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For Peace, Keep Your Mouth Shut?

For Peace, Keep Your Mouth Shutby Scott Swain

For Peace, Keep Your Mouth Shut? 

I see wisdom and a problem with the message of this meme: "A wise man once said... nothing. He let her vent and then they had sex afterwards". 

If the idea is for the man to really deeply listen with empathy instead of defensiveness or advice, then yay I'm totally behind this as great advice.

However, if the idea is to stay silent  in order to keep the peace, by burying our disagreement, I see this as a recipe for disaster.

This idea of staying silent might play into the assumption that there is no way to empathetically express disagreement. This is dangerous because it leads to a building of resentment that will eventually come out as anger.

How do we express our disagreement in a way that doesn't create conflict? Marshall Rosenberg's "Non-Violent Communication" (NVC) has a model I've been practicing for ten years. It's concrete and it works. You can see comedy examples of people fighting and using NVC here: 

Here's a quickie example of NVC in action: 
"You sonofabitch! I saw you looking at that waitress' bootay!"

Defensive / "Cave in" response: "You are right. I'm so sorry. I'll never look at another woman again!"

NVC response: "Are you pissed off because you want more consideration and respect?"

This response might get a "yes" or a correction that helps us understand her better:

"You are right that I'm pissed off. And yes some consideration and respect but more like I want you to appreciate me more."

See what genuine empathy (of the variety that is combined with curiosity) can dig up?

I'd love to hear your thoughts!

#empathy #cavingin #relationships #honesty #resentment #emotionalintelligence #communication #conflict #conflictresolution #conflictmanagement #nvc #nonviolentcommunication

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