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In March, we’ll be talking about the third way, which is simply finding the middle ground between “my way” and “your way.” That sounds reasonable…until you listen to people arguing on any cable news channel. In seconds, it’s easy to see how selecting the right words can be next to impossible!

So, let’s look at an article from Hey Sigmund which gives suggestions about how to move past those dreaded awkward moments. “You and Your Teen – The Words That Can Strengthen Your Influence and Connection” is directed at having conversations with teenagers, but the ideas work for frustrated grown-ups, too.

Observe how the phrases empower the listener as well as the speaker. The speaker gets to express their emotions and decide the way forward. Meanwhile, the listener provides empathy without rushing in to fix the situation.

The next time you need to turn sensitive, intense emotions into effective words, try:

Emotion Speaker Says Listener Replies
Anger “Something is blocking me.” “You seem angry that it hasn’t worked out the way you thought. I get that.”
Sadness “I’ve lost something important.” “I understand how much <it> meant to you. It’s ok for you to be upset.”
Jealousy “Someone has what I want.” (Love, praise, attention, status, etc.) “It can be hard when other people get something we’ve really been wanting.”
Anxiety “I’m nervous about…” (Fear, including the threat of humiliation, embarrassment or loss) “You seem worried that…”

Stay compassionate, Soul Bosses!