So what I really meant was…
“Would you explain that again? I’d like to understand what you mean.”
The way you treat another person has tremendous impact on the type of relationship you are creating and on who you are as a person. If you repeatedly treat the other with condescension or dismissiveness, you are creating an unequal and unhappy relationship. When you focus on the weaknesses of others, you are actually demeaning yourself, despite your feelings of superiority.
If you repeatedly talk to the other person in ways that show that you think he or she is competent and capable, and can influence you, you are creating the foundation of equality and respect that can sustain a happy relationship. When you are patient enough to find out what someone really means, conversation becomes much more meaningful and productive.
We can bring out the best in others, ourselves, and our relationships by expressing empathy, curiosity, and magnanimity.
by Alison Poulsen, PhD