Best Way To Avoid Having An Argument

 

Use “I” Instead Of “You”

 But if you insist on still using “You”… This can be a problem…  Why you might ask?

Well for starters, feel what it is like when someone starts off a sentence with the word “You”.

You forgot to take out the garbage.

Do we not feel somewhat mildly under attack and off balance, and possibly feel an urge to defend ourselves?

I was busy…. I’ll do it later…. Can’t you give me credit for the things that I do do?

Generally when someone starts a conversation with us by starting off with the word “you”, I think that most of us tend to get our guard up.

This tends to lead to a more defensive and less responsive atmosphere in the person receiving our message. They are likely to feel ready to defend themselves and not feel safe.

What Else Can We Do?

Do Something Different!

If we want different results, perhaps it might be best if “we” tried or did something different!

How often do we feel frustrated because we are not getting the desired results from our partner, when all along we are continuing to do the exact same thing over and over again?

Get Their Attention First: Is It A Good Time?

Next time you have something to say to your partner or somebody important in your life, try to first get their attention.

See if it is a good time to talk to them.

Most of us get this when considering asking our boss for a raise!

If the boss seems preoccupied or in a bad mood, we generally decide to forego our “asking for a raise” discussion.

But a lot of times, not so well with our partner. We often don’t see if it is a good time, or if they are in a good space to hear us. And then we launch obliviously into our “pressing” issue and wonder why we are not well received.

Starting With “I”

Now that we have their attention (ie: they are not in the middle of their favourite show, dyeing their hair, pulling apart the transmission, performing open heart surgery)

This is a good time to start.

Try starting your sentence off with an “I” instead of a “you”.

Your partner, or the person you are communicating with, will hopefully get the feeling that it is something that you are sharing with them that comes from within you.

Examples of how to start might be as follows:

  • I feel
  • I think
  • I would like to
  • I am concerned about
  • I need to talk to you about something that is bothering me
  • I am really upset about

Each of these examples are providing “information” about how we are feeling, thinking, responding, reacting to a certain situation.

The important point is that it is:

Coming from within us, and it is something we wish to share with someone. It is not the universal truth of the matter. It is our opinion, our perspective that we are needing to share with this person and would like to discuss it with them.

What To Hope For

A possible good result here, might be that the person you are speaking with:

  • listens to you
  • they are open and receptive
  • non-defensive
  • perceive that it is your opinion that you are sharing
  • they realize that you are needing to share this with them and it is important to you
  • they want to cooperate with you and do what they can to try and help you

What you might get out of the discussion:

  • you may feel heard
  • you may feel respected
  • that what you have to say is important to the other person
  • you may feel valued or cherished (romantic relationship)
  • you may feel relieved as the other person listens and offers their help and support
  • you may feel an enhanced sense of connection and bond with this person
  • and you may find yourself wanting to listen and help them out when they are having difficulties
  • AND you may feel less stressed, frustrated and quite possibly a sense of happiness and peace

OR

We can continue to do the same things (ie: use “you”), feel frustrated, stressed, aggravated, at our wits end, and continue to wonder why our partner, or the people around us, never respond to us the way we would like them to!

The question is:

Is What You Are Doing Now, Giving You The Results You Want?

The more important question might be:

Who Do We Think Is More Likely To Change First?

And Who Do We Have Power Over?

Us or Them?

I wish you good luck, but most of all, I wish you different, better and improved results, for your deciding to take a chance and trying something different!

Hope that you find these communication tips helpful to you.

Go out and “road test” them, and leave me a comment on my website. I’d love to hear how they worked for you, and also like to hear any suggestions that you may have.

Please feel free to pass along this article if you feel it was helpful. Good communication is something that I think can help anyone. Why not share the “secrets” to your new found success!

If you are having difficulty after trying out some of these techniques, or feel that you would like some one on one guidance, please feel free to email me at Ron@Ronlafleurcounsellingservices.com, or you can call me at 250-618-9550 to set up an appointment.

Good luck with your communication!

