. Ross: What? . I’ve got a big presentation first thing in the morning. There are endless thoughts and feelings you might have while you’re listening, but by now you know the patterns: your voice will be chattering away in each of the Three Conversations. She ruined the evening.” Though the story in Bonnie’s head was that Caroline was simply a cheapskate or wet blanket, Bonnie eventually decided to ask Caroline why she had such a strong reaction to the expense of eating out. Sometimes a conversation is simply not worth the time, or not even possible. 2. The problem is, we can’t make these things happen. . We can tease each other. I view them as separate. harvard.edu/Programs/PIL/.) The two of you don’t spend much time alone together during the rest of 192 Create a Learning Conversation the week, and as a result, you’re feeling more and more irritated with his new hobby. Lori: About the ice cream. If you are having a difficult conversation, and someone asks why you disagree, how come you never say, “Because what I’m saying makes absolutely no sense”? Even when it seems the dispute is about what’s true, you may find that being the one who’s right doesn’t get you very far. The question is what to do instead. We can find you some sort of activity that you’ll really enjoy. Greta: I know it’s hard. Yet it and many other less-than-ideal dynamics are surprisingly common, at home and in the workplace. You ask a question out of genuine caring toward the other person and a genuine desire to learn, and still they react by shutting down, defending, counterattacking, accusing you of bad intentions, or changing the subject. Why? A common example is asking for a raise. ISBN 0 7865 1102 8 (MSReader) ISBN 0 7865 1103 6 (Adobe Reader) 1. What else feels important for you to say? Sometimes people act with mixed intentions. And given how frequently our assumptions are incomplete or wrong, the other person often feels not just accused, but falsely accused. In many difficult conversations, it is really only at the level of feelings that the problem can be addressed. While losing your balance sometimes is inevitable, the Identity Conversation need not cause as much anxiety as it does. Another way to rekindle your curiosity is to keep focused on your purpose in the conversation. We conveniently forget our materials. . After some coaching, Ross took up the issue again, but this time asked for more concrete information: Ross: Say more about how you judge dedication, and what you’ve observed in me that suggests to you that I’m not as dedicated as you’d like me to be. Rather, imagine that it is true. . Finally, sick of feeling attacked each time she presented the budget numbers, she decided to confront the board member, a woman named Sylvie. When your husband forgets to pick up the dry cleaning, he’s irresponsible. . But his file is full of “Satisfactory” performance reviews dating back years. It’s very upsetting to me. It may be that all my efforts won’t turn up anything, and even if I do find her, I might be disappointed. If you have strong feelings, it’s quite likely that the other person does too. Better to stick to “business.” Or is it? Rachel: [skeptical] Like what? Or perhaps they’re acting upset, but each time you ask about it, they say, “No, no, I’m fine. Harpreet: When I say that I love you, what are you thinking? Anytime we feel vulnerable or our self-esteem is implicated, when the issues at stake are important and the outcome uncertain, when we care deeply about what is being discussed or about the people with whom we are discussing it, there is potential for us to experience the conversation as difficult. . In this ebook, you’ll learn how to discuss what matters most with your co-workers and employees in a non-confrontational manner. A member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc. Listening to Them Helps Them Listen to You Ironically, when Greta shifted away from trying to persuade her mother to exercise and toward simply listening and acknowledging, she ended up achieving the goal that had eluded her up to that point. And you don’t care either! This would be true even if Jason began with more tact, offering something like, “Jill we need to talk about your problem with getting the dishes done.” Tact or not, it’s still his story. . We Have Different Information There are two reasons we all have different information about the world. Uncle Doug is aware of “how Andrew is,” but he is less aware of how he himself “is.” Andrew is truck obsessed if we use as the baseline his Uncle Doug’s level of interest in trucks, which is zero. 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