Stop Being So Defensive

Have you ever been in a conversation with a co-worker, friend or family member about a sensitive issue and the next thing you know you were in a power struggle or your feelings were taking such a hit that you just shut down completely?

Maybe in answer to another persons unfavorable judgment, you find yourself justifying your behavior, blaming the someone else or avoiding him or her all at once? It sounds like defensiveness is at play. More than likely it is.

So, how do you give up being so defensive? A good start is by practicing powerful, effective communication.

Curious Questions

One choice is to ask funny, guiltless, and neutral doubts to realize precisely what the other individual has in mind, believes, or feels.

For instance, if somebody acts upset, plainly ask him/her straightaway about your assumption so he/she can confirm, deny, or characterize. Example: “Are you angry (worried, frustrated, annoyed) about something?”

Try to avoid questions that begins with “why” as they incline to put other people on the defense. Example: “Why are you so confused?” makes an assumption (which may or may not be accurate) and will probably make the other person feel like they have done something wrong.

Or else, try “I get the sense that you may be upset. Am I feeling this accurately?”

Nothing is to a Higher Degree Than Feelings

A different way to approach a sensible conversation is to make statements that start with:

“I feel”. If you’re simply expressing what you really feel and you use a neutral tone, the other person can not say you are wrong. Your beliefs are your feelings and clearly expressing them will help to avoid a power battle from the get-go. For instance, rather than saying to your mate “You’re all of the time late”, try “I feel defeated when we don’t get to eat dinner together.”

But away!

A third way to nip defensiveness in the bud is to use “and at the same time” rather than “but”. Frequently when you use the word “but”, it belies everything you said before the “but”.

For instance, rather than “I understand you had to work late but I made dinner” try, “I understand that you had to work late and at the same time I made dinner”.

Notice how it converts the whole tone of the message? Again, it does not blame of the other person. Instead, it simply expresses the truths.

Next time you find yourself in a possibly defensive situation, experiment these instruments.

They might help you avoid unneeded conflict, gain respect and tone up personal and professional relationships.

You may also like...