Relationship tip of the day

Today’s relationship tip is about communication: Practice active listening. When talking to people, especially during disagreements, make sure to really listen to what the other person is saying. Avoid planning out what you are going to say when they finish, focus on understanding their perspective and feelings. This can lead to more meaningful connections and instead of coming back with a response that is defensive you can come back with a solution based on compassion.

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I learned in college in a conflict resolution class to try to look at things from the other person’s perspective. It did help temporarily with deescalating my past marital problems. I also learned from a psych professor in one of my classes a long time ago that using the word “why” in a question will prompt the other person to react defensively because it is interpreted as an accusation. Experience has taught me during conflict, it is better to cite evidence from earlier activities and conversations, acknowledge how those actions or conversations were interpreted, and ask the other person to clarify their intentions. For example, instead of saying, “why did you tell me that you hate me,” it is better to say, earlier today, “I heard you yell out, “I hate you,” and then, I saw you walk away. I interpreted that as being directed at me, so what was your intention behind that statement, and did I do something wrong, or do something that made you angry?”

I have also found through my experience that it helps mitigate possible tension and explosive anger by stating the problem from a neutral perspective as it being a problem and we need to work together to find a solution for that. For example, instead of saying, “you let the trash to overflow and spill onto the floor and don’t care about keeping this place clean,” it is better to say, “I noticed the trash had spilled out after you threw away your garbage from dinner. We need to work together to keep this place clean, so if you see the trash overflowing or about to spill out, you will need to close off the garbage bag and tie it shut. I’m guilty of it, and all of us in this household are guilty of it too, so let’s work together towards improving our standards of cleanliness. Can you help us out with meeting that goal?”

Amazing advice @LoneLIshadoW3gs! Thank you so much for sharing. Its amazing that when we take a deep breath and really listen our compassion gets turned up and our anger turns down. -SG

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