How to have a discussion without fighting.

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Broaching a difficult topic can lead to all sorts of misunderstandings.

Key ideas

  • A discussion usually turns into an argument when we don’t express ourselves accurately or when we make assumptions about the other person’s motives.
  • When we take responsibility for our behaviour and verbalise our emotions honestly and without blame, issues can be resolved fairly and constructively.

7 things to consider before opening your mouth.

  1. What is my version of the problem? What is my partner’s version?
  2. What are my intentions? What impact could they have on my partner? How will they affect my partner?
  3. What do I know of my partnersĀ intentions? Has my partner actually expressed them, or have I just assumed them?
  4. In what way have I contributed to the problem? How has my partner contributed to it?
  5. What are my feelings? Is my partner responsible for them? Are they clouding my judgement?
  6. How is my pride affected by this conflict? What truth is there in the criticism that has been directed at me?
  7. What fair solutions can we envisage?

Focusing on your partner’s perceived intentions instead of your real emotions can lead to misunderstandings.

Mr Brain & Ms Brain

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Mr Brain & Ms Brain

Research has found how the two are so completely different and how we can miss each other. Why does he listen with only one ear? How come she can’t read a road map? It’s all to do with the way our grey matter is structured.

She never stops talking. Even though men sometimes find it hard to believe, a woman can speak and listen at the same time. When a woman talks, an MRI scanner reveals that two very specific regions of her brain – in the left frontal hemisphere and in the right frontal hemisphere – are working together. The reason: female oestrogen permanently stimulates the links between the two brain hemispheres and encourages the nerve cells to build connections. Women therefore have 30 percent more neural connections dedicated to language.

Since the left hemisphere of the girl develops faster, she will speak earlier and better than her brother and she’ll learn foreign languages more easily.

In the male, the speech zone is spread across the left hemisphere and does not seem tied to a specific region. That could explain why men rely less on verbal communication, and equally why the core clientele of speech therapists, who treat problems linked to language, consist mainly of little boys.

He only listens with one ear.It’s true when a man is watching television, he simply doesn’t hear what you’re saying. There’s a definite physiological reason for this: the part of his brain that enables the two hemispheres to communicate is thinner than that of a woman. With his “compartmentalised” brain, a man can’t accomplish more than one task at a time. For example, in a meeting, even when he is concentrating, a man uses his right ear, which is linked to his “left brain,” the one responsible for the recognition of words.

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