If you want others to hear what you have to say then practice approaching people with a Softened Start – Up. A Softened Start includes a softening of our tone and body language and is void of any accusation. We are simply approaching someone with a message and ensuring that the other person feels safe with us. According to relationship expert Dr. John Gottman the ability to use soft start-up is key healthy relationship sustainability.
Why? Well, because it keeps others receptive to our message. Others are better able to hear what we are saying as opposed to getting triggered by our behavior. When we approach anyone with a harsh tone we can easily triggered him or her, which means they can’t hear anything we say for approximately 20 minutes. They become emotionally flooded and actually need a break to regain their composure and sense of self. Furthermore, we will most likely regret everything that comes out of our mouth when triggered so best not to say anything during that time. Women need at least 20 minutes and men need more time. Research shows that men become flooded more quickly than women and take longer to self regulate too. So, to avoid triggering and flooding and to ensure your message is received soften your approach. Be mindful of your tone, pace and body language and avoid the use of blame.
HARSH START: You always ignore me!
SOFTENED ALTERNATIVE: I have been missing you lately and I’m getting a little lonely.