1. Clarify definitions

When something is not clear or you are in a disagreement, clarify definitions. Many times we use a word in a conversation thinking it means the same thing to the other person and it does not. Example: A wife once said “I’m not in love with my husband anymore” in one of our sessions. I asked her to explain what it meant to not be in love with him anymore. She said “I don’t feel connected to him right now.” To the husband it meant something entirely different. To him it meant that she would never love him beyond a friendship level again, which caused him to feel very hurt & defensive. Once he understood the difference in their definitions, he was able to understand her meaning better and admit he felt the same way, which put them on the same page rather than feeling separate. Definitions of words can be very different for each person and it is beneficial to check in from time to time, you’d be surprised what can happen when clarifications take place, it can diffuse an argument right away.

2. Defensiveness

Ask yourself before you respond “Am I starting to defend myself because I feel attacked or triggered by something the other person has said or am I truly hearing their point of view and responding to it without defense?” This one is very important because when people get into the practice of defending themselves each time the someone person says something, they are soon in a verbal ping-pong match and that never solves anything because at some point someone has to lose in ping-pong! It’s important to acknowledge what another person has to say even if you do not agree with it. Example: Wife says to husband he isn’t spending enough quality time with her. If husband starts to defend himself that he is doing it, where has that taken the couple? To a place of going back and forth to decide who is right. Reality is wife has a certain perception of what is enough quality time to her and husband has his own perception as well. The key to this type of situation is negotiation – understanding how much she needs and how much he wants to give and then finding a middle ground so both are happy rather than one person “winning” and being right. This creates a win-win environment for both parties and can be used in all levels of communication.

3. Listening

Really, truly listen to the person speaking. If you catch yourself thinking of your response while the other person is talking…truth, you are not really listening, you are just waiting to get your point across. You can mirror back to someone what you heard being said so as to clarify understanding and then once you get the agreement that you truly heard what was said, you can respond.

4. Taking a Break

If things are getting heated, take a break and come back to it at a later
agreed upon time. I hear from people a lot that this feels like they are
walking away from a fight when in reality a fight will ensue should the
discussion continue at an angry level because when adrenaline is
rushing, things are said that cannot be taken back, Ultimately this can
cause more damage to the relationship and damper future communication as well as create trust issues. The key here is to come back to it at an agreed upon time rather than simply walk away never to return to the discussion.

5. Start-Up

If things are starting down a bad path right from the start of a conversation, ask what it is that upset the other person and see if it had to do with the initial approach. If so, see how you can modify the approach to have it better received. Some people think the other person is being controlling because of having to re-approach it in a way it can be received. Truth is in order to be in a healthy relationship of any kind, we must consider the way another receives what we are saying and how we are coming across otherwise it becomes about someone just wanting things their way rather than working through and truly relating to their the other person’s wants and needs. If both people do the same in the relationship, it leads to more respect and trust.

6. Empathy

Acknowledge the person in the matter by giving a level of empathy. Giving empathy means truly working to understand another’s experience even if you don’t agree with it, it’s the put yourself in his/her shoes scenario. A key to this is repeating back what you heard and clarifying a true understanding of it and then acknowledging that you understand this is his/her experience. This one is a challenge at times for some people but it is crucial to healthy relationships.

7. Curiosity

Curiosity – come from a place of curiosity. Rather than assuming something based on what you heard, ask further questions. Example: Husband says to wife “I don’t want to pick the kids up today”. Wife initially wants to start a disagreement because he doesn’t want to pick up the kids but she hasn’t gone to a place of trying to understand yet. The starting place is curiosity to understand the reasons first prior to having a reaction. Curiosity alone has prevented many disagreements from happening as one question changed the entire view of the situation.

Author's Bio: 

Julia started Breakthrough Facilitation as a way to accomplish her dream to empower others to uncover their authentic selves and develop new ways to communicate in order to create deeper levels of understanding and peace in all relationships. Her approach to Breakthrough Facilitation is primarily based on the belief that everyone has the ability to learn and grow through life’s challenges and deserves to be their best in life. She believes there are a few key areas that can hold people back from having fulfilling lives and keep them from getting what they want. She believes breaking through old thought patterns and behaviors that keep people stuck is crucial to change. She challenges her clients to breakthrough to a deeper self awareness, more powerful communication, uncover hidden aspects of themselves, crumble disempowering beliefs and FEAR (False Evidence Appearing Real) as all of these areas affect our lives and prevent us from taking action and making changes. She will inspire you to develop new communication skills, gain deeper self awareness, learn ways to improve self-esteem and gain personal power in your life.

Julia understands what it is like to have a lack of self understanding, fear, unconscious thinking, negative patterns of behavior, lack of self-esteem, and communication challenges in relationships because she’s been through it all and has learned better ways of managing through all of those life struggles. She knows what it takes to create a positive path to a better future. She knows the support needed to breakthrough those old patterns of thoughts and behaviors and wants to be that support to guide you through to the path of freedom. She wants to contribute to the lives of as many people as possible in order for them to achieve true happiness within themselves and within all of their relationships.

Julia’s Education, Experience & Training

Julia is a certified coach and holds an MA in Counseling Psychology from JFK University where she completed a 1000 hours of supervised practicum. During the first year of her training, she worked in a school system to counsel children. Her second year was spent working with couples, families & individuals.

As an undergrad, Julia earned a B.S. in Business Administration. Her prior employment experience includes Project Management and Implementation Consultant working for corporations such as Office Max, Coventry Health Care, Titan Enterprises, and Century Theatres. She also held positions in Human Resources, Technical Recruiting, and various areas of Finance.
Julia’s employment background, education, and training as a Marriage and Family Therapist gives her a versatile approach to educating, coaching and facilitating change. She is committed to maintain a high standard of ethics and do her ultimate best to assist others to succeed with their goals.