With Valentine’s Day comes love, and with love comes communication and its counterpart, miscommunication. In honor of Valentine’s Day I’m sharing helpful tips for communicating with loves ones. I hope these will come in handy.
The “Is this on?” response.
You say something to your darling sweetie and there’s no answer. For example: “Honey, my mom wants us to come to St. Louis next weekend. What do you think?” Pin drop.
You could say “why aren’t you answering? Oh, I know, you hate my mom! I always do everything for you and now I want this one thing and blah, blah, blah.”
Fight ensues. No Valentine’s fun.
Here is a better way to handle this:
The distraction technique.
Let’s look at this scenario:
G: Why were you late?
D: My 10:30 meeting ran over so I was late meeting Erin for lunch, then I dashed back for the 2 pm staff meeting, but we realized during the meeting that we had to get the newsletter to the printer before the end of the day because the employee appreciation event was moved up, and it was a pain in the neck because the stupid design software kept changing the font without me telling it to.
G: Why were you late? It’s a simple question.
D: And I’m answering it. Why do you ask if you don’t want to hear the answer?
In the scenario above, the situation has escalated. Again, no one will be having a fun Valentine’s Day.
Here is another option, using the Distraction Technique. This is the same application used on toddlers who lose a toy. You hand them another one and say “oohhh—this one is MUCH better!” Tantrum averted.
G: Why were you late?
D: I’m sorry. (Insert distraction) Hey, did you open that bottle of wine for us? Is it good?
The Thich Nhat Hanh Mindfulness Technique
Thich Nhat Hanh is “a global spiritual leader, poet and peace activist, revered around the world for his powerful teachings and bestselling writings on mindfulness and peace.” In his book The Miracle of Mindfulness, he gives tips on staying centered and present in the moment, through mindful breathing.
Here’s how it works. Before responding to anything said, concentrate on your breathing. As you inhale, say to yourself “Positive Outcomes.” As you exhale, say to yourself, “Positive Outcomes.”
Hopefully you will already be well into the aforementioned glass of wine from The Distraction Technique, and will forget why you were mad by deep breath number three.
Happy Valentine’s Day!