25 - How to Effectively Communicate Love with Your Partner

Learn About Love Languages and Techniques for Having Difficult Emotional Conversations.

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Audio Version

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Episode Transcript

[00:00:00] Intro Sequence

[00:03:15] Hello everyone and welcome to another edition of the inspired healthy living podcast. I'm your host John Oden we've got a very exciting one for you today. Remember that you can submit your questions via our website which is aspire123.com. Now today we're going to be talking about how to have productive conversations and especially emotionally sensitive conversations. So that's primarily going to be relationship partners that you might be having those conversations with. Of course it could be business in a business context it could be in a friendship context. So I think this is going to be extremely useful information. And very practical information. So hopefully you agree. Let's go ahead and just die. Then I want to really cover two related topics today. The first of which is going to be the five love languages which you may be familiar with but you may not be familiar with it's a very useful concept in terms of relating to other people. And then my friend Jason who became a patron last week. Thank you very much Jason. My friend Jason had previously provided me a hand out of his thoughts on on his observations about what are useful techniques in approaching some of these sensitive conversations when you're when you want to have a conversation with your relationship partner or your business partner or your good friend and you know there's explosive potential with it. And so I say this is kind of top of mind for me because I had one of these conversations yesterday and so I thought it would be useful to go ahead and just record my thoughts.

[00:04:55] So let's first let's dive in on the five love languages. It's one of these things where it's so simple but it's so useful. So if you're familiar with it or read it maybe it may be helpful to have a quick refresher. If you've never heard of the five love languages before I think it's it's pretty easy to. It's pretty it's a pretty accessible idea. But it's such a useful idea. So this is all from a book called The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman. And if you're interested in. By all I mean the Five Love Languages portion of what we're talking about today. And if you'd like to learn more I'll go ahead and link to that in the show notes. That book by Gary Chapman. But I actually don't think it's necessary to read the book. I think it's pretty straightforward. But if you want to dive further and get for you know additional information here of course welcome to read the book. So the idea is as follows that when we were children we received love in certain ways and that our parents or whoever caretakers were. They expressed love in certain particular ways and then that and that that is was different from child to child. So some children were showered with attention set of children were relatively neglected but those children were given nice gifts things like that. So everybody wants love but everybody potentially has a different idea of what constitutes love or a different set of circumstances that make them feel loved. And that's really based on that's really based on how they were raised.

[00:06:29] Now just like a lot of different I would say personality test related things by which I mean there's a lot of different authors who say you know there's five kinds of people or there's five kinds of love languages or there's 16 types of people or whatever. And I have I'm in the middle of compiling the best of those into sort of a universal personality test we'll call it the Aspire personality model and I will be releasing that shortly. Free to the audience. So look forward to that in terms of coming attractions. The reason why I'm mentioning that is the Five Love Languages is actually included in the Aspire personality model and like all personality typing tests. But by which I mean personality tests to try and put you in particular categories. I think actually everybody is all of the categories. So I want to be really clear about that when we talk about the five love languages. I think that everybody receives love from all five love languages. It's just that people have a preference. OK. So again you can probably you can receive love in these ways but if people if your significant other is trying to express love in the fifth best way for you that's not going to be terribly effective when compared to expressing love in the way that you would be more optimally primed to receive it. So how have it on the Aspire personality model which again will be releasing within the coming weeks. Is that I have these five love languages and I encourage people to basically write a number 1 through 5 next to them in the order of which they like to receive their love. So here are the five.

[00:08:15] And let's just think through for yourself. If these are ways that are enticing to you and in terms of getting affirmation or getting expressions of love from your pardon some of which will probably really resonate with you some of which will resonate with you less and the idea is a lot of interpersonal conflict and relationships if you both love each other. But one of you is trying to express your love and love language one and one of you really only pays attention to love language too even if you're both trying to express your love that's going to kind of be falling falling on deaf ears. So the idea is you want to axe you say people naturally have a tendency to express love in the way that they want to receive it. But the most effective way to express love is actually to express love in the way that the other person wants to receive it. So if the other person wants to you know received their love and love it means and you want to receive your love and love Spanish just as a kind of a silly analogy. Before I get to what the specific Love Languages are then you want to go ahead and give your love in Chinese. And they would 9:59 to provide the love to you in Spanish or whatever but instead of actual languages of course these are love languages. So what are the what are the five love languages. I'll list them all for a quick and then we'll go into each of them specifically so the Five Love Languages are physical touch which is basically being touched.