Ron Lafleur RCC

@ 2016 www.ronlafleurcounsellingservices.com

Cooperation In Relationships

Cooperation

The Importance Of Cooperation

Most of us get into relationships because we believe that it will lead to greater happiness and fulfillment in our lives.

For a lot of us, this is true.

For a lot of us, this is also true, but it seems to come at the cost of a LOT of struggle and sometimes strife.

There must be a better way???

What Is It Like When Things Are Going Well?

Well for one, both partners seem happy.

There seems to be a lot less arguing, and more getting along.

And more getting along, if we examine what is going at a closer level, probably involves a lot more COOPERATION with each other.

There is a reason for such sayings as:

You scratch my back, I scratch yours!

If you think about it, it is a pretty blunt and highly unromantic way of looking at relationships, but it hints at an undeniable element of MUTUALITY.

That there is something in the relationship, in relating together, that will benefit both people involved.

In essence, in our relationships, hopefully what we are creating are these MUTUAL COOPERATION GROUPS. And if we can turn those into consistent MUTUAL ADMIRATION GROUPS, then we have the makings of something special and spectacular, that almost anyone would want to be involved in.

So What’s The Problem?

Why can’t we consistently cooperate, let alone admire each other for the long duration of a romantic relationship?

There are probably a lot of reasons. I’d like to suggest some of them here:

  • lack of respect for one another (Major relationship killer!)
  • lack of empathy and concern for other
  • inability to let go of our agenda and listen to the other
  • having to have things OUR way (Big one here!)
  • lack of a long term vision for the couple
  • too much stress taking away from the quality of the relationship
  • losing sight of the importance of the relationship in our lives
  • lack of conflict resolution skills

These and possibly several other problem areas can contribute to and erode the level of COOPERATION in your relationships, be they romantic, work, friendship or family.

What can help turn things around might be:

  • a willingness to cooperate
  • to see things from our partner’s perspective
  • let go of our own agenda
  • listening! really truly listening
  • a feeling of being in it together
  • wanting to help our partner achieve their dreams and resolve their problems
  • and in turn feeling like our partner has our best interests at heart as well

The benefits of being in a successful long term relationship are many, including enhanced health and well-being, and a greater enjoyment of life.

But getting to that place can be a challenge.

If you are needing help in getting back to that place of COOPERATION in your relationships, I may be able to help you get back to a life that is not just about getting by from day to day, but excelling and truly finding your happy place!

I offer services in PERSON, as well as over the PHONE, and SKYPE for your convenience worldwide.

 

 

Perception Is Key!

Perception Is All

A professor once said, “perception is all“. How prophetic a statement that was at the time! I didn’t realize the importance of that statement until many years later. You see, the professor in question was a marketing professor, and how true it is that, it is not the truth of what the product in question will do or deliver, but the perception of what it will do in the consumer’s mind.

 

How this can impact us in our daily life is quite important I believe, especially as it affects our relationships. So often in discussing matters, one can get lost or preoccupied in trying to prove the “truth” of matters to our partner.

It brings to mind that old expression:

Do you want to be right or be happy?

Or better yet:

Do you want to be right AND be alone?

So often there is no one “right” way or approach. For example, what is the best vegetable that one can eat in terms of nutrition? I suppose that one can conduct tests and make measurements and spell it all out and do extensive comparisons. But in the end, it might all come down to which particular vitamin or nutrient that one was focused upon or wanted to accentuate.

We may even manage to come up with a particular vegetable which seems to offer the most nutritional value on a broad selection of criteria, but is it THE most nutritionally dense vegetable on the planet? Is the most nutritionally dense food even a vegetable? How do we know for sure? It may even turn out to be a liquid!

In the absence of absolute, scientifically-backed, irrefutable evidence, we are left with our informed “perceptions” of what may be one of the most highly dense foods on the planet. In such a case, it might also be wise to leave ourselves open to being pleasantly surprised by some new finding coming our way.

But in romantic relationships, and in our daily lives, we may be better suited in stating that, “according to my own findings and perceptions, here is what I think is the answer”. This leaves a lot of room for discussion, and more importantly, respecting the perceptions of those around us.

