Posts Tagged ‘communication’
There are some more important questions to ask if you want to know your partner and our topics for today are home, food, telecommunication and pets. These questions will help you find out the things you and your partner find it hard to compromise on. A good way to tell is if you are very passionate about something. It may be something that is too important to you to give up.
It is important to remember that some of the answers will change over time. We are searching for the things you think are “musts” or that you must have and are not willing to let go of. These are the issues that may become a conflict later on.
Welcome to the third installment of “Know Your Partner”. In this series war are talking about questions you and your partner should discuss before you move in together, get married or have kids. These questions will help you find your partner’s “musts”. To read more about “musts”, check out Know Your Partner: Musts. In the last post in the series, we listed questions about relationships, every day life, family background and friends. This post covers questions about appearance, work, money and health.
Last week, we talked about how every person has “musts”, things they absolutely cannot live without. It is important for each person in a couple to know their partner’s “musts” before they decide to move in together, to get married or to have kids. This week, I thought I would give you a list of questions to help you along your journey. This list includes questions about relationships, everyday life, family background and friends.
This list is very important to use in different relationship situations:
Before moving in with someone.
Before deciding to have kids.
On anniversaries – in order to update each other about the ways we have changed.
When experiencing relationship conflict.
Before making the decision to break up a partnership.
There are a few rules to remember when asking these questions. This will make the question and answer process more effective and successful:
Any relationship is a form of agreement between two or more people. The deeper the relationship, the more things you will need to agree on for your relationship to stay positive. Some relationships, like marriage and having children together, are more important than others. They have a huge impact on our lives and our futures. I call them love agreements.
Love agreements will change over time. Just how they change will depend on the circumstances. Each person changes within themselves and their agreements with each other change accordingly. For couples, it is very important for each side to make sure they are “sailing in the same direction”. While each of them may change in different ways, together, they want to be going the same way. If one wants to sail north and the other’s greatest desire is to sail south, then their relationship will suffer. One or both of them will have to compromise.
When we talk about relationships, the word compromise pops up as a desired outcome. I think compromise is important, but I also believe that some compromises cannot last for very long. They are often the source of conflict and can cause much heartache.
In the last chapter on tests in relationships, we talked about the risks of hidden apathy. Today, I will cover the risks of sympathy.
If you remember my example story, I was very, very sad when a contract I had been working on for about 3 years was suddenly stopped 2 month after it started. I was so excited and happy when it started that I was extremely sad when I was told the organization will not continue the project. To manage my feelings, I shared the story with people I have a relationship with. Lucky for me, most of my relationships were very supportive and I made sure not to share with those who were not.
Here are more examples of getting things wrong and failing the relationship test.
Here is an example of a relationship test at a level one – when one person is experiencing pain from an external source, which has nothing to do with the supporter/listener. Notice how easily things can go wrong and the relationship test can fail.
Last year, I was offered a position working within a team of people doing something that I absolutely loved. I had been working with them for over two years before that in an external capacity. We had been going back and forth for about a year, in discussions about me joining their team to write and implement a very special project. This whole time I was very happy and excited, waiting for the technical things to be sorted out so I could start the project. After two years of talking, it took a year to sign the contract and then I finally started writing the project. I was very hyped. But two month into the project, things changed in the organization. The person managing the project left and the wisest decision for me was to stop the project. I was soooooooooooooooooooooo disappointed. I was very sad and even cried. To manage the overwhelming challenge I was facing, I shared the story with other people, which put our relationships to the test. Lucky for me, most of my relationships were successful. While sharing my challenge with others, we both passed the test of support. But this is not always the case for every challenge. Here are some examples of relationships and how things can go wrong.
Most people have conflicts in their relationships and fail to resolve them because they confuse between empathy, sympathy and compassion. This confusion can be caused by either person in the relationship. It can be a result of ineffective expectations or insufficient support. Regardless the reason, life, the ultimate examiner, would give a “Fail! Big time!” on this test.
Understanding the difference between the three is essential to passing the relationship test. Here is my version of the difference.
Empathy is when you notice and understand the other persons’ situation, experience, perspective or feelings. It does not mean you share their feelings, agree with them or have been asked to share your judgment, thoughts or ideas. It definitely does not mean you need to solve their problem.
The best way to proceed is to say, “I can see that you are very disappointed and upset”, or just be a sounding board and repeat back to them what they said, “So you are sad because he was rude to you. I can understand why”. Often times, people only want empathy. Someone to talk to that will understand their perspective and feelings. Empathy is a way to give support with your presence.
Our lives are full of relationships. Each of them is a test we need to pass in order to have a happy, healthy, successful and fulfilling life. Relationships are such an important element in our lives that we start the process even before we are born. We have 9 months of close, physical contact with our mom and through her, with our dad or her partner. The success of these early relationships will have a huge impact on our long term relationship with our parents – the most important test of our lives.
Life is full of tests because at every stage of our lives, we will have relationships with other people. It can be our families, our friends, colleagues, clients, people that provide us with a service or even people we meet for a short time whose name we may never know.
People think in words. Every thought, feeling and idea we have, we give it a name. Naming (or labeling) is a very easy way to experience the world. Think of the color pallet. If you work with computers, you know that when choosing a color, it is not good enough to say “red”, because there are many shades of red, but in our life as humans and not computers, whenever we talk about scarlet, burgundy, ruby, magenta, maroon, coral or rose, we simply say “red”. Life is so much easier that way.
Words can be empowering or limiting. They can be our protectors, our guardian angels, or our demons, our tormentors. People who value words very much and find their power may wonder, “How can words be limiting?”
I think they are limiting for two reasons: they cannot describe the whole range of human experiences they make it difficult to recognize change.
When making a choice about letting go of some of our habits, letting go of the power we give words is highly important and can provide a lot of comfort and peace of mind. Think about it this way: using words to describe an experience is like trying to fit a giant into a space large enough for a grain of sand.
One of the ways in which words can limit us is negative self-talk.
I often observe parents as they interact with their children and listen to how they use language and tone of voice. All too often, they “talk down” at their kids, rather than having a conversation with them, and that saddens me.
Think back to a time when somebody talked down at you. Maybe it was your boss, maybe it was your own parents and maybe it was your partner. Not a good feeling, right?
Did you feel any respect? How did you think the other person was perceiving you? Did they treat you as an independent, capable human being or see you only from their own perspective? Were they driven by love or perhaps by fear?
Let’s start with the language.
Many parents ask their kids closed or single-choice questions, like “Did you have a good day today?” “Do you have any homework?” “That was great fun, wasn’t it, honey?” “How about we go shopping first and then you can play?” or “Do you want to use the blue crayon for the sky?”
Closed questions are used to instruct and control, because the little person’s choice is limited to agreement or disagreement with something that is actually a statement. So basically, when you ask your child a closed question, you are telling them your opinion and trying to manipulate them into going along with it (or else).