This is the fourth of a series of posts based on my review of the book, Difficult Conversations (By Stone, Patton and Heen, Penguin Books, 2000). I highly recommend this book.
The “Feelings Conversation”
1. All difficult conversations, at their heart, are about underlying feelings. In the colonial house vs the ranch house argument (listed in the first post of this series), the wife might feel that the family needs a fourth bedroom for the future, but the husband might feel like it’s too much a strain on their budget. Unless the two talk about their feelings (even where they might come from…she always lived in an overcrowded home and he in a family with never enough money), they’ll never settle on a compromise, where both are happy.
2. Feelings are as much a part of life as anything else…even more so. Thus, in difficult conversations, the authors suggest: “Have your feelings, or they will have you.” So, when someone does something (whether intended or not) that hurts your feeling, you need to let them know how you feel. For example: "When you say I'm not practical, I feel hurt, insulted, and discounted."
Eventually, it’s ALL about the feelings and almost never just about the facts.