Tag Archives: discussion

“Oh you’re just going to walk away like you always do!”

"Genius Unleashed" -- Robin Williams by Mimi Stuart © Live the Life you Desire

“Genius Unleashed” — Robin Williams by Mimi Stuart ©
Live the Life you Desire

So… what I really meant was…

“I see your point. Please don’t withdraw. Should we take a break?”


“I don’t want you to feel attacked. When I feel passionate about something, I might sound angry. But I’m not angry at you.”


“My reaction was too extreme. Sorry. Let me start again and stay cool and collected.”


As Robin Williams said, “I’m sorry. If you were right, I’d agree with you.”

People who withdraw suddenly often do so because they feel attacked and overwhelmed. They leave because they can’t handle any more what they feel as an assault. If you persist in passionately clarifying your position, that will probably be perceived by them as too much.

In order to have an effective discussion, it’s important to back off until both people can calm down. Nothing can be achieved when someone is on the defensive. There must be some compassion and openness to have a fruitful conversation.

One of the best ways to keep the spirit of humanity and compassion in a discussion is to keep a sense of perspective about your frustrations and your life. Keeping things in perspective allows us to laugh at ourselves while also having compassion for ourselves and others.

by Alison Poulsen, PhD

Read “I become emotionally volatile when I get close to someone. How can I develop a stronger sense of self?”

Read “My parent was controlling.” How we develop Defense Mechanisms (Part I)

Disagreement: “You’re wrong!”

"Why not?" — Einstein by Mimi Stuart© Live the Life you Desire

“Why not?” — Einstein by Mimi Stuart©
Live the Life you Desire

The Benefit of Debate

I was in the car with an attorney friend who was discussing with his previous law partner a legal case. After a passionate disagreement about the best approach to take in the case, he surprised me by ending the conversation with “I love you Buddy.”

When I asked him about this apparent contradiction, he said, “I love working with this guy! We think differently, yet we can be totally straight forward about disagreeing with each other. We complement each other perfectly. ”

It struck me that this rare quality—the ability to openly disagree without bitterness and resentment—is one of the key ingredients to any outstanding partnership, whether romantic or professional. When two people can be candid with each other without becoming defensive or ready to capitulate or dig in, they can have productive, creative, and lively discussions about daily challenges and opportunities. Moreover, it will make their relationship interesting and animated.

Productive Disagreements

To discuss differences productively, we should focus on having the following two motivations:

1.  to figure out and consider the merits of what the other person believes and wants, and

2.  to express ourselves in a way that the other person will listen to us without becoming defensive.

To communicate effectively and avoid bitter arguments, we can try the following:

1. Listen carefully and really try to understand what the other person thinks and feels. Put ourselves in his or her shoes.

2. Let the other person finish his or her thoughts before interrupting with another point of view.

3. Use body language and tone of voice that won’t trigger the other person when expressing ourselves.

4. Be ready to simply accept our differences. There is no need to have total agreement all the time. Sometimes finesse, patience, and multiple discussions are necessary to find a win-win solution.

Relationships improve when people can discuss their true opinions both passionately and compassionately. When you are motivated to enhance your relationship by respecting the other person, communication becomes passionate, effective and rewarding.

by Alison Poulsen, PhD

Read  “To fight or not to fight:  ‘After a fight, we barely talk to each other for days.’”

Read  “Resentment.”