Making guesses for the other person

When we’re in conflict with someone, we tend to see them as either more powerful than us (so we feel helpless) or less than us (because they’re bad, because they hurt us). We don’t see them as “the same as”. And that makes it almost impossible to find solutions that work for all … or indeed, solutions that work!

By making needs and feelings guesses for the other person in the situation, we humanize them by putting ourselves in their shoes, and noticing that they have needs, just like us.

In my experience, we’re often resistant to move to this step, especially if we’re angry at the other person – “Why should I care?!” The thing is, YOU will feel a whole heap better once you’ve made that person “right size” again in your mind.

Give it a go – you might be pleasantly surprised.

It doesn’t even matter if we guess right or not. If we express our guesses to the other person, they can immediately see that we’ve spent some time considering them, and that breaks down walls and puts us into connection, where we’re on the same side of the issue, not fighting against each other.

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