Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Communication Rule Number Ten

Don't Dump Out Stored-Up Complaints (in fact, don't store them up in the first place). Dealing with one complaint at a time is difficult enough.

But here's the problem: Everyone suppresses complaints, although some people do it more than others. And suppressing them means storing them up. And storing them up leads, in moments of anger, to dumping them out. So we're going to dump out stored-up complaints.
The middle of a fight is the worst possible time to dump out complaints, but it may be the only possible time. If you don't dump them out, they may never get out. It's only then that you're freed from concern about having too much impact—about hurting your partner's feelings or starting a fight. Your concern at such moments is only that you aren't having enough impact.
Once your complaints are out, you and your partner have the possibility of a useful conversation later when the dust has settled.

Dan Wile

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