In the end, do we want to spend our time and energy “proving” that we are right? Bearing in mind that this would make our partner wrong And nobody really likes being wrong for any extended period of time I think. Or do we want to spend our time and energy getting closer to each other?

Maybe the true usefulness of this perspective might be, that the next time we are involved in a heated discussion, we may allow each party to bow out gracefully by saying that “from my perspective” this is how things “appear” to me.

Respecting each other’s differences. Quite possibly the subject of another article down the road! :)

 

 

 

Communication Tip #2: Taking Turns Talking AND Listening!

 Taking Turns: Talking AND Listening

Communication
geralt / Pixabay

Communication tips may come in many forms and varieties, but one thing is sure:

If one person isn’t really listening while the other person is talking, there are bound to be all kinds of miscommunication problems!

What does it mean to really listen?

Really listening would mean:

  • Paying attention
  • Looking at the speaker
  • Not being distracted by devices or other things
  • Giving feedback, verbally or non-verbally
  • Asking pertinent and relevant questions
  • Not interrupting
  • Letting go of our agenda, and not just waiting for our turn to speak
  • Trying to really understand what the speaker is saying

Phew! That sounds like a lot of hard work!!!

And it is! Anyone whose day or work involves a lot of listening will tell you that it can be quite draining and require a lot of work!

But the benefits of offering your speaking partner your full attention and developing good listening skills are many:

  • Better understanding
  • Less potential arguments
  • Improved relationships
  • Greater knowledge
  • Good listening may be returned when it is our turn to speak

The benefits of good listening skills are many, and this list is not meant to be exhaustive. One of the most important things we can give to somebody is our time and attention. Why not give it in a way that also maximizes “our time” by trying to get better at really giving our full attention and concentration when somebody is wanting and needing our attention.

As alluded to in previous posts on communication, making sure that we have the listener’s attention before we start to talk, and making sure that both parties are in a good space, both physically, mentally and emotionally may greatly enhance our chances of having a good rewarding conversation.

The good news is that we can start getting better at this today!

It just takes an earnest desire to really listen to what our partner or friend is saying, and not to assume that we know what they mean. When we are in doubt, maybe that is the time to ask for clarification? And when it is our turn to talk, then we make as much effort as we are able to, to speak in terms that we hope our conversation partner will understand.

Message well chosen, delivered and received, and responded to!

If you are enjoying these communication tips, then I’ve got good news for you! Click HERE to find out how to communciate better in your relationship!

 

 

How To Communicate Better With Your Partner

 

Conflict Arises

Argument
OpenClips / Pixabay

What?  You don’t agree with me???

Sometimes knowing how to communicate better with our partners is not something that comes naturally to us. We all have those moments when we don’t agree with our partner, or they don’t agree with us.

 

But how we handle our differences can make ALL the difference in the world.

Conflict or “difference of opinion”, as I like to call it, are a regular occurrence I believe in any longer term relationship or pattern of relating between two or more people. Add to that differences in the following areas:

  • expectations
  • assumptions
  • addictive demands
  • different upbringings
  • cultures

And you set the stage for regular and frequent differences in perspective. What you do when this happens will make all the difference! What to do when a partner asks us about something, and we know we don’t share the same perspective or viewpoint? Or, what do you do when you promised your partner you would do something and you didn’t do it?

How It Starts!

Butting heads
PeterDargatz / Pixabay

Quite often we are asked about something that we either agreed to do, or that our partner expected us to do. And the moment they ask us about it we realize:

  • we forgot
  • we didn’t do it
  • we were too busy
  • we committed to something that we shouldn’t have
  • we said yes, but we really had no intention of following through

Agreements Will Make Or Break Your Level Of Trust

Trust
Dave175 / Pixabay

Our relationships are only as strong as the level of trust between both partners. And that level of trust comes from the promises that we make and keep. It shows that we are trustworthy and that our word counts for something.

Every promise that you break weakens your relationships ….. Always!

We Broke A Promise:  Now What?

