Listening and Feeling Validated
Quick relationship tip, but one that is so powerful for defusing rapidly escalating arguments and conflicts. Who would have thought that listening could make such a big difference?
One of the things that can cause partners to spiral off is when they do not feel properly understood and thus validated in discussions which can soon turn into arguments.
A technique presented by Jason Gaddis at The Relationship School is to try to Listen Until your partner Feels Understood, hence the abbreviation LUFU.
What tends to happen when partners feel understood and validated is that their tone of voice usually moderates and descends.
This is something I think we have all felt when we have had a heated discussion and someone took the time to inquire and ask us about what we were upset about, and really truly took the time and patience to try and understand. When we feel understood there is almost a natural soothing that takes place and this can be something that is not only valuable, but powerful in your discussions with not only your romantic partner, but anyone that you are discussing with.
Unfortunately what often happens is that we may without realizing it start off with what appears to be a blaming or accusatory tone and our partners take it for being attacked and consequently they respond by defending. This usually serves to only make the initiating partner or person feel that much more perturbed because instead of feeling heard and understood they feel invalidated.
Important to note that how we usually end up starting off our discussions will usually have a big impact on the energy we receive in return. John Gottman speaks of beginning discussions with a “gentle start” which can go a long way to having a fruitful and productive discussion.
Next time your partner brings up an issue you can ensure that they are fully heard by trying to listen to them and asking questions until they feel fully heard. When they feel fully heard their emotions will lower and they will calm down and then it will be your turn to respond to what has been said and how it has affected you.
Turn-taking and providing respect to each other can go a long way in resolving disputes as opposed to blaming and defending.
Feel free to leave a comment below on your experiences with trying out LUFU in your relationship.