[00:09:44] Skin does it largely skin to skin contact but hugs. Things like that being held to words of affirmation being told oh I love you you're so awesome. Three acts of service. You know I cleaned the house for you to show you that you're so important to me. Type of thing for quality time. I'm so busy but I'm taking the day off to spend you know a date day with you. That would be that would be a quality time expression of love. And five is gift giving. You know I'll give somebody a necklace and that necklace is supposed to symbolize or love. So those are the five love languages. And we'll get into each of those specifically. I will say what I would encourage people to do is think about the number one and the number two and the number five. So. So maybe that's not totally clear. But as we go through these which is the number one love language where if you could only get one of these. That's the language you would want ok for me that's physical that's physical touch. If I could only have one of these I would like to like be hugged did massaged and touched in various ways. You know holding hands things like that that really does it for me that gives me a feeling like Oh I'm very emotionally close to this person. And so if I had to pick one that would be the one that I was that I was to pick. Now you're almost certainly not just one so there's likely like a close second.

[00:11:13] In my case that close second is words of affirmation so I really I grew up in a house where we said I love you every single day. So I like being told that somebody loves me. I like somebody explaining why you know I love you because of X Y and Z and then I also like if I if I try and do something for somebody like an act of service I really appreciate being verbally told that that was appreciated. So you know I cleaned the whole house. Thank you. I really appreciate it that you came into the house. That goes a long way for me as opposed to just assuming that. Oh yes of course that person knows I'm appreciative because you know of course I'm appreciative that they clean the house. No I would really like a terrible thing. So that's my number two. And then I think it's useful to know what is your number five. Or in other words what is the what is of the five love languages. What is the one that just really does not do it for you or it does it for you. But way less than the other five and for me that's gift giving. I very rarely receive a gift that I actually like. I'm I'm willing to receive the gift of most of the time I receive a gift I just think geez you know now that now I'm obligated to give a gift to this person and I didn't really get anything out of the gift I received in the first place so to me receiving gifts this kind of has it's like obligation feeling like I didn't ask for a gift I didn't want a gift.

[00:12:40] There are some certain exceptions but the exceptions are again exceptions rather than the rule. So I think it's helpful to know. OK well my one and two are physical touch and words of affirmation. And in my last one is is gift giving. And that means if I'm interacting with somebody who is primarily gift giving I need to sort of be on my guard in the sense of I need to have a tendency to give gifts when that would not be my natural tendency to sort of battle against my default. And in that case and also in a romantic relationship if you have a completely opposite love languages I would propose that maybe that's a deal breaker because you know if I'm married to somebody and people and really the only way they accept love is gift giving and I really I don't naturally speak. Gift giving has a love language like I'm willing to give gifts but I probably don't give awesome gifts because I don't get into gift giving like a gift giver does. OK. So those really probably diving into a little deep. Before we specifically talked about what each of the Five Love Languages was or is. But let's go ahead and do that now. So the first one is physical touch physical touch is being physically close to another human being. If I could be hugging that could be holding hands that could be snuggling. It's basically situations that have skin to skin contact or would have skin to just skin contact if clothing was not on.

[00:14:12] So you know holding each other while you're watching a movie I mean basically snuggling kind of all the different versions of snuggling basically encapsulate what we're trying to do. What we're trying to say with physical touch. So I think physical touch is fairly straightforward to me. Physical Touch makes intuitive sense as a love language because as a as an infant you want it to be held that was that was something that was something that gave you a feeling of security or you know speaking for myself as somebody who is physical touch in terms of Love Languages. It gave me a feeling of security when I was a little a little baby and my mother helped me. And there's a little piece of that feeling of security when I'm held as an adult. No it's not exactly the same but it is kind of reminiscent. OK two words of affirmation. Words are effort words. Words of Affirmation are when you virtually express your love for the other person. You know you are so awesome. You know John you're so smart and I love that about you or whatever. You know John you're a snappy dresser. I don't know. Why or whatever kind of compliment somebody wants to have as long as it's not like a contrived compliment as long as it's something you know a compliment that's actually you know something I'm good at not like oh you know I love the fact that you speak 20 languages like no I don't actually speak 20 languages you know but if somebody says I love X Y and Z about you or I love that you know you are so diligent about taking out the trash every week or whatever it can be the most mundane thing.

