May 22, 2023RelationshipsCommunication

5: Observe Without Judging

Observation is the first component of nonviolent communication.

"We need to clearly observe what we are seeing, hearing, or touching that is affecting our sense of well-being, without mixing in any evaluation." — Dr. Marshall B. Rosenberg, Nonviolent Communication

Because when we add a layer of judgment or evaluation to the observation, the receiver of the message will most likely hear criticism and react with defensiveness.

Here's an example of mixing observation with evaluation:

"Janice works too much."

Here's how to reframe it into objective observation:

"Janice spent more than sixty hours at the office this week."

This subtle difference may not seem important but when applying this technique to real-life conversations with the people we love, it may help us hold back our judgment of their actions and decrease their defensiveness—resulting in a calm and fruitful discussion.

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