How to ask your partner to change their behavior with ease
Don't judge their character - instead, share your observations about their actions.
"You are lazy"
"You didn't clean up your own dishes 5 mornings last week."
"You are always late"
"You were at least 10 minutes late to the last 3 plans we had together."
The first sentences are unfair judgments about their character and truth be told, they are USELESS because;
they add a negative energy of blame to the conversation
it often leads people to either defend themselves or shut down from an open discussion.
they often involve vague words, making it unclear and confusing to the person receiving them
A better way is to use compassionate and open communication to reach a win-win situation for all - kind of like a negotiation.
Here are the 4 steps of a Compassionate & Open communication:
1. Share your observations, with NO judgments.
2. Share your emotion about the situation.
3. Request with an explanation.
4. Offer your help.
You didn't clean up your dishes 5 mornings last week. (Observation)
I was frustrated to clean the used dishes because it delayed my morning. (Your emotion about the situation, NOT the person.)
Could you please clean up every morning? (Request). It would help to make my mornings stress-free because I won't be delayed with my morning routine. (Why it's important for you)
How do you feel about what I shared with you? Is there anything that I can do to help you with this? (Offer your help)
Yes, it involves more words than "you are lazy."
But it can help to dramatically change the way any disagreements are resolved.
Because you are going straight to the root cause of the problem, owning your emotion and requesting a different behavior in a healthy and open way.
Because here is the thing. Even if it doesn't seem like it, your partner doesn't do things to upset you on purpose.We all have our own way of doing things and every way has its own reasons and therefore right in their own way.
When you follow the 4 steps, you are energetically communicating to them:
"Every way is right and different ways are okay. I'm just here to simply request a change because it's important for me. What do you say?"
Leaving the dishes may not make sense to you because you like doing them straight away, but it also makes sense for them to stack it up and do it all at once at the end of the day.
Both ways are right. It's just a different way of achieving the same results.
Now that you are familiar with the 4 steps, here are some tips to make the conversations go even smoother:
1. Choose your requests wisely.
Only ask them to change something that you REALLY need to be changed.
If you ask your partner to change the way they do everything, even if you use the 4 steps, it's most likely not going to work. At least not for the long term. Because they have to know that it's important for you in order for them to adapt their behavior.
So, ASK YOURSELF, before you ask your partner:
Do I REALLY need this? (How do you know if it's what you really need? There is a consequence to not getting it. You are paying a price for not having it)
Am I wiling to have the WHOLE conversation? (Are you willing to follow the 4 steps with no attachment to the result? If you aren't willing, then don't begin. It doesn't matter enough to you)
What is not having what I need costing?
in who i can be
in what can be caused
in the future i see
2. If they say no, don't argue with it.
Release your attachment to the result.
Have no expectation.
If they say no, listen to understand, NOT to respond and defend your request.
Ask questions to learn about where they are coming from and why they have said no.
Listening to their answers will help you see the entire picture and from here you can either accept their request to not change (because you realized it's not important enough) or continue explaining why it's important for you that you both work together as a team.
3. When they bring their own request for change from you, receive it with an open heart.
If you have requests for your partner to change certain things, they will also have requests for change. When the time comes, open your heart and receive them the same way that you would have desired for them to receive it.
If you and your partner both recognize that it is a natural part of being in relationships to change certain behaviors, you are one step ahead in having healthy and productive conversations.
Remember, requests for change of behaviors are different to asking them to change as a person - stay focused on behaviors and actions. Stay away from commenting on their character.
Now, it's time to hear from you.
What's your biggest takeaway from this tip?
What are you going to implement first in your conversations?