Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Communication Rule Number 2

Communication Rule 2: Don't Say "Always" or "Never" since it raises your partner's hackles and can easily be refuted by his or her pointing to an exception.

 If you say "You never lift a finger around here," your partner can bring up how at times he has emptied the dishwasher, set the table, or made the kids' lunch. What you really mean is, "I'd like you to do a whole lot more around here and I have a great deal of resentment that you don't." "Never," "always," and such words are at once too powerful (they are exaggerations that make the other person less likely to listen) and too weak (they are typically easy to refute).

But it's difficult to avoid using them. When we feel that words are failing us—when we feel that we are not getting through to our partners—"always" and "never" spring naturally to our lips. If these words didn't exist, we'd have to invent them.
So we're going to say "always" and "never."
But here's what you can do. When you find yourself saying one of these, know that you've got a frustrated person on your hands, and that person is you. And know that you're likely to end up feeling even more frustrated because your partner will likely point to an exception.

Dan Wile

No comments: