- No personal attacks. No good discussion happens if we call each other mean names. Instead, we’ll use a compliment when we feel like attacking. Think of how you can do that and what a difference it will make. If you can, imagine how you will do this and practice it now so you’re ready.
- No using absolutes. Ex: all, everybody, each time, always, no one, nobody, never, none, every, everyone, etc. As in, “you always do that, you take forever, you never apologize, etc.” We use absolutes to exaggerate and paint us as victims. It forces a search for exceptions, expanding scope & killing discussion.
- One person talks about one issue, while the other person listens. We resist the urge to rebuttal. Instead, we’ll take turns, play fair, and set an example. You won’t drone on and hog the floor and I won’t cut you off. The idea is to air our positions safely and equally.
- No raising voices. If things get heated, we’ll say, “Let me take a break and come back to this, OK?” and move away. That’s a boundary. We’ll do our best later. Raising voices engages people’s fight or flight system and kills discussion. We realize a raised voice is mostly about us, not about the other person.
- No using “I feel that…” By using “feel that”, I’m describing a thought, not a feeling, implying feelings must be accepted at face value. Instead, we’ll say, “I feel ______” and insert a feeling word. We don’t expect feelings to be validated; we’ll just state them and let them go. We take responsibility for our feelings.
- No being defensive. Defensiveness is rooted in childhood shame, the little boy or girl inside fighting to survive. It also puts a halt to learning and one of the 4 traits that kills a relationship (with stonewalling, criticism and contempt the others). By being thankful for criticism, we keep a growth mindset.
- No jumping on you. I will restate what you said so I understand, and mostly use your words so I don’t manipulate by reframing incorrectly. Reflecting feeling is a variation. I will let you know “I get it” and give you a chance to correct my impression because I know we tend to “think out loud” using trial and error.
- No forgetting the end-goal. Let’s find a way forward that is mutually workable by being curious and doing our best to learn from each other. We focus first on connection, and less on outcome, while not giving up personal boundaries in the process. Our goal: conversation & agreement.
- No rushing things. The world does not operate on my schedule. We may have to devote more energy to working things out. We’ll be patient, improving as we go, knowing sleep is nature’s idea incubator.
- Use more “I” and less “You” statements. I can’t control others; I control me. Too much you and it becomes blaming. It’s better to tell you what I see, think, feel, and want… so you can do the same with me.
- Lower our expectations. All our disappointments are driven by expectations. When I temper self-interest, I see other viewpoints more easily. This leaves more room for compassion and compromise.
- We are each responsible for our happiness and for making this work. All I really own in life are my thoughts, feelings, and behaviours, all under my control. No one can make me feel anything as I`m no one`s puppet. When I make a mistake, I apologize because you matter to me.
©CKWallace, 2017, all rights reserved advisortomen.com
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