[00:15:47] I really like that it sort of builds me up to a little extent. And that was one thing that got me thinking about the love languages this morning is I was reading an article on medium which was kind of analyzing what does it say about you if you have each of these love languages and words of affirmation the theory of the author was that what it says about you is you have a bit of an external orientation in the sense of like when when I do something that there's a part of me that wants the reason I'm doing it is so that I'll get the affirmation so that I'll get the thank you from somebody as opposed to just the joy of doing it by itself. So I thought that was that was an interesting commentary and I'll say yes I did think that there was some truth to that. I was I was going to go into that article in detail in today's episode but I ultimately decided that really all five of these Love Languages are externally oriented and that's because love is a relational concept between two people. So of course none of these are going to be internally generated but so we've talked about receiving love through physical touch. We've we've talked about receiving love through words.

[00:16:57] The next is is acts of service.

[00:17:01] So I've kind of kind of referred to acts of service in passing but access services primarily doing tasks as a way of expressing love. So tasks would typically be things around the house maybe taking out the trash maybe painting the house kind of like honey do's which is kind of a husband joke for when no when the wife tells the husband but doesn't necessarily have to be that gender combination. Honey please do this. You know it just provides the husband with a list. You know I would like the kitchen cleaned I would like the light bulb fixed I would like whatever it is. And the husband do it in this example the husband could again it doesn't have to be husband doesn't have to be a male gender but going through that list and doing things for the other person that is seen as an expression of love. It could be you know please go to the great IT WOULD MEAN SO MUCH TO ME if you went to the grocery store to me. For me this week. Well then hearing that and saying Oh sure it's important to you I would be happy to go to the grocery store. That's really going to do it for a for an active service person.

[00:18:11] An active service person so I can only theorize but I would have to assume that doing acts of service together would also be a positive experience for these people so going and volunteering at a soup kitchen together that is that is not directly expressing love to each other but that's expressing love towards in this example homeless people and that will probably generate like an internal positive feeling inside of the acts of service person because they're feeling like oh we're doing acts of service together but acts of service is traditionally acts of service directly towards the loved ones so I cleaned the kitchen because I love you. You know I'm going to take the kids for the next three hours so you can go to have a spa day because I love you. You know things like that. OK. So it's the interesting thing of X about axid services they don't. It's not necessarily directed at the other person. Like if I clean the kitchen as a way to express my love and really my action is towards the kitchen my action is not towards you but it signifies something towards towards the loved one. Number four is quality time quality time is basically saying I'm dropping everything and giving you my complete attention and I haven't traditionally considered my I guess is quality time is probably my. My number three because to me quality quality time is like a prerequisite in the sense of like if we're in if we're not physically really sharing that same moment together then there is no opportunity for closeness like even if we were touching each other you know physical touch but we were completely ignoring each other because we were on our phones. To me that doesn't meet the definition of how high quality time so quality time is probably the most endangered in modern society in the sense of even when you're out with your friends in person.

[00:20:10] A lot of times they're sitting there staring at their phone or you know you're out to dinner with your friends and they literally won't have a conversation with you they're sitting there looking at their phone. To me that's like the opposite of of quality time is I'm being deprived of I'm being deprived of what would be situationally appropriate quality time like it's situationally appropriate to talk to somebody that you're out to lunch with. But because technology and social media is so addicting it's so common for people to just actually mentally check out when when they're with other people. So I think that that is actually something that makes quality time because it is so scarce in modern society it's so noticeable when you have quality time with another person like I'm trying to make it an effort that when I'm with somebody I get them 100 percent of my attention and I'm not looking down at a phone. And that's something I'm trying to practice where I'm actually sometimes putting my phone and do not disturb mode so I can so I can take the time to make sure that I'm not just staring at my phone constantly. So think about all the time are you giving quality. You really in an ideal world you want to be giving your partner all five of these Love Languages. Yes you want to focus on the ones that are most important to them but really the most effective strategy is to provide all five and it's likely because of how addictive technology is it's likely that you could step up your game in terms of quality time relatively easily and. And both of you will probably enjoy that.

[00:21:47] This is not totally altruistic in the sense of like yes you do want your other partner you do want your partner to feel satisfied but you you want to have a relationship with your partner. And if you're not giving them quality time than you're really then you're going through the motions of having a relationship but you're not in a relationship you know mentally there. And then the last one is gift giving I think gift giving is the most is the most self-explanatory. Sometimes people like receiving gifts. The best example of gift giving was my grandmother. It was like by far her her strongest love language. And for whatever reason it seemed to center around jewelry for her which I think was because she was from an older generation where jewelry was a real traditional gift that a romantic partner would that the husband would give the wife jewelry basically. And so every time they had an anniversary every time there was a birthday or whatever my grandfather would always give my grandfather jewelry and they even had like this ritual around it that I didn't really understand but it related to reliving when they originally connected during the World War period. So I was just thought that it was kind of somebody who was not gift giving with the love languages I thought it was a little bit odd because it was like what grandmother had a mountain of jewelry Why does she need more jewelry. But that really did it for her and grandfather knew that Grandfather always you know gave her the gifts when when situationally appropriate. So that's a pretty easy one to understand.

[00:23:23] When gift giving again I'm not a great gift giver so I'm probably not in the best position to provide advice about this but it's primarily about the thought it's primarily that demonstrating that you really know who this person is and you're saying that with via a gift and actually noticed this with my with my housemate this week because I had been I had been frustrated by the fact that basically he he just hands he hands my dog treats all day every day and to me that is not really optimal dog training I think that that the dog should be handed treats when they do something positive. But I ultimately realized like oh wait this is like a this is a symptom that this person is actually a gift giving love language person and they're trying to express their appreciation for the dog by constantly giving the dog gifts which is strange for me because my love language is physical touch. I would much rather hug the dog I would much rather pet the dog you know that sort of thing because that is that is a more natural way for me to express love. And I've also noticed with the dog speaking of love languages I've noticed that I do tend to say a lot of positive things even though the dog probably doesn't speak English I say Oh you're such a good dog you know I love you so much you're so important to me etc. it is it gives me pleasure to say those things to my dog. So in many ways our pets are kind of a mirror of a way of observing really what are our love languages and we will have a tendency to express love in the way that we want to receive love.

[00:25:03] And then going back to the example from my housemate if you observe other people and the way they interact with their pets or possibly like young children who are their family members it's very likely that you will be able to observe what their love languages so most people who are not familiar with the concept of the five love languages you can't exactly walk up to them and be like oh hey just let me know you know what your love languages and I'll be you know I'll be sure and hook you up with that particular language. Instead what you could do that you could explain the five love languages to them you could show them this episode and then you could just ask them what their love languages but assuming that's not situationally important or situationally appropriate I actually find it easiest to just observe observe what language the other person is using when they're relating to somebody that they love so maybe that's a pet maybe that's a parent maybe that's a girlfriend maybe that's a business partner but there is kind of this saying the way you do anything is the way you do everything. So if if for example you're a gift giver then you will probably be constantly giving gifts or you will observe this person giving gifts or potentially receiving gifts like what I noticed with this housemate is that when interacting with their parents they're always receiving stuff from their parents so you could see how they're sort of associating physical goods with with love from the parents. So it could be them receiving love in a certain way it could be them sending love in a certain way but it is typically if you're looking forward it's very easy to observe. It's very easy to just see what's going on.

[00:26:40] And of course you can test this if you think this person is a Words of Affirmation person than the next few times you interact with them. You make sure to say very affirming words and see if they respond positively to that. But if they just kind of ignore you and that it doesn't seem like a big deal then maybe maybe you guessed wrong. So course you want to you want to validate after you observe. But it's been my experience that it's actually fairly easy to observe what love language people prefer. OK. So that's the five love languages I find that to be relatively simple but a very useful concept. I have actually brought it up with a few different people and they were not aware of it so that's why I thought it might be good to do an episode about it. So again if you want to learn more go and check out that book. The link will be in the show notes. Let's go ahead and kind of get to part two of the program which is if you're trying to have an interaction with somebody you're trying to have an emotionally sensitive conversation. Well just yesterday I was trying to have an interaction with somebody and I knew it was going to be kind of I was hoping it wasn't going to be explosive but I feared it was going to be explosive. It was. I had some things that I felt needed to be said. I knew that those things were not going to come off as happy or positive.

[00:28:00] They were sort of sort of like I don't want to say criticisms but they were they basically related to in another business that I have an interaction with my business partner. And the simple version is I felt like some things were not going right and needed to be adjusted. And of course I knew it was highly likely that the person who was doing the things that I said that I was thinking needed to be adjusted would probably not take that very well because it's I interpreted it it is very likely that they would take it as a personal attack even though of course I did not mean it as a personal attack. So this is Fresh in my mind in the sense of I have had a sensitive emotional conversation with somebody yesterday. So things went very right about it. Some things went very wrong about it. And so envoy to I'm going to use that as a way to think through some of these issues that Jason was very was nice enough to provide by sending over this little handout. And I will make this handout available as part of the show notes as well. But this is a personal signature personal suggestions for productive conversations just things to think about when you're approaching these tricky conversations especially conversations that you know are going to be tricky related to where you are in the conversation. So he's broken it up from like beginning of the conversation middle of the conversation and look into the conversation.

