You know when your partner is trying to communicate something with you and they get frustrated because they don’t feel like you’re listening to what they’re saying are that you’re unwilling to budge from your way of doing things?
Maybe they’ve even said something like, “You never hear what I’m saying!” or “It doesn’t even matter, you’re just going to do what you want anyway!”
What’s going to happen if your partner continues to feel this way? They may begin to feel like you aren’t someone they can turn to with their problems – they will simply stop sharing. You’ll miss out on really knowing your partner. This will hinder you from knowing both the major, important things, but also the smaller things that help to maintain the friendship in the relationship. As a result, the level of closeness between you over time will begin to diminish.
Here are two simple things you can do to show them you’re willing accept some influence from them. First, listen to repeat instead of listen to respond. And, second, give an example of how and where you can immediately implement what they are communicating.
By listening to repeat you become better tuned in to what your partner is saying rather than focused on your response. So often we can begin formulating a rebuttal or defense as to why what they are saying doesn’t matter or won’t work. By repeating it back to them, you communicate that your heart is open as they share and that it’s important to you that they know what they said – and meant – is what you took in. This can sound something like, “So what I hear you saying is ____, is that right?”
Additionally, forming an immediate plan for what you intend to do with their information has a way of communicating that you are willing to put it in play. Sharing your plan and asking what they think of it will help your partner know that you are capable of shifting your position and that they can trust you to move on things that are important to them.
The amazing thing about accepting influence from your partner is that the more you accept influence, the more you have. You build trust by being willing to shift your position and when, in turn, you have something to share, your partner will be more open to taking it in.
What are some of the biggest challenges you personally face as you try to accept influence from your partner? Share in the comments!