If you don’t like the weather in New England, just wait a minute. –Mark Twain
When your relationship is less than wonderful, and you have run through your usual repertoire, here’s the plan: 1. Don’t react; Act. 2) Listen actively. 3) Do something surprising. 4. Change the context. It works with 3-month-olds, and it works with adults. Here’s my son Peter showing us how it’s done.
Actually, don’t wait till you’ve tried everything. Do it right up front, like this:
- Don’t react.
- Say “Yes” to what’s coming at you.
- Listen, accept, and reflect back what you hear.
- Ask “is that right?” and “Is there anything else.?”
- Say something surprising. Something New. Something you have never even thought of before
- Change the context.
It’s the fool-proof plan for all relationship problems, because it creates the conditions in which things can change–starting with yourself. And, as Peter shows, it can turn a conflict into fun.
Update: Allan Stern just sent me this story. Imagine a culture where people don’t get angry.