[00:29:21] Things to keep in mind.

[00:29:23] Well actually it starts before the conversation before the conversation ask is now a good time. And I did do this yesterday. So I was I checked the box on that one which is I said you know I would like to have a meeting in this case it was a business context. I would like to have a meeting today before you go out of town because there are some things that I would like to discuss. Please tell me when would be a good time for you. And then later I observed a time where it seemed like now was a good time. So I said hey is now the time. Can we go ahead and have that have that business meeting that we had agreed to have today because there are some things that I feel like we need to talk about. I'm just going to read what Jason wrote here because I thought he had some good phraseology. Hey I want to talk to you about something that's on my mind is now a good time or do you want to talk later. OK. Remember the goal is to have an effective interaction where you get the results that you want. And so if now is a bad time and you're annoying them you're basically you're maximizing the chance that it's going to blow up in your face so they say like no now is not a good time. Two days from now is the best time. It is well worth waiting two days because you already know this is the possibility of blowing up.

[00:30:38] So you want to you want to minimize that possibility you want to maximize the possibility that that it's a healthy interaction. And then Jason knows if they're distracted or in the middle of something you probably won't have their undivided attention. At best you won't have their undivided attention. At worst they're going to be annoyed that you're interrupting them because they're trying to you know do something else. So like yesterday I picked a good time. I waited until I observed I already thought it was a good time and then I said hey is now a good time. Can we have this the conversation that I had previously talked about having. So I actually did this twice. I said today I want to have a business meeting. I want to talk about some things. And then at the time that I wanted to have the meeting I said is now a good time. And he said yes OK. Be prepared for resistance. A lot of people aren't used to genuine communication. So at first they might put up even stronger walls if that. If that happens feel free to pause until things have calmed down and you can try again. I would say most people are not used to talking about their emotions. I call it fashion. Most people are used to basically I don't want to say most but I have. It has been my experience that a common a common pattern basically is that people are not used to talking about their emotions. They do not want to talk about their emotions or that there's something that they that they're a little bit emotionally sensitive about. You're forcing a conversation about that emotionally sensitive topic.

[00:32:08] And so it's very it's very easy to react and started blaming you and shutting down and with the first few episodes of the podcast were actually specifically about that. So I would go and I would link to that in the show notes as well. But if you get to a situation where they're calling you names or something like that you know that this is starting to escalate out of control. And let's just walk away and re-approach later when things have calmed down OK. But hopefully before the conversation we haven't even gotten to that point. But it's possible that the other person is on such a hair trigger alert because there have been previous unpleasant interactions. It's possible that just asking about having a conversation is enough to bring their emotional walls up. So if at any point you see that they're just not listening to anything that you say and they're just getting agitated and things are just escalating. OK. Just go ahead and pause and come back later. OK. Let's go ahead and get into the actual conversation itself so Phase one is the opening part of the conversation we've already said is now an appropriate time to have a conversation and we're going to actually have the conversation OK. So you want to give disclaimers. Jason wrote some examples here. I want to talk to you about some feelings I have. And at the same time I'm worried I'm going to come across in a negative way by accident. That's definitely not what I'm trying to do. I'm not trying to criticize or hurt your feelings. OK.

[00:33:37] I like the I like the general tone of like an earnestness a general tone of saying you know I could be misinterpreted please please try and see past my words which I think is something that he typed later on down in the list. I really liked that. I did not like the exact phraseology that I just read that he wrote down. So I want to talk to you about some feelings I have though that's very good. I think that's a good lead in. At the same time I'm worried I'm going to come across in a negative way on accident if I'm hearing that and basically hearing like this person is about to say something negative and maybe that's maybe that's fair maybe that's not fair but if you say I'm worry I'm about to bring up something and I'm worried that you're going to get explosively mad about it. That already kind of that he tells the other person oh I'm about to bring up the subject that is in the general category of subjects that tend to make you as explosively mad or whatever. So if you're sort of priming them if you're saying I'm worried this might be a negative interaction. Please be patient with me. Yes that might work but it may also make them feel like oh I'm about to enter a negative reaction. And when you say I'm not trying to criticize you or hurt your feelings basically I don't know if we've touched on this before but the subconscious does not understand the concept of not. OK.

