Think or Feel

April 17th, 2012   •   Comments Off on Think or Feel   

Some people focus on what they think, “I think we would argue less if we had a budget.”

Others talk about how they feel, “I feel we would argue less if we had a budget.”

People process information differently, especially when it comes to problem-solving. In this case, they agree on a possible solution: a budget. How they approach it, and what they expect from it, may look much different.

We don’t need to define ourselves or others into categories. However, when we’re in tense conversations trying to find solutions, recognizing styles can be really helpful.

As voices escalate, most of us have been told, You just don’t get it! You don’t understand what it’s like for me!”

The person is frustrated. It’s about them. It’s not about me. If I react to feeling blamed, the tension will rise. My goal is to calm things down so communication continues.

When I don’t know if the person thinks or feels their way through words, I’ll include both options. “What do you think or feel I need to hear so you can have more confidence that I’m understanding?” They seem to stop for a few seconds, and then they start talking again.

I’m not really sure why it’s effective. It may be the “think or feel” option they heard. It may be keeping the conversation focused on them.

I just know it’s really helpful.

When people don’t experience a state of being understood, they are often frustrated. When you can help yourself or others connect with how they most comfortably communicate, you can bring calm to challenging conversations.