Listening to your partner, whether it’s during a Stress-Reducing Conversation or any time, is a great opportunity to practice attunement, empathy, and understanding.
The key is to keep yourself from making assumptions. Maintain curiosity.
Let’s say, for example, that your partner says, “I saw the most annoying thing on Facebook today.”
You could make an assumption and interrupt them with, “Oh, did your aunt post another Minions meme? You should unfollow her.”
Or you could get curious:
You: “What was it?”
Your partner: “It was a compilation of gender reveal videos.”You: “Oh! What was annoying about that to you?”
Your partner:“They were all for the same baby.”
You: “Wow! I could see how that would be annoying. So you saw this video and you felt agitated because multiple gender reveals feels indulgent? Is that right?”
Your partner: “Not quite. I just think you don’t get to call it a ‘reveal’ after the first one. And they were acting surprised every time.”
You: “Ah, so it was performative and that was annoying?”
Your partner: “Yes, and they were all really elaborate.”
You: “Do you think it was a waste of money?”
Your partner: “Yeah! So maybe that’s why it annoyed me, too.”
Get curious. Dig deeper. Confirm your perceptions with your partner.
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