- Describe: Use simple, clear, and honest language to describe the situation, ask, or response.
- Express: There is no reason to exaggerate circumstances when asking or responding. Make the ask/response in as efficiently and authentic manner as possible.
- Assert: Respectfully share why this request is important to you without the use of aggressive or negative emotions. If you are the recipient of the request, respond with respect and clarity;
- Reinforce: Reinforce the importance or meaning of the request/response or reiterate your commitment to holding up your end of the bargain;
- Mindful: Stay present in the conversation. Leave past events, expectations, and desired outcomes out of your mind;
- Appear Confident: Prepare, never take something for granted, and even practice for the moment and possible reactions. Preparation builds confidence. Act based on your values, and not what you think the receiving party may want to hear;
- Negotiate: Selfishness is typically a loser in all conversations. Listen, accept, and offer when asking others for help. Always remember, life is about more than those things you want. Compromise is not showing weakness.
The Five Steps for Repairing a Regrettable Incident:
- Feelings: Focus on how you felt during and after the incident. Express these feelings with the other party but stay away for interpreting the meaning of what they said. