How to truly connect with your partner

June 22, 2010 4:31:30 PM PDT
Tips on how to communicate with your partner in a way that connects you.

Change this by learning the following:
By Nikki Anderson

Question: Why do we keep 'missing' each other?
You're communicating from different places.
Examples:

  • You get frustrated when you ask your partner how their day was and you get a one-word response. You're expecting the details WITH the outcomes, not just the outcome, like you often get with your girlfriends. You feel hurt because he's not 'sharing' with you and his experience is that he did share with you (he told you it was a 'good day').

  • You are coming from a place of 'thinking', wanting substantial information and your partner is coming from a place of 'knowing' that the end result was "good" and he sees no need to go into details.

  • You get frustrated when you ask your partner how his golf game was and he gives you every last detail of the day including how he felt about every shot. You're looking for a one-word response (i.e. it was a 'good game') - the bottom line. In this case, he is coming from a place of wanting to share the experience with you.

  • You're not interested in the experience or how every last aspect of the day went, you just want to know that he had a good time. Because he's gone on so long you've started doing dishes while 'appearing' to listen to him.

  • You feel annoyed because he's going on and he feels hurt because you appear to have 'moved on' not caring that he's expressing his feelings to you. You are coming from a 'bottom-line' - knowing place and he's coming from a place of 'feeling' - sharing an experience with you.
3 tips on how to communicate with your partner in a way that 'connects' you?
  1. Learn to speak your partner's language
    Example:

    If your partner is more succinct in the way they talk and they make decisions quickly, give them the bottom line when relaying information to them. They are most interested in the 'outcome'. (i.e the day was "good" or I have 3 things I want to tell you x, y, z) They will ask for details when there are gaps and they need information to understand what you're saying or to make a decision.

    If your partner is more thoughtful in how they make decisions - they research all the possibilities before making a purchase or planning a trip, then understand that they will take longer to process information and cannot be rushed AND they will like to get all the details when you are relaying information to them.

    They will also most likely listen for longer before asking questions. They tend to study things longer before taking action. Not because they are dumb or slow, because they are in a thinking process of calculating all the information.

  2. When you don't know, ask
    Example:

    Over time, we stop asking one another questions on what we like or don't like, and we start assuming because we think we 'know' the other person. Communication is a gift - we are exchanging something with one another that will either be received or it won't. Ask your partner how they want your communication.

    Would they prefer that you give them the bottom line, the facts and logistics or your feelings about the situation? They may respond one way at one time and another at a different time.

    As an example, they may not have the capacity to hear your feelings RIGHT THEN and would prefer that you give them the bottom line - the outcome or the main points.

    However, later, when they have MORE capacity and be open/ready for you to share your feelings about the situation (this will allow you to feel heard and them to not feel bombarded by words and feelings that they can't absorb right then).

  3. Tell your partner what you need AND ask for a good time
    Example:

    You want to discuss the budget (a thinking activity). Let him know you want to talk about this AND ask when a good time to do this would be (this allows him time to get on the same page as you and mentally 'prepare' - get into his 'thinking'). This will also make him feel respected.
About Nikki Anderson:

Nikki Anderson is a Senior Partner with Think Feel Know, USA, a global coaching organization. She has been coaching for the past decade with a focus on empowering women through one-on-one coaching, group facilitation and speaking.

She is also experienced in coaching multi-level teams within medium to large sized businesses that are ready to grow to the next level. Her work aims to elicit connection, unity and clarity, resulting in forward action and bottom-line results.

Nikki received a Bachelor of Science from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo in Nutrition and Psychology and a Masters in Psychology from the California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS).

She served two years on the board of SF Coaches as the Program Director, is a member of The Professional Coaches and Mentors Association (PCMA), The International Coaching Federation (ICF), and has been certified from The Coaches Training Institute (CTI).

Nikki was also a founding partner of Optimum Health, a preventative health care facility inside the San Francisco Bay Club, where she coached and spoke to their corporate clients on topics pertaining to wellness, work/life balance and strategic life planning.

For more information about Nikki, visit www.coachnikki.com

To read Nikki's blog, go to www.coachnikkisblog.blogspot.com

To learn more about Think Feel Know, visit www.thinkfeelknow.com. Nikki will be leading a 90-minute FREE introductory seminar.


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