Have you experience a discussion with your partner that takes you nowhere? Have you regretted saying things in a heated moment? Has your partner hurt you with his words during a disagreement? There are somethings you would not say to your boss during a disagreement, why would you say those things to your partner?
Today I would like to talk about the rules for communication. During a disagreement, we often get overridden with our emotions and get off track from what we really want to communicate.
We also can get caught up in trying to “win” the fight by showing that we are right and our partner is wrong. But that mindset just leads to both sides losing, since the goal should be to build a stronger relationship.
Here there are some rules to follow during a disagreement to be able to communicate in a clear and rational way, so that the relationship can be the winner.
No using foul language. This is not a productive way to communicate our point of view and usually steers the discussion into negative ground. Respect is essential in a relationship.
Take Responsibility. It takes two to tango! Think about how you contributed to the problem. When you start to take responsibility for your acts then it allows for a more sincere and open conversation. This leads us to rule number 3.
“I” statements. Leave aside the accusations and begin to express how you feel. For example, go from “You are very disorganized” to “I feel overwhelmed when the house is messy”. When you criticize your partner then he/she becomes defensive and it turns the conversation into a trial to prove who is right. Also, avoid the use of ALWAYS and NEVER. “You never do the laundry”. Once again, your partner feels the need to defend themselves against those accusations
Avoid the Mind Reading Technique. Ask!!! Do not assume you know what your partner thinks or feels. Even if you have been together for 20 or 30 years, asking how the other person feels about the problem provides space for an open discussion. It builds compassion in the relationship.
Time out. Sometimes we feel overwhelmed by our emotions and when that happens we stop listening to what the other person is saying. This is a perfect time to take a few minutes to self-regulate to be able to then go back and continue the conversation. By mutual agreement, you can decide to take maybe 20 minutes and then continue the conversation.
Compromise. Find the midway point where you can both be comfortable with the outcome of the discussion. Many times, we want to be the ones that won the fight/ discussion. This only leaves a wound in the relationship, which means no one wins.
Keep in mind that the real winner should always be the relationship.