Bring your life into balance

Empathy works. It always does.

Do the request dance

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What does this guy want from you? He tells you all this stuff about what he saw and heard, how he felt, and what he wants: belonging. Great. Now what?! He wants you to drag him along to all your friends and social events? He wants you to tell him what a great guy he is? He wants you to set him up for a blind date?

Ever felt lost when someone tells you their feelings and needs? Ever had a sense of ‘what do I have to do about that?’

Nonviolent Communication is a great help to empathize with requests, especially the ones that aren’t made. “Hey, are you asking if you can come for lunch with me and my friends?” (after maybe a silence, a moment of self-connection, and acceptance that that is actually what he was asking) “Yes, I would like that.”

Astaire-Hayworth-dancing, Image courtesy to WikipediaThis is the first step in the request dance. Now that you heard what he wants, you check in with yourself to see which needs would be met and unmet if you say ‘yes’ to this request. You realize that you wanted to work on a project with your friends during lunch. Having this guy come along might interfere with that. On the other hand, you get that he doesn’t want to eat alone. You wouldn’t like that either, if you were new to town. So, on the one hand you have needs for collaboration and forward movement, on the other hand, you have needs inclusion and support for his sense of belonging. So what might work for all the needs on the table?

If you can come up with that, you took the second step in the request dance. It is your ‘yes, and’-moment, the skill of building on each other’s ideas. “How about this: you come along with us for lunch, and let us work on this project for the first ten minutes, then we talk about whatever comes up?” “Sure, I might even be able to pitch in some ideas, I have been a project manager for seven years.” “Cool, let’s go.”

He might also have a ‘yes, and-moment’, building on your suggestion: “What about I make two phone calls, while you guys work on your project, then I join for the remainder of the lunch.” Third step. You can take as many steps as you want, till you feel satisfied with your result in the relationship.

Tedious? Maybe. Efficient and sustainable? Yes. 95% Guarantee that you’ll come up with solutions that address all the needs, increase a sense of understanding, and deepen your relationship.

You want help to take the first steps in the request dance? Contact me for a free, discovery session. I would be delighted to help, 512-589-0482.

Author: Elly van Laar

I am a coach. I specialize in helping mission-driven professionals bring their lives into balance. I have a Master's degree in Political Science, Leiden University, the Netherlands. I'm currently in an ICF-coaching certification program. I love meditation, walking, gardening, biking, and hanging out with family and friends.

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