[00:35:04] So if you say I'm not trying to hurt your feelings at a certain level they're going to hear we're going to have a conversation that might hurt your feelings. OK. So don't talk about what you're not not doing. Talk about what you are doing. OK. I want to have a conversation and I'm going to try my best to be genuine and calm and I would really appreciate that from you as well. Or something like that as opposed to I would really appreciate if you don't freak out on me as somebody who has had people come up and say that sort of thing it makes you feel like they're about to do something that's going to cause me to freak out. It really puts you on high alert. So when Jason says Give give disclaimers I would say maybe clearly conveys some of the trepidation you're feeling but conveyed in a positive way like I'm feeling some nervousness about this conversation. But I do I will endeavor to remain calm on my end and let's let's try and talk through it in a calm manner or something like that. OK. Then he just goes on to ask permission to speak freely. Is it OK if I vent for a bit and will you try and see past my words and let your guard down a bit. I completely loved that because a lot of times it's especially if if the recipient of the conversation kind of perceives that this might be an explosive conversation which we just stated it was previously by giving a disclaimer we basically set it up like hey we're about to we're about to get into some ginger territory is that OK if you say could you please not focus on my words and focus more on the motion I'm trying to express.

[00:36:51] I like the idea of that because I do think it's sort of it frees somebody up to focus on the big picture as opposed to nitpicking about the details of what and of how you said something. It's been my experience that if you're trying to have a conversation about something and somebody doesn't actually want to talk about that like they're you want to talk about X but they're highly defensive about X.. What they'll tend to do is turn the conversation into a conversation about how you brought up X in the first place. So I say you know I feel like the cleanliness level of the house is an issue and I would like to have a conversation about how we can keep the house clean if for some reason the other person is defensive about the Clinton and his level of the house that they might say I can't believe the way you brought up the subject of the house being dirty and and I you know I'm kind of picking a silly example but I've seen this happen time and time again where the subject was one thing and the other person was not psychologically comfortable talking about that thing because they were they were feeling very defensive and personally attacked for whatever reason. And so they sort of run with the football and are completely in a completely opposite direction. So I think when you ask for permission to speak freely you're sort of discouraging the other person from running off and making by running off I mean conversationally moving the topic away from what you want to talk about.

[00:38:26] And again one of other thing about about hijacking the conversation I've run into this a lot when somebody is clearly wrong. Like for example I had a tenant or I had an employee that I was renting and that the company was renting an apartment for them and the employee it was supposed to move in on January 1st will the employee gets there and the apartment is not ready to move then even though we have a signed contract that said the apartment is going to be ready on January 1st. So I'd call up the manager and it was so clear that I was right in the sense of like obviously the apartment should have been ready on January 1st. And so it was not psychologically comfortable for the apartment manager to say oh I messed up I'm so sorry Mr. Odinn. Instead it was much more psychologically comfortable to say like I can't believe the way you're talking to me. You know I'm not going to speak with you if you're talking like this was kind of the reaction because of course I was very agitated that I felt like this other person had not followed through on their obligations under this contract together. So there are definitely some issues associated in there. But if somebody is feeling personally attacked they're going to try and change the subject. And so the reason why I like to be asked permission to speak freely is because it it does everything you can to encourage them to not see it as a personal attack even though they may still see it as a personal attack. You you I you want to minimize the possibility that they will see it as a personal attack.

[00:39:57] OK.

[00:39:58] Next be vulnerable and his example is now I know that I do blank sometimes also. So I definitely get it. And at the same time I feel da da da. Let them know you can relate to them which will help them feel like you're on the same side. I think that the the last phrase there are being on the same side is what's important. We have talked about so many times on this podcast at so many levels. The real fundamental issue that we're dealing with as human beings is our tendency to divide each other into teams. OK. So it fits. I have a gripe against you and it's me versus you. We're never going to have a positive interaction because every time it's me versus you I think you're a moron and you think I'm a moron basically. That's that's how the team mindset works. And you can think about this at all levels you can think about this you know your college you're the of the rival college everybody who went to that rival college is a moron you know the rival political party everybody who's in that camp obviously doesn't understand the way things are. The people in my camp are the reasonable ones Same thing for religion same thing for a whole bunch of different things. So what you want to do is you want. You want to be on the same side as this person. We're cooperatively brainstorming about this solution to a mutual problem that we as a team have as opposed to like I have this problem with you.

