So, I’ve said this a lot of times now. Don’t SAC your relationship. Don’t make Suggestions, offer Advice or Criticize. The reaction I get most often to this is, “What? So I can never tell my partner, mother, coworker (insert person who is annoying you here) anything I’d like done differently?”
Yes, you can definitely say things you’d like them to work on, but there are some guidelines you’ll need to follow if you want that person to actually listen and (gasp!) maybe even make the changes you’re asking for.
Let me first ask you to keep any suggestions to a minimum. As a matter of fact, unless it’s a really big deal, I would say to let it go. Your man is leaving dirty socks on the floor? Let it go or hire a cleaning person. Your father is chewing with his mouth open when he eats? Look the other way or make him soup when he comes to your house for dinner.
However, if you want a healthy outcome, stick to these parameters:
- First things first. The focus should not be on changing the other person. Instead, you want the focus on being loving and kind while improving your communication.
- Set an Intention to be kind first. Before you sit down to give any feedback, make sure you’re doing it for the right reasons. What’s your end goal here? How do you want the other person to feel at the end of this conversation?
- Be very careful of your timing. You can almost never give feedback in the moment. Everyone is too reactive, defensive, or angry when something has “just happened.” Often, just waiting until the timing is better will get you dramatically better results.
- Be in the “here and now” and self-aware when you have your talk.
- Make sure that you both agree on definitions and meanings regarding what you’re talking about.
- Don’t say “never” or “always” when speaking to another person.
- No lecturing (this doesn’t work with your kids either). Remember loving acceptance (even when you want to rip someone a new one).
- It’s a Dialogue, not a lecture. Ask permission first and ask questions a lot!