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Accept them exactly as they are.
Accept that they are unable to change, at least at this point in time. Unless you see real change — proof that this person is making an effort to listen and meet you halfway — you can assume that their behavior is what it has always been.
Try to avoid getting into a fight-or-flight response, which inevitably leads to becoming defensive.
Let them fully state their point of view about the issue/conflict/problem without interruption. What do they feel people misunderstand about them? What do they want or expect from others?
The idea is to remain as neutral as possible. Just listening may be enough to allow someone to feel like they have the opportunity to say what’s on their mind.
Inevitably there will be topics that represent points of disagreement and disharmony. Know what these topics are, and be extremely aware when these are brought up.
Be prepared to address these issues in a direct, non-confrontational way or to deflect the conflict if the atmosphere becomes too heated.
History and experiences should tell you that some subjects should be avoided at all costs.
If your experience dealing with certain issues has left you stressed out or emotionally depleted, it's best to avoid the discussion until a time when both parties are willing to move it forward in a constructive way.
Usually, arguments initially center around a specific topic/disagreement/response that made a person upset. If allowed to continue, the argument can become heated, accelerating quickly to personal attacks.
Make a concerted effort to imagine it unfolding before it actually does — and then nip it in the bud.
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An assertive person takes full responsibility for herself and her actions.
It is difficult to discuss some sensitive subjects, and we are tempted to avoid them. Other times we simply expect our partners to know what we are doing, thinking or what we want.
It is much better to get things out in the open regularly rather than waiting to have big rows that might damage your relationship.
Be curious about your partner’s point of view rather than trying to anticipate every situation. Active listening involves:
People tend to disagree when they don't understand each other. That does not mean you have to agree, just that you're open to hearing them out.
When you come to an understanding t...
Whatever may have happened in your past, you have to find a way to get past your triggers and see that you're in a new situation with a person who doesn't mean you harm. What's triggered is usually fear and awareness of one's limitations.
Look for common ground. When you concentrate on differences the space grows wider, but when you seek out what you have in common it helps bridge the gap.