The 9 Rs of Communicating through Difference

The 9 Rs of Communicating through Difference

Once we have taken the first step of deciding to stop avoiding conflict in our relationships, practice can transform clashes into creative conversations. My 9 Rs of Communicating through Difference can help you make the shift.

A Single Step’s 9 Rs of Communicating Through Difference

Don’t bottle up the little feelings, allowing them to build into a big ones that you may not be able to control in moments of conflict. Getting to know our feelings a bit better helps us to make conscious choices about how we respond to them

Stay focused on the topic at hand. Veering into past events or other grievances can draw you into murky waters which may derail the process.

Sentences that start with “I feel..” rather than “you make me feel..”, help us to take responsibility for our emotions and move away from blaming. Accepting that we alone are responsible for our behaviour is an essential building block in creating healthy relationships

We can easily become careless or abusive towards the people we are most familiar with. Respectful language and attitudes pave the way for better communication

Listening is more than just shutting up. Practice letting go of control, criticism rebuttal and a defensive stance. Then strive to really hear what the other person is communicating.

Response, not reaction
When our buttons are pushed we sometimes throw out the first thing that comes to mind, which if often aimed to cause the same hurt we are feeling in that moment. Stop, breathe, respond constructively.

Restating and paraphrasing what you’ve heard can be a useful way to check that you’ve understood and show the other that you’ve listened. Conflict conversations that are built on clear understandings have an increased chance of success.

Are you trying to change the other person into who you want them to be? Letting go of control may feel like letting go of power in the relationship. The only person you can ultimately control is yourself and accepting this will reduce the conflict that is holding you back from a more fulfilling relationship.

Deciding to stop an argument needn’t mean avoiding. The time-out technique means knowing when things have become unproductive and agreeing together to step away for a set time period, to calm down, then return within a stated timeframe.

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