Struggling with someone in your life? Having a hard time moving forward? As long as you stay entrenched in your own position or enslaved by your emotions, you will have a hard time overcoming any relationship impasse.
We've heard this one a thousand times, but when a relationship or a situation frustrates us, we tend to talk a lot or avoid a lot. Neither allows us to work together to find a way through conflict, to allow either person to get to a position of both feeling heard and being able to hear you. Relationships are built on a foundation of rapport. To build rapport, you must step out of your own world and into theirs.
It sounds strange, but the best way to get your point across is actually to listen. In fact, listening is the most powerful way to build trust; listening creates understanding. Try to mute your inner chatter, your advisor and your critic. Just listen.
The best way to listen is to ask questions that allow someone to tell you more. Avoid beginning a question with “why,” but rather begin with a “what” or “how.” What are they saying about their experience that could clarify things or increase empathy?
To prepare yourself for a constructive conversation
1. Try to become aware of what your needs and intentions are. Maybe you don’t like the way this person speaks to you, but what you are really frustrated about is the fact that you feel disrespected and accused of consciously making their life difficult. If that is the case, then your real motivation is your desire to be seen as a helper.
2. Put yourself in the other’s shoes. How is the other looking at this situation? How is the other feeling about your behavior, language, attitude? What experiences are influencing them? Seeking another point of view allows you to distance yourself from your own views and emotions, and get a broader understanding of a given situation.
If you find yourself getting triggered, take a moment before you respond.
If you have finished a difficult interaction, phone a friend to get support and dig into self-care, acknowledging your awesomeness and the hard work it takes to mediate conflict.
If you put yourself in the shoes of someone, then you might see how they are struggling to find their own balance in the situation and that their attitude doesn’t have as much to do with you as part of their own struggle.
Be motivated by curiosity.
State your intention.
Temper your reactions.
Communicate your needs and boundaries.
Be mindful that if you want to influence someone, you need also to be willing to be influenced.