Now What?
geralt / Pixabay

Your partner may know that you did not deliver on a promise. They may decide to ask you if you fulfilled your promise as a way of further testing your honesty. This is not recommended as it sets the stage for an eventual “grilling” and putting one’s partner on the defensive. It is basically setting up your partner. You are on the same side remember. If there is some information that you know of, then state it up front and give your partner the benefit of the doubt to answer you. There may very well be a good reason that they were unable to fulfill their promise to you. As you may at some point feel that you have a very valid reason for not being able to meet an obligation that your partner was relying on you for.

How we treat our partners in some way or another comes back to us

To Defend Or Not To Defend?

Making it worse
Nemo / Pixabay

Defending, is probably one of the worst things that I see on a regular basis that causes difficulties in couples!

When our partner comes to us with a problem or something that is bothering them, chances are that they have likely taken the time to consider whether or not they felt it was worthwhile to speak to us about this issue. They are likely wanting to be:

  • heard
  • understood
  • listened to
  • considered seriously
  • not have to justify how they feel
  • are seeking answers, not justification

However, what our partners and we often get is:

  • defensiveness
  • shutting down
  • anger
  • criticism
  • stonewalling
  • indifference

Is this what we were really hoping to create with the person that we wanted to spend the rest of our life with? And is this what we were hoping to get from them? Imagine if you got the same response from a customer service desk at a major retail store, that you typically give to your partner when they have a complaint or concern?

How long would you shop at this store?  How long would you expect your partner to shop at YOUR store with that kind of service???

Yes there are other “stores” out there!!!!

What To Do Differently:  Inquiry vs. Defensiveness!

When our partner asks us about something we can do the following to better communicate with them:

  • be open
  • friendly
  • concerned
  • give them our full attention
  • listen
  • listen…. yes, I know I just said it, but it is worth saying again
  • listen some more …. no that doesn’t mean waiting for them to stop talking so we can say what we want to say
  • ask questions to show we are interested and involved

And this is where “inquiry” comes in! Inquiry would have us be curious about what our partner is telling us. Realizing that they are not out to get us. Although sometimes it might feel that way. In those cases we can simply say that we are feeling attacked and ask them to change their tone or approach with us. Even better would be to tell our partner how to best approach us. Why make it a guessing game for them. That only leads to frustration on both sides.

A Different Result

When our partner comes to us with a genuine concern, and we can see that they are needing our help to resolve something that is important to us, hopefully we stop what we are doing, if that is feasible, and give them our full attention. Sensing that our partner is approaching us in a gentle, respectful, non-threatening way, we are hopefully able to let down our guard and feel safe. We can then feel comfortable and begin to ask questions and become curious as to how we may be able to help them to solve their problem. From this moment on we are beginning to respond to our partner from a new fresh and enlivening perspective called:  Inquiry.

Detective
OpenClips / Pixabay

It’s almost like being a “detective”. Being curious about things that our partner is telling us. Trusting them to know that what they are telling us is important to them. And they have come to us! Of all the people in the world to help them with their problem! Now doesn’t that make us feel special as opposed to under attack? Start “Inquiring” today and see the difference it can make in all of your relationships!

Inquiring couple
Nemo / Pixabay

Special Note

There may be times when you or your partner may want to just be “listened to” and not asked questions. You may want to help each other out by stating what you need from the other in this moment. On an ongoing basis, knowing whether your partner wants you to just listen to them is a master level course and possibly the subject of another article :)

But if you would like to learn more about communication, click HERE to find out about another tip that could come in handy!

Communication Tips #1 Use “I” Instead Of “You”

If You Want To Have An Argument

Or greatly increase your chances of having one, start your sentence off with the word “YOU”! OR you can use these communication tips!

Argument
RyanMcGuire / Pixabay

 But if you insist on still using “You”… This can be a problem…  Why you might ask?

Well for starters, feel what it is like when someone starts off a sentence with the word “You”.

You forgot to take out the garbage.

Do we not feel somewhat mildly under attack and off balance, and possibly feel an urge to defend ourselves?

I was busy…. I’ll do it later…. Can’t you give me credit for the things that I do do?

