subject.
- KEEP it simple and keep it short using the “I” statement
Use the SHORT and SWEET method
Short: I feel very uncomfortable talking with you. I would really like you to listen to me.
Sweet: Is that ok? Are you ok with that? What do you think?
Short is about sticking to the point and being precise. Clear communication is just that, being clear.
The Sweet is recognising that although you have a point of view and you have a right to express it… so do they.
When you tell me what you are feeling I can never argue with you… your feelings are your business and they are felt by you. When I answer: “No, that is not what I meant ! ! ! !” … all I am doing is denying your feelings and attempting to justify (defend) my ideas, position, actions.
This is not about my actions, but about HOW YOU FEEL
The answer to someone telling me about how they feel must always be: “That sounds like that is hard for you. It is difficult to feel ok when that is happening.” Or if it is a good feeling: “I am very happy for you, sounds like you are feeling good.”
Acknowledging the other person’s feelings is really acknowledging their right to be in the world and have a point of view.
Do not defend. When you defend you are dismissing the other person’s feelings/’existence. Ask yourself, how do I feel when people ignore how I feel.
Stick to the point
Keeping the subject of your discussion to one point allows that issue to be debated and hopefully understood… even better, resolved for both of you and put away.
Unless the feelings are acknowledged and discussed, understood and resolved, the same things will come up time and time again. They will come up and be added to the next misunderstood, unacknowledged item… endlessly arguing about everything and never resolving.
One thing that always gets in the way of resolving disagreements is the feeling I have that you are not being genuine. Quite often our stubbornness refuses us to give way on any point. This leads to the endless arguing and eventually not even wanting to see the other or be with the other. We end up doing everything we can to stay away, breaking off communications.
This is a survival technique that works because I am no longer stressed by what is happening because I am never confronted.
When I feel your authenticity (you act in a congruent manner… walking the talking)I am much more open to listening to you and your point of view.
People who cannot stand confrontation, conflict or sadness will frequently have many unresolved unhappy relationships. Sometimes, people who do not like confrontation are afraid of facing their own feelings.
Another thing that gets in the way of having good relationships is the human is inherently pessimistic. Being pessimistic is not a bad thing. It too is a survival method, allowing us to be prepared for future catastrophes. The thing that people forget is that this allows you to “be prepared.” This is a good thing. But don’t let it make you the kind of person who thinks ahead catostrophically of how she or he will be when you speak with them.
The assumptions we make can set us up to fail. Use the “be prepared” in a positive way… knowing ahead how your partner or friend has reacted or acted
Rome was not built in a day and I think what tends to happen is that over time (and this can be weeks, months, years) we build up so much resentment and frustration that when we do begin to speak we can only say it it in a BLAMING accusing fashion.
When we think pessimistically all the time then the resulting depressed feelings can overwhelm us. For instance… there is no question that all humans will, at some stage die. Animals also have this about them. So, one thought that comes to my mind is why are we even bothering about these annoying things in our lives? After all, if the end is death why not just get on with life and make the best of it, getting everything we want and ignoring everyone else.
Mainly the reason we don’t do that latter is because life seems to offer more that just getting what we want. It seems to work very well indeed when we give as good as we get, and even giving a little more that we get.
So alongside the pessimism seems to run hope. If we are thinking well we have hope that we can enjoy this life that will one day end. This hope allows us to take the good w ith the bad and make the best of the things.. as they come along.
When we are thinking well and responding to our feelings and our thoughts in a hopeful but relaistic fashion we can do quite well, very well thank you, with whatever comes our way.