Start with the end in mind
I’ve got to tell you an amazing story that could change the way your perspective about men, and how you communicate with them—or with everyone in your life for that matter.
Several years ago a friend of mine saw me struggling with a relationship. He saw that my girlfriend and I at the time kept trying harder and harder to get through to each other about the issues we were having, but we couldn’t see eye to eye on them. No matter how I tried to approach her about what was going on she immediately responded with her side of the story. So we would instantly fall into arguments and disagreements. It was going nowhere.
My friend saw how distraught and tired out I was from all this and took me out to lunch to talk. As we sat at the table on a busy urban street with tons of people walking by she listened as I started explaining how I was right and my girlfriend was wrong, how she didn’t get it, and how she was frustrating me.
My friend stopped me and said that she thought she had an answer that would resolve the situation. But before she told me what it was she first told me that I wouldn’t understand or care what he said until I had moved past the issues I was dealing with. That I wouldn’t even be able to see what she was talking about until I was in a more “neutral” state of mind. Then she simply told me that:
“Communication is ONLY the response that you get.” What did that mean?
But she was right – I didn’t really get it at first, so I kept it swirling around in my mind for a while.
I asked myself,
“What response was I getting from my girlfriend?”
“What kind of response was my communication getting?”
The response my communication was getting wasn’t good or at all what I wanted. But when I truly accepted this, things changed in my mind. I started to see that all the things I was doing weren’t getting me the response that I was looking for.
So I decided to try something completely different than what I would normally do to try and resolve these issues. I would forget about my side of things in the argument. I listened to her, and I thought about the positive outcome I wanted. I ignored the desire to say things that would give me short-term gratification. Instead, I listened and thought in a way I’ve never done before.
And guess what happened?
The response I got once I simply listened to my girlfriend and stopped talking about me, me, me and why I was right was the one I was looking for all along.
There are two powerful things I learned in that experience that has changed my behavior forever:
ALWAYS focus on how things look from the OTHER PERSON’S perspective.
NEVER make it so that your “story” or side of things becomes more important than listening to the person you’re with.
Seek to understand before you seek to be understood. It might be difficult or even frustrating, but it works every time.