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And what do you think? – dialogue support and vaccination against categorization

Discussing difficult issues is not easy. When people are addicted, they begin to speak categorically, throw a lot of negativity on the partner and just immediately talk about a lot, raising several topics at once. How to discuss this? Only if you answer the same.
“I get tired, but you don’t help me and behave as if all your whims should be fulfilled immediately!” – what to answer? Now listen to another conversation: “I’m tired and would like to discuss with you, can I count on your help?” – “Oh sure!”. If the conversation is built in the form of dialogue, it’s easier to negotiate.

You do not like the stubborn categorization of your interlocutors? Do you prefer a respectful dialogue in a conversation? Do you think the game “Who is changing someone” is stupid and you would like to conduct the discussion more thoughtfully and collaboratively? So, you will like the technique, exercise and the game “What do you think?”. It’s simple: you begin to speak briefly and, expressing your thoughts briefly, ask your interlocutor: “What do you think?” If you start to behave like this, it’s easy for you to agree with your loved ones to answer you the same.

“Son, my task is to prepare you for life. If you learn to think with your head, organize yourself, take care of those who are dear to you, everything will be fine in your adult life!” “I don’t want to think about it, why do I need it? I’m still small. When will it still be!” – there is no question from the child, he gave a statement-beat and closed the topic: everything is clear to him even without you. Talking in such a tone is a bad habit, but our children speak in the style that they hear from us adults.
By the way, note: how did the father start the conversation? Did his intonations favor dialogue? No … If you want a son or daughter to ask for your opinion, start in a conversation to ask for their opinion.

If you want your husband to ask or your wife to ask your opinion, do the same: start with yourself. I had a consultation with Nadia and Sergey, which was very difficult to negotiate with each other. How did they talk?
Nadia: Sergey, you know everything for me! You don’t ask what I think, and usually only push. And I want us to discuss all the problems together. Therefore, if any idea comes to your mind, discuss it with me. Ask what I think, how I want to behave, if I want this. It is possible that I will have an idea that you will like. But before deciding what concerns me and us, I suggest asking what I think on this topic. Otherwise, it’s very hard for me.

Sergey: And you yourself ask me what I think? Right now specifically: instead of asking me, she blamed me!
Both have higher education, but no one taught them to speak without charges and in the form of dialogue … Now imagine another option for their conversation, when Nadia says: “Sergey, I have a request to you: when are you “Do you want me to ask you not to put pressure on me, but to ask me and agree. Will this suit you? What do you think about this?”

Does that sound better?

My wife and I repeatedly checked: if you accustom yourself in a conversation to complete the statement with the question “What do you think?”, The conversation goes on more gently. Another, more thoughtful intonation sounds, without pressure and accusations.
One more note: there is a huge difference between the question “What do you think?” And the similar ones “What do you say?” And “What do you think?”. The first question prompts the interlocutor to express his opinion, and the last two – rather evaluate (and more often – start criticizing) your point of view.

How to accustom yourself to this style of communication?

It is always easier to do this together. My wife and I agreed to help each other, and if one of us gets carried away, the other raises his hand with two fingers closed. This is a sign: “Be more attentive to the form!”. Usually this is enough for us, the monologue stops here and the question is: “What do you think?”

Another way is more sophisticated: I’m not sure that it will suit you, but it works for us. If Marina gets carried away and concludes the discussion with an affirmation, not a question, I begin to quietly remain silent. There was a conversation – and suddenly there is no conversation … Silence … Such a quiet silence can last 30 seconds, and a couple of minutes, sooner or later Marina notices the silence that arises, catches her eye and returns to the dialogue: “What do you think?” – I reply, “Thank you for asking, this is important to me!” And we continue the conversation.

Another observation: the importance of intonation. If you follow your intonations, accustom yourself to speak quietly and thoughtfully, this alone is enough for the dialogue and questions for the interlocutor to arise completely naturally. But as soon as stiffness, categoricalness begins to sound in the voice, all the more – the volume increases, after a couple of minutes the speech turns into a monologue, the interlocutor seems to be unnecessary … Therefore, we learn to monitor our intonations and, if necessary, remind each other : “Intonation!”

Sometimes also with a raised hand and two closed fingers. This gesture in our family has taken root well: it does not interfere with the conversation, and the prompt is good.

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