difficult situation arises, what’s your default mode of approach? Are you
willing to charge into the conflict, head-first? Or do you just want to curl up
in a ball and make everyone go away?
Knowing your tendencies can go a long way in improving your response to conflict in all sorts of relationships. Nicky and Sila Lee, authors of The Marriage Book, offer two pictures of how people deal with conflict: becoming either a rhinoceros, or a hedgehog.
If you tend
to be a “rhino”, chances are you’re willing to get aggressive when dealing with
difficult issues. You’ll want to ‘have it out’ in a fight, rather than walk
away from the problem. A rhino charges straight in, horn pointed and ready to attack.
But if you’re
a “hedgehog”, you’re much more likely to want to avoid conflict. When things
get challenging, you’ll want to stop the conflict by shutting down. A hedgehog
curls up in a ball and sticks its prickly spines out so no one can hurt it.
When is the last time you felt listened to? Truly heard – confident that the other person wanted to understand what you were trying to communicate?
Good communication takes time and skill: not just on the part of the talker, to express themselves clearly. It also depends upon the hearer, who can listen well or poorly.
Sometimes, we communicate to convey information, while other times we communicate to build up a relationship, to reveal an aspect of ourselves to another person.
Good listening, unlike speech, isn’t a skill that is really taught in schools or even in the home. Parents want children to listen, but that often just means “obey.” In adult life, listening isn’t often related to obedience, though. Adult relationships (and relationships with our children) require us to be truly present to another person: a difficult thing in our culture of constant technological distraction and perpetual multi-tasking.
So how do you know if someone has the skill set of listening? How do you know if you’re a good listener? Here are 7 signs to look for.
Whether it’s a good friend, a child, or a spouse, we all have someone in our lives we’d like to communicate better with. Here are seven tips that can help:
|ONE| It takes time. I don’t just mean that it takes a while to move from bad communication to good communication, which is true. I mean that it presumes you have a lot of “margin” time. If your life is rushed, if you are rushed, there is no space for that communication.
If you only really see your spouse for 30 minutes in the evening, during which time you are checking your phones or too exhausted to do anything but watch a show, there is no space. If you only see your teen in between school and violin practice and tutoring, there is no margin time.
Good communication can survive through busy seasons only if time and space are the norm. Continue Reading
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