EasyDoesItParkingSign

The K.I.S.S in the title refers to Keep It Simple Stupid! 

When you are given too many instructions at the same time it can be confusing.  I stood in front of that parking sign for 10 minutes and still did not know what to do.

The same is true for communication skills instruction designed to help guide you to more respectful, honest and effective ways to engage conflict with your partner.  The more emotional the conflict the more the need for simple ‘Easy Does It’ guidelines showing you almost exactly what to say when you are upset or responding to someone who is upset with you.

The first rule of my K.I.S.S. is that you can’t have a productive talk with a ‘walking lit stick of dynamite.’  That means that when adrenaline is running high and one partner is very scared, irritable, withdrawn or hostile there must be a cooling off period varying from 15 minutes to an hour.

Use Time Out when either party is unable to listen.

This is known as a Time Out.  It’s an agreement that both parties have previously made that states that anyone can call a temporary halt to a dialogue, as long as they come back to it within an hour.  The actual agreement is the first one listed in this downloadable 2 page summary of agreements HERE.

The second rule is that if it is the partner who is angry and you it is really important to not defend yourself immediately.  Later, you’ll have a chance to say what you want your partner to understand, but first you must do three things

  • Own what is true about your behavior that is upsetting your partner.  e.g. “Yes, I’m late.”
  • Acknowledge what your partner is thinking or feeling. e.g. “It makes sense you’re upset.”
  • Apologize if it’s appropriate and say what you’re going to do about it.  “I’m sorry, I’ll be more mindful of that in the future.”

Do these three things BEFORE you explain or defend yourself.  Having done so, you are earned your right to be listened to fully.   Click_For_What_To_Do.mp4 then come back to this page.

Let me review the simplicity of how to respond to an angry partner.

  1. If you or your partner is too hostile or withdrawn then take a Time Out for less than an hour.
  2. If you’re partner is angry at you then help him or her feel that you’re taking them seriously and not simply arguing.
  3. You do this by Owning what you did, how it affected the other and said what you’ll do about that.

That’s plenty to digest for now.  I will explain the Easy Does It K.I.S.S guidelines for expressing yourself in a separate post.  I’ll leave you with my new signature mantra below which helps me a lot.

I have acceptance & compassion for self & others as is, in this moment.

 

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