I Managed to Avoid a Potential Disaster With my Sister (and how you can do the same)

Sep 24, 2019

 

Photo by Gareth Harrison on Unsplash

One thing that has been shaking up my world lately is that my sister, who lives in New Zealand, is visiting Toronto for the next 6 weeks. And here is the kicker: she is living with me for that time.

Wait, what?

That's right - I have a new roommate for 6 weeks that, in all honesty, I probably wouldn't have chosen as my top pick for a roommate.

And the transition with her here hasn't been the easiest for me. In the past, we used to fight and argue quite a bit. And now that we're living under one roof together, it's easy for old habit patterns to re-emerge.

Except for one thing: I am now committed to living a fight-free life.

Since her return, there have been multiple - yes, multiple - occasions where I have been on the receiving end of blame, judgments, and criticism. These kinds of remarks, especially coming from my sister, have always been triggers for me in the past.

But not this time.

This time I have managed to keep several fights at bay by practicing what I preach.

As a result, we've maintained a relatively peaceful household and we still get to have discussions around heated topics where everyone feels heard and understood.

It seems too good to be true, right?

There are a lot of tips and tricks that I used to weather these potential storms and I want to share 1 with you today: paraphrasing.

Paraphrasing is a type of reflective statement that demonstrates to the speaker that you've heard their message. Reflective statements are one of the single most powerful communication tools to living a fight-free life.

All that is required is that you:
1) Repeat back what you heard them say in your own words (try to avoid parroting them - that can be quite annoying)
2) Ask them if you got their communication correct
3) Try again if you didn't fully get their communication
4) Repeat #2 and #3 until everything is crystal clear

This is one of the first skills I have my clients work on. In fact, we will work together to set up a structure so that this communication tool eventually becomes a habit - it becomes completely automatic for them to paraphrase what they hear others say. And that's crucial because this is a must-have skill if you are going to be a masterful communicator and have fight-free relationships all over your life.

Try it out! Give this a go today (or even over the next several days) and see how your conversations go.

And please share with me - what was your experience like paraphrasing others? Was it easy for you? Or was it weird? How do you think it landed with them? Did you have the same old conversation or did something completely new and unexpected happen?

Comment below and let me know! I'd love to hear from you :)

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