Reduce their defensiveness

People get really defensive. I think it is because our current culture has become so critical and judgmental. People do not hear what you are saying when they get defensive.

Yet, it is essential to give people feedback as to how their behavior affects you. I believe defensiveness is the number one barrier when giving someone feedback.

When you think about it, when you are giving someone feedback, you are actually making a request for them to change something in themselves so the two of you can interact more effectively. You are asking a lot. If you make the request about you, they are likely to be less defensive.

There is a communication technique that encourages the use of I statements (instead of you demands) when communicating what you need from someone. For instance, "I would like it you would listen to me for a minute before turning the TV on," creates much less defensiveness then, "You always turn the TV on right when you get home." Note that adding always tends to add more defensiveness.

After all, whose need is it? They believe their existing way of doing things is working well for them. It is us who needs them to change something. So why not make it about you?

To create even less defensiveness than the I statement technique, add in asking it like a favor. Then throw in how it would benefit you and your interaction/relationship for good measure: "It would help me out if

you could listen to me for a while when you got off work- rather then turning the TV on right away. It would mean a lot to me and help me feel closer to you."

You let them feel like they are helping you out. You let them save face. There is nothing for them to get defensive about.

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