Have you found that your message just isn’t getting through to someone you love? Well, that happens a lot but luckily there are only 2 possible issues, either (1) they are choosing not to listen or (2) the way you are conveying your thoughts needs improvement. I can’t do anything about the first problem, but with the latter you have to keep this in mind: your message might be great, but if your delivery sucks it won’t be effective.
Most people have a hard time receiving any form of criticism, especially off the clock. A lot of people either get defensive or shut down when faced with anything resembling a critique of their behaviors, choices or character so the key to getting through is to (1) choose your words carefully, (2) focus on how things make you feel or affect you, and (3) above all avoid name-calling or passing judgment.
When things break down it’s usually because at least one person feels they are “right” and the other is “wrong.” If someone believes their choices are appropriate and the other’s are not, they are never going to be able to communicate effectively. What’s worse is that when you start to take on the role of a nagging parent, the other is going to lose interest fast in the bedroom. It’s simply not a turn on to shag with a nag.
If you are committed to working things out with someone, then you have to be able to work on delivering the right message– that means discussing things in a respectful manner and with an open mind. Your job is not to crucify or punish your partner, but rather to listen to his/her concerns and work together towards a mutual solution. So, here’s a phrase that captures that spirit: I love you, and I need your help addressing this issue that I have. I think we can all agree this will be much better received than something like “I’m pissed and you need to fix this now.”
Word choice is key to navigating difficult talks, so choose your words wisely. Remember, you may have the right message, but if your delivery sucks you will be SOL.
By Regina A. DeMeo, Esq.