Get Him or Her to Listen

[full_width][/full_width]There are always ups and downs as a relationship moves forward. In the process, you will discover more about your partner, and surprisingly, more about yourself. Many people tend to think that they have good personality and sense of reason until their understanding of themselves is shattered after a relationship.

In the relationship, you may find yourself more joyous, lively, creative and mature on days of sunshine, or depressed, helpless, confused and desperate on gloomy days. Why is that? Because your emotions and feelings are somewhat dependent on how your partner views or treats you. Let’s focus on the topic of communication. If your partner says something unpolite, forgets your birthday, buys a motorbike without consulting you, or raises his voice in an argument with you, you may not be happy about it. What actions do you take once you have unhappy feelings? Sulk silently? Confront him? Or talk with him about it?

Assume that your partner raises his voice in an originally calm argument. What in the following is your most-likely response?

A: Stop talking and walk away angrily.
B: “What’s the problem with you? Why are you so bad-tempered?”
C: “I understand that you have a different opinion on this issue. And it’s normal that we have different views. But when you just raised your voice, I felt it was so unpleasant and sad.”
Here are explanations about the responses:
Response A: Communication is suspended. You are not happy, but your partner may feel that he’s doing fine and it’s not that big deal. The same situation may occur again.
Response B: “Bad-tempered” is an outright judgment. You judge your partner by implying that he is in the wrong. Maybe you are right. But the judgmental way is usually hard on the ear, and not acceptable for most people. As a result, your partner might get angry, and both of you end up in bad mood.
Response C: You objectively describe a behavior. You tell him your own feelings. That will make him listen and explain more.
To sum up, response A, B and C represent refusal to communicate, judgmental communication, and observational/neutral communication respectively. If you want to make your partner not care or angry, response A or B can be a good choice. But to set up a good communication mechanism with your partner, remember that it’s always important to put aside judgment and make observational and neutral remarks that point out the core problem.
What is your usual response when you are in conflict with your partner? Think about it.