When you’re concentrating on making your point, defending yourself, winning an argument or being right, you’re probably not noticing me (the other person).
I might be getting upset, my feelings might be hurt, or maybe I’m just bored or tuned out.
Here’s a tip: Paying attention to me and my reactions are as important (if not more important) than whatever you are saying.
It may not feel that way to you, but that’s how relationships work best.
So, while speaking to me, it’s also helpful to observe me. You’ll be able to see if I’m listening to you and/or reacting to something you’ve said either positively or negatively.
And if you notice that something is happening to me, such as an eye roll, seeming distracted, upset, etc…, it’s a good idea to stop whatever you are saying, and ask me about your observation.
You can simply ask: “What’s going on?”, but do NOT just keep talking, especially if my reaction is undeniably obvious to both of us.
When you keep talking, you continue to focus on yourself instead of me, and that makes me feel unimportant… and maybe even invisible. I’m led to believe that whatever you’re saying must be more important than I am to you at that moment.
It’s not a good feeling.
If I tell you that your comment hurt my feelings or upset me, just take responsibility and apologize, because (I’m hoping) that was not your intention. Please don’t get defensive or become angry towards me, just let me know that you didn’t intend to make me upset.
That’s all I need you to do.
Caveat: You don’t have to comment on every little nuance, such a smile or a sigh, but if my reaction is a strong one, then take a moment to check in.
This is one way to defuse a potential argument, demonstrate that you care about me, and it can also immediately change the trajectory of a conversation.
This important tip applies to interactions both at home and at work and also happens to be Steps #3 and 4 of The Relationship Protocol communication model.
Debra Roberts is a Relationship Expert and a Communication Specialist. She is transforming the way we look at relationships! Debra’s present-day approach has quick results for resolving differences, changing negative communication patterns, and creating stronger, more positive relationships. To learn more and to join Debra’s mailing list, sign up at www.TheRelationshipProtocol.com