Here are some tips to help you talk to your partner in clean and clear ways.
Be specific. What you mean by a general statement like ‘being considerate’ may be entirely different than someone else, but no one can argue with a specific request like, “Could you clear the table and do the dishes every night without me asking?” That’s a lot clearer than, “Could you help with clean up?”
Ask for what you want. Even though we are usually more aware of what we don’t want, it’s better to only talk about what we do want. So, instead of saying, “I don’t want you to yell,” you can say, “Will you talk to me in a quiet, calm voice?”
Stay in the Present. Leave the past behind. Even if your partner has not asked your opinion about something important on the last 5 occasions, still don’t mention it. “Would you like to hear my perspective now?” is an arrow pointing at the bull’s eye of now.
Ask for clarity. Don’t be afraid to ask for details. They can make all the difference.
Expect differences. The problem isn’t the number of conflicts or severity of them, it’s how respectful we are in honouring them. Most of the difficulties that occur around differences occurs because one person is trying to convince the other to see things their way or to do it their way. But why should they? Practice respect.
Avoid ‘right’ or ‘wrong’. Really, there is no right or wrong, only one person’s perspective versus another person’s perspective. Using phrases like, “From my point of view,” will help you remember that.
Recognize triggers from the past. We all have preferences, but if you find yourself having a great deal of intensity about something, it’s probably a trigger from some unresolved situation in the past. Talk with someone about it and tease apart the preferences you might have in the present from the intensity of the past. Once you do this, you’ll be able to negotiate much more cleanly.
Give these techniques a try and notice how much healthier your interactions with your partner become.
Or, if you want more ideas about how to connect in clean and clear ways with your partner, contact me for a complimentary coaching session. Karen@personalbest.org
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