The Two Sides of Everyone – and what that means for effective communication

 In Blog, Effective Dialogue, Living Organizations

(Time to read: ~ 2.5 minutes)

It’s almost as though there are two different people inside of you.

The person you are when you are confident that your needs will be met.

And how you behave when your needs haven’t been met and you don’t believe they will be met.

3 Implications

There are 3 different implications of this when it comes to effective communication:

  1. How you deal with the two people inside of you
  2. How you deal with the two people inside the other person (or people) you’re communicating with
  3. As a manager, how you coach your staff to deal with the two people inside of themselves and others.
    The same principle applies if you are responsible for the development of other people in other ways, for example as a parent, a teacher, or a coach.

With Ourselves

In general, we communicate in connecting ways when we’re confident our needs will be met – even if they aren’t met right now.

But I’ve found it really helps to think ahead and notice:

  • In what situations do you not trust that your needs will be met?
  • How do you habitually tend to respond in those situations?
    Some common responses are:
    – To get angry and criticize or blame the other person
    – To give up and either go silent, or respond with something like “Whatever”.
    – To leave and try to avoid the other person.
    These were my main habitual responses for many years.
  • Are your needs being met by the strategy you currently use?
    – Do you feel good about yourself afterwards?
    – Do you feel peacefully and positively connected to the other person?
    This is really important because it is the quality of connection you are able to create with other people that will determine their willingness to support you.
    – Does your strategy result in concrete changes that better meet your needs?

My Past Experience – Have you tried these?

I know that, for many years, my needs were very much not met by how I responded.

  • Sometimes I responded with anger, which often felt good in the moment – I felt a surge of power after having felt powerless or not cared about by the people around me.
    But the consequences of this choice were pretty unpleasant. The other person often got angry, and not only did I not get the support I wanted, but I got to hear lots of criticism about myself.
    Or else, they just laughed and made fun of me, which felt even worse.
    In addition, after I cooled down, I felt guilty and ashamed of myself for having responded the way I had.
  • A variation on this was when I made snide or sarcastic comments about the other person under my breath, half hoping they would hear me. If they did, the consequences were often the same as when I got angry (above).
    If they didn’t hear me, then eventually I just felt embarrassed at my own actions, and frustrated that nothing changed.
  • Other times, I felt hopeless or weary, and just stayed silent, or responded in a “giving in” kind of way.
    But feeling like a victim prevented me from seeing where I do have power, and what I could do to change the situation for the better.

New Learning

I discovered that I had to consciously develop a new set of strategies for handling times when I was in the grip of negative emotions.

I couldn’t just do what came naturally because it didn’t work.

Over the past 25 years I have designed and refined a set of strategies that really work.

And that’s what I teach to individuals, couples and teams.

Save Yourself Time

So if you want to

  • Feel better about yourself and your life
  • Have more positive and satisfying relationships
  • Know how to deal peacefully with negative emotions in others

and you’re willing to try changing some of what you say and do, click here to book a time to talk about options and see what’s right for you.

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