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Nonviolent communication in friendships, partnerships and everyday life
"Do you want to be right or happy? - Every conflict is an opportunity for deeper connection." Marshall B. Rosenberg
Many people find it difficult to become aware of their own feelings and needs and to express them. When
conflicts or disagreements arise in couple or friendship relationships, this often becomes a problem. Although
both partners want nothing more than to express their point of view and make themselves understood, deep differences and painful emotional injuries often arise. Here, NVC offers an emergency remedy:
The Empathic Conversation
If you want to have an empathic conversation to resolve a conflict, please observe the following basic rules:
The conflict partners sit opposite each other, look each other in the eye and try to speak to each other in a friendly and calm manner.
Refrain from reproaches and condemnations. Avoid sentences beginning with You have... / You are... / You must... / You should...
Focus on your own needs and experiences. Try to use phrases like: I have seen... / I have felt ... / I wish...
You can agree on who will start or draw lots to decide. or let people speak at random.
In any case, the other party to the conflict should have enough time to express themselves in the same way.
It can be helpful to agree on a speaking time, e.g.: Conflict partner A has 5 minutes to speak, then B has 5 minutes to speak, and so on. Always let the other person finish and do not comment on what they say either verbally or through body language. Listen. It can be helpful to take notes. It can be helpful to ask the other person: Please tell me what you understood. This way you can clear up any misunderstandings immediately.
What happened? In the first step, try to describe the specific event that you perceive to have triggered the dispute as objectively as possible and without judgement. What would a camera have recorded?
What feelings did the situation described trigger in you? Usually it is one or more of the four basic feelings: fear, anger, sadness, joy. All other feelings can easily be assigned to these four basic feelings.
It is important to be aware of your feelings and not deny or suppress them. Feelings are our connection to the outside world and indicate fulfilled or unfulfilled needs.
If you were anxious, sad or angry in the conflict situation, please think about what need you had or have that was not met in this situation. (For example: the need to be heard, to be accepted, the need for connection/closeness, the need for meaning, for creativity, for self-determination, etc.) What would the situation have been like or what would have had to happen for the situation to have been good for you? Knowing this need is good and important because it can help us articulate a request.
In Nonviolent Communication we always formulate a request in positive and concrete terms and in relation to the present. And this request is open-ended. (A request that does not allow for a no is a command.) Examples of a request to the conflict partner could be: I wish that you would show me your feelings. / I would like you to support me in... support me. / I wish that we could spend more time together at the weekend. / I wish that you would listen to me and hear me out. / I wish that we would always try to have an empathetic conversation when we have conflicts.
Ask your counterpart what feelings it triggers in them now that they have heard you describe your feelings, your unmet need and your request. Trust that your counterpart has a basic willingness to support you. It is a basic conviction of NVC, confirmed by much experience, that all people wish to have their needs met and are happy to support each other in this.
Now also give your interlocutor space to describe to you in 4 steps his perception, his feelings and his needs and to make a request of you.
With us you will learn these very effective communication techniques and many others, such as the dance floor (floor anchor), healing role plays,
mediations, we-spaces, expressing appreciation, feedback and withholding.
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Nonviolent communication goes beyond teaching communication techniques. Learn with us to connect more deeply with your own feelings and needs and to connect more deeply and in a more fulfilled way with the people you love.
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