4 Errors That Derail Communication

When we communicate with our partner we often jump ahead to the solution that we think is best instead of slowing the conversation down in order to gain the information needed to get to a solution that will be pleasing to each of you. Here is a list of 4 errors that can cause havoc in a relationship when trying to solve a problem with our partner. 

Error #1; We jump to a solution before really gaining all the information. For example, your partner starts to tell you their thoughts about something that is bothering them and we make assumptions of the meaning of what they are saying and what their intentions are. This is the time to be curious, asking questions to gain clarity and to try to see it from their perspective. The goal is to gain understanding. Your partner will not listen to your input unless they first feel like you understand their perspective, 

Error #2;  We sometimes react emotionally instead of showing empathy. This is the time to ask about their feelings and try to put yourself in their shoes. This is another way to show understanding but on an emotional level. Again being curious but not interrogating them with cold questions. You could ask “How did that feel when that happened to you?” and then validate their emotions by saying “That must have been sad for you, or frustrating” This does not mean that you agree with everything they say but only that you are trying to understand. If you find that your own emotions are being triggered then be honest about that too. When you each can feel safe sharing your feelings then you can make progress. You might have to take a timeout to regain your emotional balance.

Error #3;  We sometimes throw a solution at our partner which may not be what they need at all. Instead ask your partner how you can help, don’t assume what is needed. They may just want to vent their feeling to you and not really need anything done. You won’t know exactly how you can help unless you ask. 

Error #4;  Forcing the solution that you think is best onto your partner without considering them. This is not going to work. It would be better if we do something that Dr. Gottman calls “yield to win”

Yielding to win means accepting, understanding, and allowing your partner’s perspective, feelings, and needs into your decision-making process as a couple. It means really listening to your partner and forming compromises so that you both feel satisfied.”

If one of you is not happy with the solution but still goes along with it they will become resentful and frustrated. It is best to suggest a solution and then ask “How would that work for you?”. This shows that you are considering your partners viewpoint and honoring and respecting them in the decision making process. 

Don’t hesitate to reach out if you have questions! Give me a call at (562) 260-4796

Written by Lisa Strong