[00:41:23] Can you please just fix the problems so that we will no longer have an issue that's very me versus you. OK. Going back to the clean house analogy you know we obviously have a need to keep the dishes clean. And I've noticed a few things which seem to be causing the dishes not to get done. Can we proactively brainstorm a solution together so that we can together experience having a clean house as opposed to you know you're a walking pigsty and you're made all the time can you just clean up after yourself. Of course you can see how that person would feel attacked. They would feel not accepted in how they what their default behavior is and therefore they could interpret that as an attack on their person. So I think be vulnerable is really about being on the same team saying hey we have this common problem and we're on the same team fixing that problem as opposed to you are my problem and I need to fix you. OK that is never going to go over well because people like themselves they don't tend to they don't tend to want to bend over backwards and change themselves just because you have proposed that OK middle of the conversation avoid assumptions. Try not to make statements. Telling someone what they did. OK. If you need to say something. Add phrases like this came across to me as or I feel like OK. So this is really important because it's the difference between a logical fallacy and not a logical fallacy.

[00:42:48] Like if if you feel like for example somebody was being very confrontational you can either say you're being so confrontational right there in which case they just say like no I wasn't. You're not understanding me of course I wasn't being confrontational as opposed to you could say that came across to me as Conversely as confrontational. They can't really argue with that because they do not. Only you know how it came across to you. OK. So if you say things like I felt like I felt like I was attacked when you called me names. Just a minute ago that is a way if you say I felt like it came across as that that basically means whatever you say is legitimate because you're not making a statement about what actually happened. You're making a statement about what you perceive about what actually happened. OK. And that's that's it's much easier for them not to be defensive because you can say hey I understand you probably were not intending to come off as hostile but I perceived it as hostility.

[00:43:55] OK.

[00:43:58] Remind them that you could be wrong and that's why you're asking for clarification. So in this conversation yesterday the other person basically threw up their hands and they said like you weren't listening like you just don't get it. And and I said that's why I'm asking questions. If you feel like I'm not listening I very much want to listen. What is it that you feel that I am not hearing that you're saying. And then I stopped talking because I wanted the other person to go ahead and fill in. Now I will say in the specific example I don't think the other person was a good communicator and they were not actually able to say what they thought I wasn't hearing. Or at least I was incapable of hearing it in the way that they were phrasing it it's kind of six of one half dozen of the other Ok ask questions since you really aren't in that person's head. You can only guess what they were thinking. OK. You can only make an assumption about what somebody else was thinking and you really need to validate that assumption like I perceived that you got really agitated when I called you a name. Was that you know was I correct about that. Or maybe that's not a good example because you really shouldn't be calling each other names but try to ask genuine open ended questions like Is this how you meant to come across. You know I felt like you were being very dismissive of what I was bringing up.

[00:45:13] Is that how you meant to come to her is that you know was that you meant to come across you come across when we're talking about this. Do I have the wrong idea about this. And that gives them the opportunity to explain how they feel that gives them the opportunity to say you know I wasn't mad. I was furious or whatever. That gives them the opportunity to to say oh you were 90 percent right but there was 10 percent where you were completely wrong. And I feel much more listened to once I set the record straight. So that's why I think asking questions is a lot more effective than making statements you want to you want to make you do want to make some statements. But when you instead of stating a conclusion you want to state a conclusion like I felt like or I was receiving X is that correct. Let's have an interaction. The reason why we're having this conversation is specifically because I am not trying to assume it specifically because I am trying to determine what the true reality is. Common goal here to kind of touched on this but I believe it's so important emphasized that you have a common goal OK. I kind of had this analogy when I was married that like we're in the same car driving down the same street. OK we're in one car we're not into cars. We have the same goal. We are we are dealing with these obstacles together we're not blaming each other for these obstacles and them attacking each other and the common goal of course is to get to the heart of the issue so that your relationship will be better for both of you.

[00:46:41] If one of you is very frustrated about something even if the other person perceives that it's not a problem at all. Hopefully if articulated in a non-confrontational manner they are going to want you to have your issue resolved so that everything is happy in the relationship. OK. In the ending phase of the conversation emergency exit if you feel like things are getting heated or the other person is starting to get too defensive. Tell them that you would like to take a break for a minute so that you can think of how to better express what you want to say. Remind them that you're taking the break because you want to have a healthy conversation and not because you just don't care. So yesterday I very much I had one of these kind of conversations and it got heated to the point where I should have the emergency exited. But I did not. And the reason why I felt like I couldn't emergency exit at the time is because it was a business meeting I felt like we needed to have before this other person went out of town the next day. So there was kind of a time deadline element to it. But he started yelling he started name calling and I should have immediately just said look let's take some time we'll calm down let's revisit later. Now of course that assumes you will have the option to revisit it later. I have noticed in certain avoidant personalities it's like will they are never going if they're never going to allow you to reopen the subject to them the emergency exit doesn't really make sense.

