One of the biggest problems we have, especially as women is that we expect men to think like we do and they just don’t. Wanting them, or expecting other people, no matter who they are, to just know what we want and need is the fast road to certain disappointment.
So how do we ensure we get our needs met without coming across as needy, whiney, or self- centred?
Well, here is a blue print! It is so easy to follow and covers all the bases, everything you need to communicate effectively with your partner and other people about what is important to you!
Following these steps will ensure that you are SEEN, HEARD and UNDERSTOOD! It flows in a natural way and creates a conversation to help you develop the healthy and loving relationship you deserve without sacrificing everything that is important to you or being afraid to express yourself.
STEP 1: Ask Him to listen!
This might sound obvious but ladies, the men like to jump in and solve problems. Before you have finished what you are saying, they will be offering a solution, before they even know what your problem is. Watch out for this, now that I have told you, you will see and hear it.
So, take control from the beginning, ask your partner to listen to listen and not to reply. Specifically ask them not to interrupt but to listen until you have finished and to hear what you are saying.
They will still interrupt! But, now, you are expecting it! Plus, you have a framework and can simply and calmly ask, can you please just listen? And carry on.
At least knowing this you will not feel diminished, irrelevant and unimportant, you will know it is just part of an emotionally healthy mans process, he literally has to jump in and save you, before he even knows what from! It can be very frustrating but, knowing that men do this and why can really help you not get mad about it!
Similarly, when you want to talk to him make sure the time is appropriate, don’t jump in or interrupt something that he is doing. Ask, can I talk to you? is now a good time? Set yourself up for success by being considerate of what he has chosen to do at this moment in time. Be respectful and ask for the time you need, don’t demand, pout or make him feel as if he has no choice.
Good communication starts with a request for time and attention, not a demand for it!
- Clearly express your need.
No one else can understand what you need emotionally or physically unless you tell them, so, tell him but, in a way that makes sense. Now that you have his undivided attention, don’t waste this opportunity this is your chance to express exactly what you need, in this relationship, in a given situation, in this moment, any or all of those but make sure you are honest and say what you really need.
You really can express this as clearly as :
This is what I need from you or, I need this from you
Then just say what it is.
Be honest! Don’t hold back, don’t pretend, say it as it is and you have some chance of getting what you need.
Step 3: This is why I need it.
Step 3 is huge, you are not just saying what you need which might seem demanding or needy or irrational to him, he might not immediately understand why you need what you do because men do not think the same as women but so, now you are adding clarity to that by adding WHY you need it and this makes a massive difference to the person listening.
To understand why someone wants something is very different to just being told that they need something. The thought process around it and reaction to it is completely different. It leaves no room for wondering why or feeling that it is too much etc etc. It clarifys and frames the request perfectly.
Step 4. This is what it will mean to me or do for me.
Here is your chance to add to the above and to express how this will make you feel or what it will give you in a way that benefits both of you. This is where the responder now really has a feel for what you are asking and can emotionally respond to it understanding everything about the request.
You can make this benefit about both of you. People respond better when something is being requested that has a joint benefit. He will consider and HEAR this benefit to himself as well as the benefit to you.
So, so far it looks like this:
WHAT I need: Is more quality time with you
Why I need it: Because with us both working it seems as if we just don’t take time to connect properly and I don’t feel important to you any more, we seem distant sometimes HOW It will help me, which will also benefit you: I will feel loved and appreciated and all areas of our relationship will benefit.
Step 5. Clarify the response.
Can you do that for me?
You have expressed a need and now it is important to let the listener respond and you need to accept that there may be a reason they cannot give you what you ask for. You have expressed a need but, they may not be able to meet it and they should be honest and say so because the worst thing anyone can do is give the impression that they can meet a need in someone when they cannot. So, they will either respond yes or no or have questions. But, this step of clarifying gives you the foundation to move forward because now you have a commitment, either positive or not based on a fully expressed and understood, specific need.
Step 6. Confirm their understanding of your request:
Do you fully understand what I need and why?
So, even if you get a positive response, take the time to clarify again and ask to make sure everything has been understood it is very easy for there to be misunderstandings and different perspectives and perceptions.
So check that you both really are on the same page.
Whatever their answer, it is in the interests of your emotional well being to understand as much as possible so ask them to feed back to you, their understanding of your request. Then they cannot just agree with you!
Step 7 Ask if they have any questions
This is your chance to expand and ask, do you have any questions for me? You have complete control using this framework, you know what you want and how to direct the conversation back to that at any time.
This is another step to ensure that everything that needs to be said at this point has been and that you are both fully aware of exactly what is being agreed and why.
Step 8 Give Back.
Do you need anything from me in return? This is your final step. If someone is listening to your needs and saying they will support you and meet them then, show appreciation and ask what you can do in return.
For many people, it will be nothing or it will be linked to your happiness but, taking this final step changes the dynamic, it makes it a team, not just one person needing something from another.
As humans we thrive on appreciation and if someone is stepping up for you, just appreciate it, that is often all they need.
Bonus Step: WRITE IT DOWN!
I think it is so important to write down what has been decided/discussed/agreed.
This is never from the point of view of finger pointing or blame but at some point you might need a clear reference.
With all the very best intentions it is very easy for things to get distorted/ misremembered and misinterpreted so, just write it down so you can refer back to it later if you need to.
if something has been perceived incorrectly you can at least refer back together and find out why.
Make sure your motivation is a positive one! And write it up together so you are both clear about what you have agreed and why and write it out as per the framework, again so it is easy to refer to.
I love this communication blueprint and it is successfully used and loved by my many clients so I hope it serves you in the same way too.
This article also has an accompanying video series which you can access via my website www.sallyg.com