It’s About Being Heard

Its About Being Heard by SIMPLE STEPS

Do you find yourself in a discussion with a friend or a loved one and realize that you’re in the middle of a no win situation? Are there times when you just can’t figure out why someone can’t “get it” yet no matter what you say you’re getting nowhere.

Even in the closest of families or friendships we have different perceptions, different opinions and definitely different triggers. And that actually is what makes this life so interesting!  If we were all the same we’d be bored… and probably boring. 

I can hear a person or two who is reading or listing to this saying, “Great Cheryl… but how does that help me win this argument?”  The short answer to that is… “It doesn’t.”   If you are trying to win then somewhere you believe that your opinion, position, or needs are more important than the other person’s.  They aren’t… they are just yours. 

If however you want to make sure that you are heard and that your concerns/position/needs are considered try these Simple Steps:

  • Avoid having the conversation when anyone involved is stressed, at odds or otherwise not in a receptive position.  If the issue is being pushed by someone at a time that isn’t optimal just say something like, “I want to hear you out but we are both a little stressed right now.  How about if we talk through this later?”  If they continue to push the issue listen to what they want to say but don’t respond. Tell them that you need time to think about it.  If they are demanding an answer you may need to take one step further and tell them that if they want an answer right now it isn’t going to be what they are looking for. If however they will give you time to think it through it would be your answer balanced.
  • When the time is right to talk have a plan on what you want to say and come to an agreement on. For example if you are concerned about your finances, and you partner isn’t, you may have on your list a regular time to discuss the state of your accounts, paying the bills together and coming to an agreement about what level of expenditures requires a discussion.  Start the conversation by indicating what you want to discuss and why it is important to you.  Don’t jump in with statements such as “I know you disagree.” The idea is to keep the conversation positive.
  • Seek to agree.  Once you have explained what your concerns are take the discussion point by point and ask for your partner’s thoughts on each item. If you want to discuss major purchases ask them to define what they believe the dollar threshold should be. Decide if it is a range that you can live with or ask for a compromise.  Once you have come to an agreement write it down.  Confirm with them your understanding so you are sure you are on the same page.  If it is a work situation send a confirming e-mail and ask for them to respond that your understanding is correct.
  • Agree to disagree.  If you can’t come to an understanding then it is okay to agree to disagree.  Just make sure that you leave the discussion with a statement that you are not on the same page and that the issue will remain unresolved.  Using the financial example if you want a $100 spending limit and your partner wants none… and you cannot work it out you’re going to have to decide if there are other steps that you can put in place that will provide a better comfort level for you.  You may decide to have separate accounts and come up with a plan where each of you has responsibilities for your own and a portion of the combined expenses. 

Your voice will be heard when you choose the time and the manner in which to express yourself.  You can accomplish so much more when you eliminate the stress and drama from the discussion.  And it sure feels better when you know that you’ve said your peace… and have been heard. 

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