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4 Tips for Managing Relationship Conflict (Tip 2: Speak non-defensively)

Having an argument does not mean that your relationship is in trouble. By listening and speaking in a non-defensive fashion and avoiding criticism you can help foster healthy discussion. Disagreements and differences are an inevitable part of our relationships but by speaking non-defensively, this positive posture will benefit your relationship. The following four strategies from relationship guru John Gottman will help you break patterns of negativity and take a positive approach to solving problems:

2. "Speak non-defensively": Listen and speak in a way that does not engender defensiveness but instead fosters healthy discussion. "Praise and admiration" are the best weapons to keep negative thoughts at bay. Empathize. Realize that your partners anger might be an effort to get your attention. Adopt a receptive body posture and an open facial expression. Limit yourself to a specific complaint rather than a multitude of criticisms. Try these approaches:
"Remove the blame from your comments."
"Say how you feel."
"Don't criticize your partners personality."
"Don't insult, mock or use sarcasm."
"Be direct."
"Don't mind-read."

Tip three, next week...

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