Generally when someone starts a conversation with us by starting off

Guard up
Nemo / Pixabay

with the word “you”, I think that most of us tend to get our guard up.

This tends to lead to a more defensive and less responsive atmosphere in the person receiving our message. They are likely  to feel ready to defend themselves and not feel safe.

Do Something Different

If we want different results, perhaps it might be best if “we” tried or did something different!

How often do we feel frustrated because we are not getting the desired results from our partner, when all along we are continuing to do the exact same thing over and over again?

Get Their Attention First: Is It A Good Time?

Next time you have something to say to your partner or somebody important in your life, try to first get their attention. See if it is a good time to talk to them. 

Most of us get this when considering asking our boss for a raise. If the

Busy
DT / Pixabay

boss seems preoccupied or in a bad mood, we generally decide to forego our “asking for a raise” discussion. But a lot of times, not so well with our partner. We often don’t see if it is a good time, or if they are in a good space to hear us. And then we launch obliviously into our “pressing” issue and wonder why we are not well received.

Starting With “I”

Now that we have their attention  (ie: they are not in the middle of their favourite show, dyeing their hair, pulling apart the transmission, performing open heart surgery)

This is a good time to start.

Try starting your sentence off with an “I” instead of a “you”.

Your partner or the person you are communicating with, will hopefully get the feeling that it is something that you are sharing with them that comes from within you. 

Examples of how to start might be as follows:

  • I feel
  • I think
  • I would like to
  • I am concerned about
  • I need to talk to you about something that is bothering me
  • I am really upset about

Each of these examples are providing “information” about how we are feeling, thinking, responding, reacting to a certain situation. The important point is that it is

Coming from within us, and it is something we wish to share with someone. It is not the universal truth of the matter. It is our opinion, our perspective that we are needing to share with this person and would like to discuss it with them.

What To Hope For

A possible good result here, might be that the person you are speaking with:

  • listens to you
  • they are open and receptive
  • non-defensive
  • perceive that it is your opinion that you are sharing
  • they realize that you are needing to share this with them and it is important to you
  • they want to cooperate with you and do what they can to try and help you

What you might get out of the discussion:

  • you may feel heard

    Happy face
    PublicDomainPictures / Pixabay
  • you may feel respected
  • that what you have to say is important to the other person
  • you may feel valued or cherished (romantic relationship)
  • you may feel relieved as the other person listens and offers their help and support
  • you may feel an enhanced sense of connection and bond with this person
  • and you may find yourself wanting to listen and help them out when they are having difficulties
  • AND you may feel less stressed, frustrated and quite possibly a sense of happiness and peace

OR we can continue to do the same things (ie: use “you”), feel frustrated, stressed, aggravated, at our wits end, and continue to wonder why our partner, or the people around us, never respond to us the way we would like them to!

The question is:   Is What You Are Doing Now Giving You The Results You Want?

The more important question might be:  

Who Do We Think Is More Likely To Change First?  

And Who Do We Have Power Over?

Us or Them?

I wish you good luck, but most of all, I wish you different, better and improved results, for your deciding to take a chance and trying something different!

Hope that you find these communication tips helpful to you. Go out and “road test” them, and leave me a comment on how they worked. Feel free to also subscribe to my newsletter, and / or come back again for more communication tips. I hope to make this an ongoing series.

If you are liking these communication tips, I’ve got good news, there’s more, just click here to go on to Communication Tip #2!

 

 

 

 

 

Anger Management: THE Word That Sets You Off!

Anger Management

The Fuse!

Is 1/4 of a second long!  

Anger Management

That may be the difference between maintaining your cool and totally losing it!

Research reported on by Daniel Goleman in his landmark book Emotional Intelligence found that it could take as little as 1/4 of a second for the amygdala to trigger a full blown anger response.

This adds credence to this whole business about when you are angry to count to 10! To put it in perspective. If you felt that you were about to lose your cool and have a total meltdown, then counting to 10 would be the equivalent of 40 Times the amount of time needed to lose it!

