For this week’s 200 extra points, Behavioral Health Services is sharing this 2 minute video:
The video, which has been viewed over 15 million times, is popular because it is something that we can all relate to. The woman in the video is talking about her issues and how she is feeling, and her boyfriend is trying to solve her problem, when that isn’t what she wants. You can hear both of their frustration, and you can relate to both sides of this conversation. On his side, the problem seems obvious … there’s a nail in her head that’s causing those annoying sweater pulls and the headaches. He understandably want to just fix the problem and take it out of there! Seems like a pretty obvious way to address her concerns, right?
It would be, except she’s not looking for a solution to the problem. What she is looking for is a supportive ear to listen to her issues, and to validate how frustrating they are. She is looking to get emotional support, and she’s not quite ready to take action on the nail in her head. Furthermore, by pushing the issue, he is actually pushing her into a more defensive and less flexible place with the nail.
So, how do you deal with this, from either end of the conversation? How does one get the other person to know what they want in a communication, and how do you help when the other person isn’t quite ready to accept the help you have to give?
The answers are Positive Communication and Listening Skills.
Positive communication is a set of guidelines for how to communicate with someone in a way that might help increase the odds that they will listen to you and that you might even get what you want from them. These guidelines, which are outlined in the 20 Minute Guide and in Beyond Addiction, are drawn from a number of different evidence based treatment protocols can help raise the odds that the person you are talking to can hear your request and even raises the odds that they will agree to give you what you want
The seven guidelines are:
- Be Brief – Stay on topic and keep it short and sweet.
- Be Positive – Ask for what you want, instead of what you don’t want, and avoid using blaming words or statements that will cause the other person to get defensive.
- Be Specific – Use specific examples and ask specifically for what you want.
- Label Your Feelings – Tell the other person how you are feeling in this situation.
- Offer an Understanding Statement – Demonstrate that you can understand why they may be feeling the way they do (even if you don’t agree with it).
- Accept Partial Responsibility – Own your role in this situation (yes, you do always have a role, and no it’s not all your fault!).
- Offer to Help – Offer ways you can help them do the thing you want them to do.
By utilizing these seven guidelines to communication, you increase the chances that you will get what you want, and it has the ability to help your relationship as well! How would this look in practice? Well, here’s an example of what the woman in this video could say to her boyfriend:
I really appreciate our talks and the ability to talk to you about things that are going on in my life that are difficult. It makes me feel connected and not so alone when things are hard. At the same time, when I do discuss issues that are coming up for me, it feels frustrating to me when you push me to solve the problem and come up with a solution. I understand that you might see a way to solve things and make them better, and you’re trying to help me out. And, what I really want is for you to just give me time and space to vent. I’m aware that I don’t often tell you that I’m looking to vent, which means that you don’t know if I’m complaining because I want a solution or because I just want to vent. If it helps, I can let you know what I want from you prior to us talking.
You can find all seven guidelines and more by reading more in the article here. You may find it’s likely more effective than saying, “ugh, just let me vent! Why do you always have to solve my problems for me?”
To access your points, CLICK HERE!