What to do when a person engages in behavior that annoys us?
Most of the time, we want to talk about it in order to change the behavior. Before opening our mouth, let’s ask ourselves the question: “What is my priority?”
“Is my priority to render the other guilty or is my priority to satisfy my need?”
“Is my priority to be right and to make the other understand that he is wrong or is my priority to find a solution to improve the situation?”
These questions are important because a person placed in a guilty position will NEVER want to cooperate. The whole art of being heard, therefore, lies in expressing our need without putting the other in the position of being the culprit… expressing our need so that the other can be part of the solution, rather than accusing him of being the source of the problem!
It’s a slight adjustment in how we usually do things, but I can assure you it will make all the difference!
Here are a few ways to explore this new way of communicating about our problems and our frustrations:
– First of all, let’s prioritize our needs and ask ourselves if the need that “triggers” us in the moment is really important. Do I really need to change the situation, or is it not a priority?
– Then let’s ask ourselves if the other is really the source of the problem, or if it is our perception and our attitude that makes it a problem. For example, if the other’s behavior is unavoidable (a friend moans and complains about something trivial, an adult has bad table manners…) then can I change my attitude and tolerate the behavior? Can I detach myself?
– And if my need is indeed a priority, it would be wrong for me not to address the situation! One of the first keys is to speak in the “I” mode, which is non-accusatory, and ask the other to help us find a solution for meeting our need. For example, instead of saying “You never do the dishes when we give a dinner”, say “I like to have our friends over. I really like to share a good meal but I often feel overwhelmed and start thinking it’s not fair because so much of the work rests on my shoulders, I need help to be able to really enjoy these dinners. How do you feel about doing the dishes the next time we have guests over?”
– Finally we can check that the other person is really onboard with the solution we suggested. If we sense that we do not have a complete agreement, we can then “renegotiate”: “It seems like you’re not really happy with that solution. Do you have another idea?” or “Is there something else you could do to contribute that suits you better?”, “Do you have an idea that might work for both of us?”
Speaking this way means the other person is much less likely to feel “guilty” and is more inclined to help us meet our need.
What do you think? I invite you to post your comments on this page.
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“Christine Lewicki is a Bestselling Author, Speaker & Coach. She is committed to help people quit complaining and become entrepreneurs of their lives. You can download your FREE “I quit complaining” starter kit on her blog www.iquitcomplaining.com and visit her Facebook page for inspirational articles and quotes to reveal the best version of yourself each day!