 The Tragedy

The sad part about being unable to practice proper anger management, is
that on a daily basis people are ruining their relationships and careers by
being unable to keep it together. A hard won promotion or a loving long term
relationship, may come to a screeching and tragic end by ONE moment of being
unable to effectively deal with anger.

One may find out in a moment of horrendous discovery that saying “sorry” is
not going to mend the heart of a loved one this time. That they are tired of
being hurt over and over, and can’t face living life with a person who seems
more like a ticking time bomb then a loving life partner. And your boss may
decide that your total meltdowns are no longer worth the price of mopup
operations.

You don’t have to go down this path and be this person!

 Feeling Anger Is Normal

Anger is an emotion just like all of the rest of them!

One of the great tragedies that a lot of us have experienced growing up
is to be taught to ignore or deny our anger.

So instead of learning how to deal with anger, something that occurs in most
of our lives, we are left to our own devices and try to deal with it and bottle
it up until it often explodes!

Sadly we learn more about grammar and geography then we do about how
to deal with anger growing up. And no wonder we experience chaotic results
in our lives and relationships. The point though is not to blame one’s parents.
They more then likely taught us what they received.

 Time For A New Look On Anger

My view on anger, and all of the other emotions, is that the emotions serve

Running on empty
Running on empty


to let us know what is going on inside of us, much like the gauges on our car dashboards tell us about the status of our vehicle. Anger just like all of the other emotions let us know when something needs our attention.

 

THE KEY!

The key is to recognize the emotion and to know HOW to express it effectively!
Recognizing that one is angry, and being able to express it before it gets out of hand, helps us to use our emotions as GUIDES in our daily lives. One might even go so far as to expect that anger will crop up in our lives at some point and then to make a plan to better deal with it is perhaps a better plan in the long run then to deny it and hope that it never comes around again.

It’s kind of like in-laws!  They exist and will likely visit us from time to time. Much better to plan for it and get along with them, and in the case of anger, with ourself and others!

 THE WORD!

As promised, here it is, THE WORD that I see most often related to people who have serious anger issues!

Shock
Shock

Are you wondering what it could be ???

The word is:   S H O U L D !!! 

Most clients with deeply ingrained anger management issues often use the word “should” repeatedly. What often comes as a surprise to them is that they are not even aware of how often they are saying it, or even thinking it! The other word that is often spoken or thought of is “shouldn’t“.

The Problem With “Shoulds”

Is that “shoulds” or “shouldn’ts” keep us detached from reality!
And when we are detached from reality we are often not able to deal
with it, much less cope with it.

What do I mean by detached from reality?

Let’s say you are a counsellor and happen to get a parking ticket.
Might as well go with a real life example here …..
Telling oneself that one “shouldn’t” have gotten a parking ticket, and
that the parking signs on this street “should” be more clearly indicated
does not help one deal with the situation.

The reality is:  I was in a hurry and failed to pay attention. I assumed the
parking limit was 2 hours instead of the “actual” 1 hour written on the sign!
What “should” be in my world of parking regulations is not going to help
me deal with this ticket, and will certainly not help me to prevent myself
from getting another ticket in the future.

What will help, is ACCEPTING the reality of the situation, and not CREATING
one of my own. Also acknowledging my feelings and finding a way to deal
with them constructively. Yes I was upset about the whole situation, but
I didn’t let it build to full on anger. I can also tell you, that I look a LOT closer
now for parking signs!!!

The Takeaway

I would suggest that we consider the utility to ourselves, and to others in our life,
of demanding that the world work the way we think it ought to ( ie: should).
The world IS. If we don’t like it, perhaps we can find a way to change it. But
until then, it might be better to go with “reality” and deal with it as it is, and
then change it.

BTW ….. Should and shouldn’ts have related cousins. You may also want to
watch out for the following words that are also very rigid and inflexible: must,
have to, never, and always to name a few.

I hope that you found the above article useful to you in your daily life. The
proof is in the pudding I would say. Try it out and observe what you are
saying and thinking and you just may find yourself very surprised at the
number of “shoulds” that creep in!

