It is impossible to go through life and get along beautifully with everyone all of the time!
Dealing with other humans can be super tricky and emotionally exhausting. Here is your chance to sharpen your communication skills!
If you are having problems in one of your relationships with someone you care about, take the time and have the courage to address what’s bothering you, instead of stuffing it down and letting it bottle up.
Take some time to get yourself into a calm space. It’s best not to confront anyone when you are angry or frustrated. This is when you might say something that could have lasting repercussions.
Your goal is to be able to speak to the other person in a way that is polite and respectful, and without criticism or blame.
This might seem difficult to do, but if you follow a formula it will be a lot easier.
First, tell the other person that there is something that you would like to talk to them about, and ask them when would be a good time for you to discuss this with them. The other person might already be mentally maxed out, or have something that they are currently focused on at the moment. They will appreciate this considerate approach far better than if you just came up to them (or phoned them up) and just started letting them HAVE it right then and there!
The other part of this formula is to ask for a specific amount of their time to discuss it. Tell the person you will only need 15 minutes of their time, for example. This eases the discomfort and will automatically encourage the other person to be more cooperative, because you are expressing an interest in being respectful of their time.
So it would sound something like this, “Hi John, I have something that I’d like to discuss with you that has been bothering me for the past two weeks. I value our relationship and would really like to get this sorted out. When would you have 15 minutes to discuss this with me?” See how nice that sounds! So much better than “You have been driving me crazy for two weeks now and I can’t take it anymore!”
Once you have established a date and time to talk, make sure you check your clock and be respectful of the amount of time you requested. If you don’t, you are just becoming untrustworthy in the other person’s eyes, and then next time you want to discuss something with them they will automatically think you will not value their time (again). If you said ’15 minutes’ try to stick to only 15 minutes!
Have your thoughts organized so that you can get right to the point.
If you are getting close to the 15 minute mark, you can say “I respect your time, and thank you for giving me the 15 minutes I requested.” and wrap it up. You can arrange to have more time, later. Just don’t demand anything, or expect them to want to talk longer than you had originally requested.
Often, the other person may not even realize that they did or said something that bothered you!
This is why it’s so important to clear the air, and not let little things build up inside you unaddressed. You could have things eating you up inside, and the other person might be completely oblivious to the fact that anything is bothering you.
People can’t read your mind!
When the time comes to have your discussion, follow these simple steps so as not to come across as accusatory, blaming, or finger-pointing in any way.
Set aside any “expectations” and focus only on open and honest communication.
- Decide beforehand that you will speak to the person politely, just like you would like someone else to speak to you.
- Express yourself objectively. State the facts. This is what happened ….
- Then articulate your feelings. “I feel …. ” (Avoid “YOU made me feel….)
- Now give the other person a chance to talk, and really listen to them. Instead of thinking of what you are going to say next, just LISTEN to them. Listen with the sole purpose of “Understanding”. You do not need to be formulating your next argument while the other person is talking. Consciously stop yourself from doing that and focus ONLY on what the other person is saying. There is a reason they did what they did, or said what they said. Work on gaining a better understanding of them, their values, and feelings. Get out of your own head, and listen to their heart. If this person is important to you, then you will want to understand them better!
- Thank them for expressing themselves to you.
- Your last step (if it hasn’t already come up in the conversation) is to explain what you would like to see happen in the future, instead of the thing that happened that bothered you. Say, “What I would like is …….”
- Thank them again for allowing you to get this off your chest. Tell them that you value your relationship with them and you appreciate their willingness to communicate openly with you.
Every one of us has different values and beliefs and past experiences which shape the way we think and feel.
Developing your communications skills is crucial in order to get along well with all kinds of people!
The most difficult loved ones in your life are not there to make your life difficult or challenge you. They are actually a GIFT to you! They’re there to give you opportunities to practice… something. Like patience, or compassion, or non-judgement. These are the people who give you the opportunity to grow and build your character.
And above all…
Challenging people give you opportunities to practice and develop your communication skills.
The Best in Me
Recognizes and Honors
The Very Best in You!