This is a follow-up to non-violent communication. In all communication intention is always the key. Intention can help to keep you away from anger and other emotional outbursts. What do you want to say? What is your need? Intention will make you much clearer both for yourself and the person you are speaking to.
Here is an actual conversation example; A young couple, newly in love are talking and it turns into a fight: (I use it because it was so short and fast – and so obvious)
He: I am really bothered by the fact that you have your old boyfriends on Facebook. (I am so afraid to lose you, please reassure me.)
He: It’s just that you didn’t do it at once, and one guy is still on there! (I don’t know. I just want to know that I am important to you.)
She: Well, what about your ex? Then you should take her off as well! (I need reassurance too.)
He: Her? But that’s not the same thing! We talked about her! (I didn’t realize that.)
She: Ooohh, why are you doing this? It’s the same for me you know…why are we even fighting? Why can you just not listen to what I am saying! (We seem to be having a communication problem.)
A little more of the same, and they sit in unhappy, angry and disappointed silence. After a while they try again and the conversation is more or less exactly the same.
What they are really doing is expressing needs. But when they speak to each-other it comes out as attack and blame, turning the conversation into a negative place. Instead of listening to and respecting each-other, this young couple’s insecurities make them demanding in a very personal arena (who you stay friends with). Their intention was basically to create reassurance, but since intention was not clear from the beginning, the conversation grew into fear/insecurity and finally hostility .
How do you communicate? Do you also get into trivial fights over nothing? We have all been there!