Monday, May 08, 2006

Relationships Handbook: How to be a Good Enemy

If you need to fight with someone, what kind of response from this person is best for you?

Let's think of what it means to do battle with a "good enemy"!

A Good Enemy does not avoid the confrontation, does not escape from your angry words, does not slam the door and/or rejects the whole interaction.

A person who is a good enemy stays and listens to the barrage of accusations, ignores the dramatic way of message delivery, and listens instead to the hidden content (which could be frustration, a deep need for contact, or the desperation of loneliness)

And then this person can say to you, honestly: Thanks for telling me this: I will try to understand your point of view as best as I can.

What is the difference?

A Good Enemy refuses to escalate, and listens.

This kind of response does not attempt to avoid the confrontation: it intends to process it by different means.

It also means to listen to the message and ignore the envelope where the message was wrapped: angry words, high voice, aggressive words, emotional positioning, and recover the meaning hidden under the noises:

There is a problem, someone is upset about it, and I'd better take notice and listen.

Some people are so upset by the way things are said, that they don't pay attention to what is said: in this way, the rejection of the wrapping allows them to reject content. Doing so they can ignore the whole message: the content and the style of delivery!

A Good Enemy will try to repeat back to you the same content in different and respectful ways, up until you listen to yourself, own your own ideas even if it hurts, and then move to problem solving together!

You can try to apply this technique in your own relationships:

Adopt a listening attitude.

Take Control of yourself, and refuse to retaliate.

Repeat back the main points as close as you can, from the information you just listened to.(But avoid doing it in a hurting, ironic or sarcastic manner)

Then ask for time to think about the issues, and to let your feelings settle down. (But fix a deadline for the next talk).

See how your partner reacts to your new and different approach, and build momentum by shifting from confrontation mode into working a solution together mode. You will never regret it.

This is one of the many other techniques you can use to respond your partner’s requests or to present your side of the story without risking damaging your relationship. If you can remember that beyond the high voices, rough words and impatient demeanor there is still a strong demand for your love, then the picture gets into a different frame, and perhaps you can recover the emotional connection that you so much need.

To learn how to better manage your interpersonal conflicts and grow your relationships, claim your FREE 5 days Positive Conflicts Coach program at: Neil Warner, Conflict Coach 3415 Galt Ocean Mile, Fort Lauderdale, FL, 33308

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