I welcome any comments or feedback that you may have, as well as possible
article suggestions for the future.

Ron

 

Communication 101: Part 2

What Can Computers Teach Humans About Communication?

Communication in a perfect world might look something like this:

Humans might take it upon themselves, to borrow from the information transmission system employed by computers. Imagine that the example below mimics the process that two computers would go through to exchange ONE piece of information!

  • Person A feels a need to communicate something to Person B
  • Person A encodes his thoughts, emotions and impulses into words that they think Person B is likely to understand
  • Person A opens up a channel of communication with Person B by getting their attention, and checking in to see if they are receptive to receiving A’s message.
  • Person A then speaks his words sending them in the direction of Person B.
  • Person B is attentive and tuned into Person A, wishing and wanting to receive A’s message as best as they are able to. Person B may also block out any unwanted sensory information so as to be able to better receive A’s message.
  • Person B receives (hears) every word and non-verbal signal and interprets their meaning exactly the way A wishes them to be understood.
  • Person B makes a concise and relevant summary of what he received (heard) and interpreted from Person A and repeats it for confirmation.
  • Person A responds and validates that the information received is exactly what had been transmitted, and was interpreted exactly as A had wished.
  • There is a pause, Person A is deciding whether to transmit more information while observing whether Person B is about to speak or is in listening mode.

Possible Theoretical Exchange
(Husband To Wife)

– I want to tell her that I’m hungry……
– “Excuse me, but I have something that I would like to share with you”
– “I’m hungry!”  (including raised tone of voice and arms waving in air)

– The other turns their full attention to the first person. Other turns off TV
and asks children to be quiet as their father is making a major pronouncement.
– The other believes that they have heard the first person say “I’m hungry” and
has also recorded an elevated tone of voice and gesticulations with arms.

– The other then summarizes what they heard and speaks it back to him ensuring
that she has his attention. “I heard you say that you are hungry! Is that correct?”
(Please note addition of exclamation mark to denote that the urgency or
importance of the message was properly received with emotional signals
registered as well as the accompanying non-verbal gestures to add emphasis)

– The first person then replies back, while possibly smiling, “yes that is exactly what I said!”(Please note additional exclamation mark indicating first person’s pleasure at having had
his message successfully received)

– There is a pause while the second person attempts to figure out why the first person is
informing them of their hungered state. Second person may begin to wonder whether
the first person is incapable or knowing what to do to address said state. Or they may even assume that the first person is informing them of their hungered state so that they may

remedy the situation for them.

Second goes through many possible interpretations and reasons for why the first might have provided this information at this exact time during their favourite television program. Second person checks in with their emotional guidance system and finds the subroutine for annoyance running. Second person overrides helpfulness routine in favour or annoyance subroutine and replies.

– “Do I look like your mother? You know where the fridge is! I’m in the middle of my
favourite show here!”

– First person terminates wishing- to- share- a- part- of- myself- with- my- beloved routine
and begins to choose among the following candidates: frustration, self-righteousness,
anger as well as guilting subroutines.

–  Dinner is served much later to the sound of accompanying silence.

 The Alternative

Hopefully your interactions aren’t like this fictitious one! But the point is that there
is a LOT to sharing a piece of ourselves with our partners in the hope of being well
received. Transmitting our messages accurately, and in a manner that they will be
well received and not falsely interpreted can be at times nerve-wracking when stress is high and many things consume us in our daily lives.

This is a very small snippet of communication, much less a “conversation”. Although because of possible lack of awareness of message receptivity levels amongst many other factors, what could have been a conversation stopped with a screeching halt. The example is small and insignificant and largely unlikely in most home discussions, however I believe that the utility of it goes to show a small slice of the possible iceberg that may be underlying our conversations on a day to day basis.

Assess for message receptivity before starting off. Not just a willingness to listen, but draw upon past experiences and interactions and knowledge of our partners to determine an approach that has a greater likelihood of success for both parties.

“Honey, I know you’re deep into your program, but would you let me take you out to that new Italian place that you’ve been wanting to try?”

