At times, we argue with our friends, our colleagues, our partners. Sometimes these arguments end up in fights, although we never intended to escalate the situation.
Often, the cause of the escalation is our way of communicating, which can be labeled as ‘violent’. “Look what you have done, you messed it all up!”, we tell the other. As a result, the other doesn’t listen to our complaints. They act defensively because they feel (verbally) attacked. And we end up in a fight.
How to avoid these abusive conversations? Try to use these tips to communicate non-violently.
- Take a step back to look at the situation in a calm way.
- Observe the behavior of your conversation partner and describe it in a factual, sensory and non-judgemental way.
Example: “I notice that you often arrive late at our appointments. Usually, you are a half hour to an hour late. I can see that you’re out of breath when you arrive because you hurried to be on time. I hear your apologies and your promises that next time you will be on time.”
- Feeling. Indicate the effect of the other’s behavior on how you feel, and express why it’s important to you.
Example: “It’s important to me, that you keep your word because every time you are late it makes me feel not taken seriously, considering your promises.”
Example: “It’s important to me, that you keep your word to be on time because I need you to take me seriously.”
Nonviolent communication is non-judgmental and respectful communication based on what you need from the other person, instead of blaming the other person of falling short.
You will notice your communication will improve because you are inviting the other to answer your needs in a friendly way. Usually, the other will respond in a constructive way.