My clients often question/comment on the amount of time it takes to communicate better. I always tell them the investment upfront will save so much time spent dealing with misunderstandings/arguments, feelings of hurt, anger, abandonment, or not being seen or heard. People’s recovery from poor interactions can be from almost immediately to a week! How do you want to spend your time?
S L O W E V E R Y T H I N G D O W N
If you take the time to RESPOND this way: “I heard you say . . . [fill in what they actually said, not your interpretation of what s/he said. Did I get everything?” I promise your conversation is going to always work better than if you REACT by . . .
. . . Deflecting (Teflon)
. . . Defensiveness
. . . Stonewalling
. . . Contempt
. . . Belittling
. . . Criticism
. . . Disagreeing (of course you are entitled to your view/opinion – you just need to listen, respond with empathy, and then share your POV [point of view).
. . . Arguing
Please let this sink deeply into you: Don’t believe everything you think.
Be curious. You can experiment with any of these opening lines:
Tell me more . . .
Say more about that . . .
What does that mean to you?
How are you feeling?
What are you feeling in your body?
I’m curious about . . .
What is most important in what you’re telling me?
What do you know in yourself about that?
[Repeat back a word or two You’re feeling (sad, anxious, confused) . . .
What does your expression/body posture mean [gently describe what you see?
Can you go deeper with that . . .
How does that play out between us?
How does that show up in our relationship?
That must be [hard, sad, etc. . . .
I’m trying to get a felt-sense of that, can you describe it more . . .
How was that for you?
Your time is precious. Do you want to spend it getting connected with your partner, or irking one another?