In life, communication is everything. It’s not always easy communicating with others, ESPECIALLY when emotions are being easily triggered!
If you’re having trouble communicating with someone, here are a few easy ways to establish and maintain a clear, open connection.
1.) PROVIDE SIGNIFICANCE AND VALIDATION. When a person is mad, defensive, or sad – validate what the other person is saying, or at least how you can understand where their perspective is coming from. It doesn’t necessarily mean that you completely agree, but that you at least appreciate that person. This may sound like, “Thank you for sharing. What I’m hearing you say is ___[reiterate what was just expressed in your own words]__, right? I can see where you’re coming from.”
2.) FOCUS ON FEELINGS FIRST. Instead of using intellectualized judgements, frame your statements by acknowledging and exposing your feelings, perhaps by saying something like, “I feel ______ when _______.” Putting your emotions to the forefront has many powerful effects. It provides a permission slip for the other person to feel safer acknowledging their feelings with you. It makes feeling and connection the focus, instead of “being right” or putting on an social act. Then once you both feel safe and less defensive, you can gracefully move toward intellectual inquiries.
3.) ASK QUESTIONS instead of making assumptions or definitive statements. By inquiring, we not only invite more information to our awareness, but we also show respect and appreciation for the other person. This helps a person feel significant and received.
4.) MIRROR the other person through facial expression, posture, eye contact, breathing, gestures, phrasing, proximity, and touch (use what you can if you’re online or over the phone). Of course there is an exception if they’re furious or even hostile. But generally speaking, people intuitively like people who are like themselves, or who are like how they would like to be. When you make the effort to meet people where they’re at instead of demanding others to meet you where you want them to be, you’ll see them open up because you’re subconsciously communicating to them your empathy and consideration.
It’s important to remember that the difficulties we face are not necessarily because of someone else, but because of the barriers between us we have yet to overcome. The first step to navigating these obstacles is effective communication. 💜