CommunityNewsPeopleRon Baker

A Phrase Phase – Or How to Deal With Conflict

By Ron Baker

The other day I was asked for directions by text. In the excitement of being asked to give directions, I assumed one destination and gave coordinates and driving instructions.

As I slept on it overnight I came to the conclusion that I may have mistaken the destination. I texted back. I was right – another destination was the intended one.

I sent coordinates to the new destination – they texted back that they would end up in Russia.

I recalibrated the coordinates and all was well.

One of the biggest determinants of good communication is mutual understanding. I have emphasized in pre-marital counseling a phrase that is still relevant today.

After one spouse has heard the other explain a situation, take a moment. Then, reply back: “What I heard you say is . . . “ Once you have expressed yourself, the other spouse then affirms that they have been heard properly. Or, . . . they reply back (nicely, please!) that they were trying to say . . . After a few more rounds, once a subject of discussion comes to the place where everyone is in agreement on what has been said, then solutions can be found.

Of course there will be days where it is easier just to go ahead, assume you know what is required, and go ahead and get things done.

Of course, you know what was meant. And, of course, the other party should be glad and thankful that you got things done. That’s the truth!!

We’ve all been there! And “there” isn’t that exciting.

How can we pull back from the edge? Some of you will have heard me speak of this more than once. Some of you will have heard this from your parents until you could recite it in your sleep. Three phrases we need to say more often. The more I muse on Rod Wilson’s book called – Thank you, I’m sorry, Tell me more – the more I’m convinced we need to recite these (and follow up on them) one more time.

So, I’ve put together a little phrase of my own. Not as good as Rod’s, but fun to try and say fast!. Try rolling these off your tongue when conflict arises. Make these a platitude that becomes so ingrained it’s no longer new or novel – just proper and right.

Gratitude, attitude, and latitude! Hear in the background – Thank you, I’m sorry and Tell me more.

OK, one more time . . .

Gratitude, attitude, and latitude!

Say it again, and again, and again . . .

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