Do you know someone who enters conversations with their dukes up? Maybe it's a colleague or boss at work. Or maybe it's someone around the dinner table or at family gatherings. You know, the person you wish would just relax, take a chill pill and stop arguing and interrupting.
With the higher bar, you don't waste time with people with whom you will never have a meaningful relationship. The risk is that you may lose out on what might have turned out to be a great friend or even the person you marry.
If you've ever been on the receiving end of these words, you know that the last thing that you feel like doing upon hearing them is to drop your guard and open your heart. Ironically, that's probably exactly what the person delivering these words is trying to get you to do.
Old habits don't die easily, but they do eventually dissolve, although the process usually takes longer and requires more practice than we think it should. Along the way, however, we get to cultivate other necessary qualities and strengths that serve us greatly, not only in our relationships, but in all areas of our lives.
Effective leadership is hard. It's a fine balance between making progress, managing expectations, and being heard. When it comes to receiving criticism from the boss or a co-worker, no matter how constructive it is, it can sometimes be hard to hear without getting defensive.
The next time the opportunity to know another's experience presents itself, try out what it feels like to listen without strategizing to keep yourself positively positioned -- without defending the story of who you are and what you have or have not done.
Listening without judgment and speaking without defensiveness is easier said than done, but with practice, mutual support and the willingness to share responsibility for the relationship that you co-create, you and your mate can create the partnership of your dreams, no matter who they are.
The less frustrated and disappointed we feel, the less likely it is that our attempts to create shared emotional closeness will be experienced as criticism by our partner, and consequently, the less likely it will be that they will respond defensively to us.
To men, your complaining or venting sounds like criticism. There is a way that you can communicate with him without sounding critical: Convert your complaints into very specific, direct requests.