When you address something with someone in a less critical way by using a soft approach and do not place blame on the other person, that person is less likely to respond defensively.  When people feel attacked or blamed, they are most likely going to attack back or feel the need to defend themselves.

“94% of the time, the way a discussion starts determines the way it will end.”  – Dr. John Gottman

How does it work… a soft start-up?

  1. Use “I” statements. Starting statements with “I” feel less like a criticism (e.g. I feel hurt right now because of the decision made).

  2. Utilize the conversation to complain and share about your feelings, but do not blame the other person. No matter how wrong the other person is, approaching any conversation with criticism or blame is not productive.

  3. Describe what you feel and experience clearly and concisely, which can help your partner to understand your point of view.

  4. Be positive and polite. Adding in polite statements (e.g. I appreciate you really listening to me) can help in maintaining a positive connection between partners. Remember the rule of thumb, backed up by research, states having 5:1 positive to negative ratio is helpful in keeping a positive attitude during tough discussions.

  5. Address things as they come… don’t wait months and months to bring things up! If things are stored up over time, it can be overwhelming for both partners to address issues in an argument and increases the likelihood of escalation.

Soft start-ups and emotional safety are key components of a long-lasting relationship.  If you and your partner are feeling disconnected, please give me a call and I would love to help you rebuild the relationship you want and deserve!