Here is a recipe for communicating responsibly and powerfully we call Mindful Dialogue. It’s about really hearing someone, without getting defensive, minimizing, trying to fix it, etc. Just hearing it. Sounds simple, but most people don’t do it to the great frustration of their partners.
We’ll call the person wanting to be gotten the “Communicator” and the person getting the communication the “Receiver.”
- Communicator: Get your partner’s permission to enter into a discussion where you can be heard.
- Communicator: Communicate what you have to say with as little energy or judgment as you can muster. Use I Messages where applicable.
- Receiver: After each communication, or as soon as your partner has listed as many things as you can remember, gently ask your partner to pause while you reflect back what your partner said. Then ask if you got it all.
- Communicator: If your partner got it, then acknowledge that. If not, don’t make your partner wrong; just tell your partner what your partner missed until you feel heard.
- Receiver: Once your partner appears to have completed saying what needed to be said, ask your partner if there’s anything else.
- Receiver: Once your partner indicates that there’s nothing else, summarize what you heard. Check in with your partner to ensure your summary is accurate, and if not, find out what you missed and re-summarize until it is.
- Receiver: Express whatever empathy and validation you can for your partner. Even if you don’t agree, see if you can get in your partner’s shoes and have the way that your partner feels make sense for you.
- Communicator: Thank your partner for listening to you.
- Receiver: Thank your partner for sharing.
Here is an example using the Mindful Dialogue.