A willingness to be influenced is an important part of sustaining a healthy relationship. If both parties are willing to be influenced by one another conflicts will be reduced significantly and be replaced with a collaborative feeling. It is even more important for the person with more power contextually to demonstrate a willingness to be influenced as this creates a sense of ease for the person who may be struggling to find their voice.
For instance, when we are willing to be influenced we are open to not only hearing but also understanding the other person. We do not become defensive but instead listen to create understanding. We remain flexible and willing.
Have you ever been in relationship with someone whom you know is not willing to be influenced by you? In other words they have made up their mind and you are never changing it! In this situation we will most likely stop talking to this person. There is on point as they are no longer willing we feel it. It can be very dis-empowering. So, if you have some authority the onus is on you to open the channel of communication and demonstrate a willingness.
Example: You come home tired from work, you like to eat dinner then watch TV. But your spouse, who works all day at home, wants to go out. One night he/she gets very angry and claims that you are inconsiderate of his/her need to escape from the house. You say that you are just too tired to do anything at night. He/she yells, “Well, what about me? I will go crazy if I can’t get out and have contact with other people!”
Reasonable part of spouse’s request: To get out of the house.
You say: I’m sorry you’re going stir crazy. What if we have a relaxing dinner at home so I can rest, and then go out for dessert?
Ask yourself how willing you are? If not, that’s ok but be transparent about it. If you want to demonstrate greater willingness here are some tips…
- Ask curious, open-ended questions to create understanding.
- Be a learner and willing to find out something new.
- Listen for and respond to the reasonable part of what is being said as opposed to the part you disagree with.
- Compromise, find the middle ground.
- Soften you tone, facial expression and body language.
- Listen without interrupting.
Give it a try. Relationships are a never ending work in progress.