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9 New Skills to Combat Communication Crises Now-Required New Skill

The following nine steps clearly illustrate these now-required new skills. I believe that it is crucial to reverse the dangerous trajectory of you-and-me before once-intimate partners on the same team become irreversible enemies for all the wrong reasons.

  1. Recognize what may be happening to you and your partner. Going from evaluating a situation to condemning it doesn’t happen overnight. Both partners must be willing to look at what is happening to them individually and together. How has each become fixated on only one truth? When and where did they lose the capability to listen and understand that there is often more than one valid reality?

  2. Understand the potential destruction of your relationship if rigid ideas, thoughts, and feelings replace rational thinking. Vow to become more open to diversity again, even if you feel threatened in the process. Exploration does not require automatic agreement. You can always agree to disagree, but with caring, acceptance, and the willingness to think and feel what it is like to be in the other person’s shoes.

  3. Listen deeply without judgment to the other person’s views and how he or she became attached to them and why. Were they always there and are just more exaggerated, or have they become exaggerated by influences from external biases?

  4. Look for similarities in how each of you is defending your point of view and why. What is driving each of you to become so locked into seeing things in only one way? Look for what similar thoughts and feelings you both have that may be making you afraid to let go of what you believe in, and how that rigidity may be driving you apart.

  5. Imagine your partner’s feelings and state of mind as they are experiencing your blind condemnations. Are you willing to risk losing the relationship by being unable to move off of your position? Is winning more important than connection?

  6. Open your mind and heart to what makes sense in the other partner’s point of view and agree wherever you possibly can. Where you cannot, be direct and agree to disagree without erasing the validity of what the other believes.

  7. Change your goals from power, control, dominance, rigidity, righteousness, and stubbornness to compassion, collaboration, mutually chosen solutions, and the desire to become a team again.

  8. Create a new, mutually agreed-upon set of attitudes and beliefs that incorporates both of your thoughts and feelings as much as you can. Commit to challenging your limitations and embracing your partner’s orientation to seek your own more flexible transformation.

  9. Check-in regularly with each other to keep working on this new collaboration as more challenges arise. Watch for slipping back into reactive biases, prejudices, or condemnations if they are growing stronger again. Repeatedly go over the steps again as often as you need to maintain your resolve.


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