We probably all have at least one. You know, that person that drives you crazy. You just know when you see them next that the conversation will probably go south.
In fact you could probably predict the dialogue. You are going to say something, and then they are going to say their thing. You reply, they counter, etc. (In fact, you could probably change sides and say each others lines just to spice things ups sometime!)
There’s two healthy ways you can work on a conversation/relationship like that. I call them the Pre-think and Re-think.
This pathway pre-empts the tricky conversation by (you guessed it) thinking ahead about what is going to happen. If you can pre-think what they are going to say you can change something in the way you move and disrupt the familiar dance.
The idiom “It takes two to tango” has quite a bit of merit to it.
Gary Smalley calls it “the fear dance” in his insightful book The DNA of Relationships.
Are you looking for ways to shut someone down while they are sharing?!
Probably not, but it’s almost too easy to do without knowing.
Check out these tongue-in-check conversation killers to see if you are guilty of stifling a quality conversation.
1) One up their story – Your story is probably better or worse than theirs and likely a lot more interesting. So, see if you can get them to stop sharing by telling your similar story with more color or finesse. See if you can get them to feel guilty since your have gone through something far more difficult or silly for celebrating since your deal was grander!
2) Interrupt – Cut to the chase by finishing their sentences for them. This will save time and keep them from having to find words that truly express what they are thinking or feeling.
3) Jump to conclusions – You probably know what’s going on in their life better than they do, so go ahead and decide in advance of hearing them out. This will help them...
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