TV is turned off. Wife grabs coat and is waiting for husband to get going by the door.

For more articles on Communication, click here for Communication Tip #1!

Communication 101: When A Tree Isn’t What It Seems!?

Is Poor Communication A Problem?

Communication
Butting heads

On some level, a long term relationship can be equated to one very long conversation between two people. Communication is of the essence. One goes into relationship hoping for the best, but all too often the “conversation” that we experience is fraught with static and disconnection.

What happens to our good intentions? Why is it so hard to be understood and to understand our partners on an ongoing and consistent basis? Why is it instead of creating a beautiful harmonious “conversation”, our relationships sometimes look more like some broken down game of telephone that we used to play as kids?

There are probably a lot of reasons, too many to number here, but one of them might be in front of our mutual noses. A Marketing professor once told our class something that has stayed with me. He said “Perception is all!

Three words that someone might gloss over quickly. But I believe they lie at the heart of our disconnecting, and can lead to so much unnecessary pain and suffering if not properly understood. Combine this with our sometimes unconscious desire to try and prove that we are “right”, and that God help our loving partners but they are “wrong”, and we set in motion the beginnings of a tidal wave of misunderstandings, judgments,  and frustrating arguments. And we ourselves may be dismayed at how our partners could be anything but grateful for our attempts to enlighten them and show them the error of their ways!

{ Insert sound of balloon popping here ………. }

Instead what usually happens is an argument, and a distancing while each partner argues their case. What a moment ago was a loving relationship, now seems like a court of law, if not a battlefield with both parties taking no prisoners!

There is another way!

And it involves making a shift towards sharing perceptions with each other instead of trying to prove what’s right or wrong. I remember a scientist commenting on how difficult it is to prove the “absolute” proof of something. And I suspect that the great majority of us are not anywhere near up to the task of proving absolute truth. A little humility may end up serving us all well in the end.

“But I’m right!  I know I’m right!”   Shall we continue?

We come to our relationships each with our own set of beliefs, values and experiences that colour how we see, think and feel. How else could two sane intelligent people argue in favour of a glass being half “full” of water, while their beloved argues that the same glass is really half “empty”. All of our combined experiences have led us to reach our individual perceptions and conclusions on the status of the glass of water. The glass in itself just is. But as Shakespeare said so well many years ago, “There is nothing either good or bad, but  thinking makes it so“.

Now this is where I think that differences in perception, cause all kinds of problems and misunderstandings in relationships.

The Experiment!

Here is a fun and quick little experiment that you can try out with your partner.

Ask them is they would be willing to play a game with you. Then say that you would like both of you to imagine a “tree” in your mind. Also tell them to keep the type of tree and it’s characteristics secret until you are ready.

Once you both have a “tree” in your mind, then take turns telling each other what type of “tree” that you imagined. If you both name the same type of “tree” ( and this will be very unlikely from my experience ), then ask questions about the characteristics of each other’s “tree”. (e.g. how tall is it?  does it have leaves? what colour are they?).

The Results And What Does It Mean?

The chances are great that from the beginning both of you will likely be thinking of a totally different type of “tree”!

Now why is this important???

Because each day in conversation we use 100’s and 1,000’s of words with each other and presume that we are not only on the same page, but that we are thinking and imagining the same thing! Now most of us would not be overly concerned about a discrepancy in the type of tree that our partner was referring to ….. unless of course it were the one where they had buried the lottery winnings under!

Relevance To Everyday Life And Our Dreams / Visions

Communication
Sending and receiving image of tree

However we use words together that are a LOT more complicated than “tree”! We use words like “Love”, “Honesty”, “Trust”, “Commitment” which are many times more complicated and likely to have us thinking different things than our partner is thinking.

Instead of defending our views as the “truth”, imagine what things could be like if you could allow that you were both coming from your “own individual perspectives“!

 

Might we then adopt a perspective of curiosity and inquiry, as we seek to understand where our partner is coming from, instead of trying to prove each other wrong or ourselves right?

What does your “Tree” look like?

 To read Part 2 of this article on Communication 101, click here!