When you hit a solid wall of a difference of opinion with someone, it’s very easy to lapse into old habits and ways of trying to make your point that haven’t worked in the past.
–Spew out a lot of words and reasons why the other person should agree with you…
–Get defensive, talk a little louder, point your finger or cross your arms in front of you…
–Give the impression that your way is the only way and if the other person doesn’t listen, they’ll be sorry…
–Give up because you feel like you can never win so why try.
And of course, the other person has their own repeated patterns of making their point and trying to make you understand why their way is the only way.
When those two patterns collide, it usually results in defensiveness, withdrawal and maybe shouting to make yourselves heard but it never works.
Creating something different starts with awareness.
If you see your pattern and want to change it and open up discussion, here are a few questions that create possibilities instead of falling into your habits…
1. “Can you tell me more about that?”
If you don’t understand or have realized you’ve made assumptions about what another person has done or said, it’s an opportunity to pause, stop your habitual response and ask for more information.
2. “Why is that way interesting to you?”
It’s easy to judge someone when their opinion isn’t the same as yours. Pausing to move from judgment to genuine curiosity and asking this question or one like it, opens the door for communication rather than drama.
3. “What can I learn from you or from this situation?”
You can ask this question to yourself when you notice you’ve been triggered. If you pause to consider the answer that will come up inside you, you’ll get a glimpse into understanding the dynamic that’s going on and a way to communicate that will open both of you.
The two of us have learned a lot from each other over the years, especially around handling finances and being open to listening to another’s way of doing something.
That’s the beauty of two people doing something together…
We’re all different and those differences are the juice that can enrich our lives if we let them.
These aren’t “magic bullet” questions.
But coupled with an honest, loving intention to connect can open the way to resolving differences and communicating on a deeper level.