It’s all about listening, says our resident relationship therapist John Donlon.
We’ve all been there. Our partner says something which upsets, hurts or offends us and we respond instantly with some pointed jibe of our own. Within minutes we can go from calm to a heated argument, leaving both parties feeling frustrated, unheard and hurt.
Instead, it’s possible to turn your arguments into ‘learning conversations’. Since your power is within yourself and not your partner, it is up to you to take the lead. Here’s how:
Before you can influence another person effectively, you need to get into their world. You need to listen to their story, to explore why they feel what they do, and understand the impact your communication is having on them. You can influence someone far more when they first feel heard and understood, even if you don’t share their views.
2. Change from using a conflict frame to an agreement frame
A conflict frame is just that – and uses the word ‘but’. ‘But’ can be one of the most destructive words in the English language, because it deletes whatever has gone before it. When we say, ‘Yes, but…”, all the person usually hears on the other side of the conversation is your objection to what they are saying, leaving them feeling unheard.