- I don’t generalize, I avoid words like: we, people, nobody.
- I avoid sentences with no specific information, e.g.: ‘I don’t like your attitude’ or ‘You don’t get involved enough.’ What does it mean ‘attitude’ or ‘get involved’? What exactly does the other person do or say? What particular behavior inspires me to make this remark?
- I explain the results of a given utterance.
- I stick to the facts. If I decide to talk about my opinions, reactions and perceptions, I am ready to verify them after the feedback I get.
- I keep away from belittling others and I don’t use words that can provoke defensiveness or strong emotional reactions. I avoid sentences like: ‘For God’s sake, how could you do something so stupid?’
- I talk about what my partners do, not about them as persons. Before I say something, I ask myself: What exactly are they doing that I feel so irritated or disappointed? I don’t elaborate on what they are like. I say: ‘It irritated me when …’ instead of ‘You don’t know how to do it’ or ‘You’re helpless.’
- I focus on what I have seen, felt, heard and not on my thoughts, judgments, conclusions, speculations.
- When I describe somebody’s behavior I use words like ‘more’, ‘less’, ‘often’, ‘rarely’. I don’t want to make impression that I observe something always or never because it leads to simplified stereotypes.
- As far as possible I talk about what happened recently and specify the place and the time. That is how what I want to say becomes more communicable. The most constructive information comes from here and now.
- I talk only about things that my partners can influence. There is no use saying: ‘Your skinny legs make me laugh’ or ‘I don’t like your accent.’
$ Communication is fascinating.
$ Isn’t it? Of course, that is not the whole picture. Let me add something about three levels of communication: Adult, Child, Parent. They have nothing to do with the age or parenting. We elaborate on this at the workshops when we talk about proactive and reactive language. In short, the Child expresses emotions: I love this, I can’t stand that, I punch you on the nose without thinking twice, I cry. As in life, your Inner Child can be natural, rebellious or adapted. The Parent means on the one hand warm understanding (a so called loving Parent), on the other hand, criticism and requirements (a so called critical Parent). The Adult stands for responsibility, consciousness, taking matters into your own hands and saying: I understand, I choose, I decide, it pays off.
$ Why do I need to know about these levels?
$ Have a look at these dialogues:
A: I hate Mondays. They are the busiest days of the week.
B: That’s correct. And I hardly ever get my sleep on Monday.
A: The youth nowadays are so arrogant.
B: O, yes. And there’s nothing holy for them. They only worship money.
A: l love chocolate ice cream.
B: And I’m dreaming of tiramisu.
A What film would you like to see?
B: It doesn’t matter, does it? Eventually you always decide, anyway.
A: You are always choosing films that suck.
B: Your choice, on the contrary, is always a gem in the history of the cinema.
A: I probably intruded my opinion on you a couple of times in the past but now I really want both of us to have fun.
B: As you know, I prefer French cinema
A: I am very proud of you (dry voice, frown).
A: I am very proud of you (smile, eye contact)
Some of them are potential conflicts, right?
$ Yes, number 4 is the beginning of a row.
$ Can you please tell me from which level: Adult, Parent or Child each person speaks?