Communication is both verbal and non-verbal. We have all rolled our eyes, sighed, or had to walk away from someone in a moment of frustration. Think about the last time that happened, and think about what was really going on inside of you as that person spoke. Chances are you were frustrated and felt you were standing in front of brick wall. If you thought you could change the situation, you would have changed the situation. So the question becomes: What aspects could you not change that solidified the irrelevance of your voice? Why could you not change the situation? And most importantly, how high was your frustration that it seeped out into a behavior?
The point here is that frustration can lead to the non-verbal behaviors we would not normally exhibit in a discussion. When the discussion heats into an argument, we are then more likely to exhibit verbal disdain in our communication. It easily flows from our lips, yet brands the heart of the other person, and we fall swiftly into the Rule of Irreversibility However, there is one thing you have as a weapon against yourself… KNOWLEDGE. Knowledge is power, and if you know you are prone to hurtful words when angry and arguing, then you have the ability to stop it before it happens. Communication is key.
The first rule of verbal communication is your tone of voice. If you want to have honest and productive communication, you have to control your tone of voice. Many of us, incuding myself, wear our heart on our sleeve. Our upset comes out in our tone of voice, facial expressions, and even our eyes. Consciously add a softness to your voice. Our tone of voice can easily ignite the protective wall in our partner. Manipulating our tone of voice despite our true feelings can be the difference between a conversation and a fight. With this manipulated tone of voice, you can begin a conversation, avoiding an argument.
How can I change my tone when I am annoyed, frustrated, angry, or just straight pissed off? Take a minute and compose yourself. Think about what you want to say and how you are going to say it. Prepare yourself. With a plan in place, your emotions are less likely to take over your delivery.
The next is looking at the words you use. Are you using I statements or You statements. You statements place blame on the other person. For example, “You did…”, “You said…”, etc is putting all of the responsibility for your problem on the other person. If you change your statement to “I think…” or “I feel..”, you can also take responsibility for your emotions, your anger. With I statements, you can change from blame to taking responsibility for the possibility of miscommunication, misinterpretation, or a skewed perception.
We have all been in a situation that got out of hand simply because we needed to take a step back. It is easy to be on the outside looking in, but it is much more difficult to be on the inside and see a 360 degree view of the situation. Add on personal emotional ties to the situation, and your line of sight becomes even more narrow. Listening to hear instead of listening to give a response will greatly help you see the 360 degree view. You cannot understand someone if you do not listen to what they are saying. Listen to how they feel, what they think, and what they want. Make a plan, do your best, and if you fail, try again.