When was the last time yo got into an argument with someone and it felt like you were going around in circles? They kept saying the same wrong thing over. and over. and over.! Frustration builds, tempers flair, and yet another argument. This isn’t what anyone really wants, but how can you change this?
The previous post looked at the importance of understanding how to say what needs to be said. But communication is two-sided. Someone speaks, and someone listens. Both people have to be actively engaged in the conversation for communication to be effective. So how can we listen well?
When was the last time you talking with someone and they took forever to get to their point? You knew exactly where they were going and how they would get there, and decided to help them along, except you didn’t. They changed directions on you! When this happens in an argument, tempers can flare. No one feels heard and it feels like the relationship can’t move past the current conflict.
The first thing someone trying to actively listen to a conversation can do is shift how they listen. Most people listen to respond – to give their perspective on what is being said. Instead, listen to understand where the other person is coming from. Yes, this is easier said and done, especially when you disagree with what is being said. However, you might simply disagree with how something is being said, not what is trying to be said.
Reflective listening is an excellent way to make sure you understand what is being said. When the speaker is done talking, tell them what you heard but in your own words. Give them a chance to correct what you heard. This tells them you were listening and provides an opportunity to correct any miscommunication.
Stay tuned for the final tip to moving past recurring arguments in Part 4!
If you would like more information on communication or to schedule an appointment, please do not hesitate to contact me.
MA, ICAADC, CCPG, DOT-SAP, LPC
TBHI Certified Telebehavioral Health Practitioner