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Complaints can be compliments in disguise.


Robin and Ralph had been married for some time. This evening Robin meets him at the door with, “Why didn't you call? Why didn't you let me know when you left to come home? You never keep me informed about what you are doing. You don't have a problem communicating with your buddies.”


Wow. What a conversation. It sounds like a plateful of complaints—didn't call, didn't let me know, never keep me informed. You can tell your buddies, but not me. These kinds of comments can feel legitimate because she feels anxious and left out. Not knowing can be anxiety-producing.


I have found something I call, “listening beneath the words.”



It is looking for the origin of the statement or question. Why didn't you call can be seen as I was worried about you. I wanted to know if you're OK. I wanted to hear your voice. I was missing you. I was afraid something was wrong.


You can hear these “compliments” beneath the original words if you stretch your thinking.

Conversely, the conversation can begin with, “Oh, there you are. I was worried about you. I was missing you. I wanted to hear your voice and know you're OK.” Following my thinking here, this is another way to stretch your thinking.


It is easy to feel angst and display anxiousness in conversation instead of being calm, focused, and intellectual. It takes slowing things down and being intentional about what is happening. To be more effective in communication, you must know your emotional state and act accordingly. Are you more emotional than intellectual?


What do you want to happen here and now? Do you want to attract or repel?


We sometimes allow our emotions to present the opposite when we want to attract.



I call it “blurting”, when I talk before I know how I want the conversation to end. Slowing down your thinking and need to speak and asking what you want or how you want this conversation to end can be extremely productive. This is being intentional about relationship building.


When you take a moment to reflect on what you want and how you need to show up to attain it, it can help you build relationships. Do you want to attract or repel people? It is your choice.


Watch for the blind spots.




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You can get a copy of my book below.

Blind Spots in Relationships

What I don't know I don't know about myself



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