[00:48:09] But assuming you're dealing with like the 95 percent of the population that's willing to calm down and after they calm down have a relatively reasonable conversation about it. It's very much worth doing that and just taking some time calming down and having the conversation later. Because remember emotions are like rooms in a house. If you're in the rage room you cannot have the reasonable reconciliation outcome that happens in the reconciliation room because that you cannot beat the anger room in the reconciliation room at the same time. So I think the emergency exit is really important because it's like at a certain point you get to the other person is one or both of you is so agitated that productive interaction is no longer occurring and the only thing that might occur is escalation into name calling or violence or different things that can basically rip the fabric of the relationship and that that ripple need to be mended. OK. Moving on I think this is a really important one. Do not expect quick answers. OK. If you bring up something especially like important and it's been bothering you for a while the point of the conversation is to set this as an agenda item. You know this is something that I have noticed this is something that is important to me. Can we cooperatively brainstorm about a solution. I don't need an answer. Now let's talk about it at a later time. Could you please. New long notes and get back to me. OK that doesn't sound confrontational at all because they can come back to you when they have a productive answer. They don't.

[00:49:42] What you don't want to have them do is have them feel like they're backed into a corner. Because people are not at their best when they're feeling cornered. So what happened yesterday is the situation ultimately spiraled out of control the person felt like they were threatened and then they kind of in the words of a third party observer they sort of went into Hoult smash mode at once once somebody is just kind of raging and is not using any sort of logic of course of course that's not going to be helpful. So what they should have done is not try to force an answer I should have just said I went up I this is something that I want us to discuss later please come back to me at a time that was convenient to you. OK. And then lastly thank them regardless of outcome you can thank them for being willing to listen and remind them that the common goal of all of this is to strategize on making things better. Of course that assumes that the conversation did not spiral out of control if he spiraled into name calling and explosive behavior it's pretty hard to say thank you. Although in an optimal circumstance you could say you know I know that this was a very sensitive subject and I appreciate you you know attempting to maintain composure or whatever but if you pulled the emergency exit cord you probably are not going to be able to think them right there. But assuming you have succeeded in the goal of having a productive interaction thanking them is very very much appropriate.

[00:51:09] Now I will say one other thing on the emergency exit which is that if you it's been my experience that if there's an explosive subject and then you wait and like everybody calms down and then you revisit the explosive subject it's really likely to become explosive again. So it may be one of these things they'll like no matter when it's brought up it's going to kind of spiral out of control. It's probably worth just repeatedly pulling the emergency exit cord because if you're going to have to just keep having the conversation until you have it in such a way where it doesn't go explosive and you can try approaching it in different ways. But the reality is something's are going to be something's are going to be sensitive subjects and some things need to be talked about anyway so you can really do is tread gingerly. And I think we've conveyed some pretty good ways to do that in this episode. Thank you Jason for submitting that handout which again we'll link to in the show notes. I thought that that had some really great ideas about how to how to approach these conversations which are inevitable we all have to have uncomfortable conversations. Maybe it's an uncomfortable conversation with a boss. Maybe it's an uncomfortable conversation with a loved one. Maybe it is with a housemate maybe it's with a friend maybe it's with a business partner. But as somebody who's going to need to be able to assert their needs in the world sometimes you're going to have to do that under adverse adverse conditions and I think that these are really helpful tools to keep in mind under those circumstances. So I think that this has been hopefully very useful.

[00:52:44] If you want to learn more about the Five Love Languages go ahead and grab that book and then if you want to go out and practice some of these some of these ways to have healthy social interactions go ahead download a handout and use that as sort of a cheat sheet. Next time you're in one of these situations so we hope this has been a helpful episode. If you do have any questions please do go to aspire one two three dot com. Scroll to the bottom and click submit a question and if you enjoyed this episode please do subscribe. We really appreciate the audience coming back on a weekly basis so that we can continue to provide useful information to you. So thank you very much for joining us on this episode of the Aspire healthy living podcast. We hope you have a fantastic week. And we look forward to speaking with you next week.

[00:53:28] Outro Sequence