Be Right, or Be in Right Relationship?

What happens when someone says you are wrong or bad? Does it bring a greater sense of connection or disconnection to the relationship? 

Calling a person wrong or bad typically shuts down dialogue and strains relationships. Being in right relationship means opening the conversation to respectfully share and understand each person’s experience.

How might you approach a conversation when you feel strongly?

1) Figure out what you are feeling. Thoughts of rightness and wrongfully are usually accompanied by feelings of anger, frustration, or hurt. Be compassionate with yourself to determine what you are feeling and allow yourself time to process that feeling. 

2) Notice what you need. Feelings tell us whether our needs are met or unmet. Think about your underlying need. Be curious with yourself about what you really need.  

3) Consider ways to meet the need. Usually, many, many ways exist to meet a need. Think of at least three ways to meet the underlying need. Be clear with yourself about which help you now and for the long-term.  

Now, you are ready to communicate with clarity and compassion. Instead of calling someone a name or saying they are bad, simply speak in the way the late mediator Marshall Rosenberg taught… 

  1. I feel…. 
  2. I need… 
  3. Will you please…?

The person may respond “no” to your request, and you will then determine how to best meet your underlying need and whether to continue with the conversation.  

Using non-violent communication (NVC) allows you to stay in right relationship with yourself and the other person. Being stuck on figuring out who is right and wrong generally leads to disconnection. 

Would you rather be right, or in right relationship? 

To learn more about NVC and other important conflict resolution and communication skills, sign up for an on-line class or send a message to arrange conflict resolution skills training to meet the needs of your business, group, or organization.  

A civil and family mediator, peace builder, and educator, Sherry Ann Bruckner lives in Alexandria, Minnesota. Visit brucknermediation.com/services to learn more or call Sherry at (320) 808-3212 for help to transform conflict and create peace.

As always, be gentle with you. Be gentle with all. Be the peace.