May 21, 2023RelationshipsCommunication

4: Learning About Nonviolent Communication

Too defensive during heated and uncomfortable conversations?

Me too. So I'm thankful to have stumbled upon the book Nonviolent Communication by Dr. Marshall B. Rosenberg.

Also known as compassionate communication, nonviolent communication (NVC) is a process of communicating with respect, empathy, clarity, and compassion instead of expressing and receiving messages with resistance, defensiveness, and violent reactions.

So far, I've only read the first three chapters, but I can tell that this book will change the way I communicate and transform my relationships!

In a nutshell, the nonviolent or compassionate communication has four key elements:

1. Observation. We objectively observe and state what is happening in the situation—what others are specifically doing or saying that we like or don't like, adding information such as time and context—instead of coming up with black-and-white evaluations.

2. Feeling. We share how we feel about the observation.

3. Need. We communicate our needs—specifically the ones connected to the feelings we have identified and shared.

4. Request. We kindly and gently open up about the concrete actions the other person (or both parties) can take to better the situation.

Here it is in practice (this example is from the book):

"Felix, when I see two balls of soiled socks under the coffee table and another three next to the TV (observation), I feel irritated (feeling) because I am needing more order in the rooms we share in common (need). Would you be willing to put your socks in your room or in the washing machine? (request)"

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