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What if it's more than just saying no to something, though?
What if you really need your parents to be there for you but they can't? Others just can't be available in the ways their kids need and deserve. If you can't talk to your parent, seek out other adults you can trust.
If you start talking -- and he or she isn't listening -- then ask, "Is there a better time to talk? Try to limit your comments to relatively clear and short sentences. " That helps you focus on the essentials and gives your listener a reasonable time-frame.
" And, if you are the listener, play fair -- give your partner a reasonable alternative. Many times you start talking and you just get carried away. Sometimes as a speaker you will go on and on, without pausing.
Your partner is losing interest, drifting off, his third eyeball is rolling into his cortex. Perhaps you think that you need to stay on your topic so that everything is heard -- or you fear that your partner will jump in and take the floor and you won't ever get a chance to speak again.
Slow it down, edit it down, and stop and ask for feedback. If you feel your partner hasn't really heard what you are saying, then try asking, "Can you rephrase what I said?
It was interesting to me that a lot of the men who responded did express the very beliefs that I was targeting -- views that women are "too emotional," they just go on and on forever, they can't think rationally, and that they are largely a burden. The guidelines for being a good listener are not just for men.
These misogynist beliefs must make it difficult to have an equal and meaningful relationship with mutual respect -- but, hopefully, some readers will think about things differently. These guidelines for listening and communication apply to both men and women, straight and gay, and for friendships as well.
The article was a follow-up to an earlier posting on "What Not to Say to a Loved One Who is Upset." In the earlier article I suggested some simple guidelines for being supportive -- like not jumping in with problem-solving too quickly, not demanding rationality , validating and respecting feelings, exploring a range of feelings and giving time for your partner to express himself or herself.
You probably talk to friends way more than you talk to your parents. Even if you and your parents have a great relationship, you want to find your own path and make your own choices. Chatting with parents every day not only keeps an existing relationship strong, it also can help a frayed relationship get stronger.
Still, most of us want a parent's help, advice, and support at times. Talking to the adults in your life about everyday stuff builds a bond that can smooth the way for when you need to discuss something more serious. When parents feel connected to your daily life, they can be there for you if something really important comes up.
Having made these observations, though, it's also important that when you are communicating to your partner -- and you want him or her to listen -- and respect you, then you should consider how you say what you say. But your partner might be wrapped up in something else at the moment -- the game, fixing dinner, trying to go to sleep, working on something, or just not in the right mood right now. Think about what is essential and try to focus on that.
Use your experience to tell you what is definitely not the right time -- for example, "big process discussions" are seldom helpful right before bed -- or the minute your partner walks in the door. One way of editing it down is to agree with your partner that there might be a reasonable period to spend on the topic -- for example, "Can we spend about 10 minutes talking about this?
Others will not and will continue to defend their position with sarcasm, name calling and high-fiving each other. Good communication and good listening are also part of negotiating in business, as well.