Imperfect Phrases For Relationships

101 COMMON Things You Should Never Say TO Someone Important To You...And What To Say Instead

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Robert's books have sold over 300 thousand copies worldwide, and have been translated into Chinese, French, German and Japanese.

He holds a Masters Degree in Applied Psychology, and has taught clinical and counselling psychology at the college level.

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 Do you want to fight all the time? Don't be surprised if your relationship fails. Examples - "No, I Don't, Yes, You Do Arguments":

This imperfect phrase is a bit different than the other phrases in this book, since it involves a tit-for-tat game where two people both communicate ineffectively. Here’s how it sounds:

Bob: Jane, when we go to parties, I can hardly get a word in edgewise, because you keep jumping in.

Jane: I don’t do that. Come ON!

Bob: Yes, you do.

Jane: No, I don’t.


The result is a potentially positive discussion that slides into a destructive argument, just because of the way it’s conducted. Bob has a concern. Jane shifts from addressing the concern (how Bob feels), to arguing about whether she does this or not. Bob plays the game, in which they get trapped in a cycle of contracting each other.

Couples often do this, but it also happens in the workplace. Regardless, it blocks finding real solutions for the real issue

 Make It Better - Stay Out of The Ego Argument Trap:

Both parties need to “step out” of the tit-for-tat, arguing perspective, but ONE party has to start the shift to something constructive. In most contexts, you can do this by focusing on solving the problem at hand — focusing on the present and future, and not what may or may not have happened in the past. Here are a few examples of how that can be done.

Bob: Jane, when we go to parties, I can hardly get a word in edgewise, because you keep jumping in.

Jane:  I wasn’t aware I do that, but if there is something I can do to make you feel more comfortable, I’d like to try.

Bob: I appreciate that. Maybe it doesn’t happen as often as I think, but maybe it would work better if I let you know in private if it happens?

Jane: That should work, or maybe we could use a signal, or something?

In the bolded part, you can see how Jane handles the situation., She focuses on the CONCERN, and not on denying the exact details. If you care about someone, it makes sense to take their concern at face value. Often it simply doesn’t matter who is right.

 Bob: Jane, when we go to parties, I can hardly get a word in edgewise, because you keep jumping in.

Jane: Oh, Bob. I don’t do that!

Bob: Maybe it doesn’t happen that often but I get frustrated. Sometimes I’m over-sensitive, and I’m sure we can figure something out so I can let you know if I feel that way?

Jane: Ok. I’m willing to give it a try. Do you have a suggestion?

 In this example, BOB steps out of the arguing game first by shifting to the issue of importance — how he feels. He helps get beyond Jane’s initial reaction to argue.

It DOES take two people to stay out of this argument trap, but you can see that ONE person has to begin, and it can make a huge difference. 

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