Date: November 25, 2014 Author: Len Corcoran

“Love is neither servile nor arrogant. It does not provoke schisms or form cliques, but always acts in harmony with others.”
-St. Clement I, in his letter to the Corinthians
If you have a problem with another person, use this pattern:
Objectively state the behavior, how you feel about it, and why you feel that way – your perception. As an example, let’s say that the other person is late for a meeting with you. You might say: “When we agree to meet at a certain time, and you arrive late, I’m upset because I feel you don’t value the relationship as much as I do. There are then three possible outcomes:
1) The other person complies with an apology,
2) Has a reasonable explanation and you initiate a collaboration with options, or
3) You state the consequences of that behavior in the future.
In any of the three confirm what was said – or report on their emotion if they get angry. Note that your have made the issue one that is about you. Examples of the three outcomes might be:
a. Compliance: “So, you’re saying (confirm) that you will make every effort to be on time in the future? I appreciate it.” Actually, in my experience, this is the outcome about 80% of the time.
b. Collaboration: “So you’re saying that at this time of day, the traffic is uncertain? I can understand that. What options can you think of that would help both of us feel good about meeting?” Brainstorm as many options as you both can think of. Then both of you put the options in priority order and select the one that can resolve the issue.
c. Consequences: “So you’re saying that I should be more flexible? I don’t see that as an option and if we cannot reach a more agreeable option, it will affect our relationship.” If they show anger over you bringing it up, use reflective listening – “I see you’re upset and I can appreciate that. What is it about my statement that bothers you?”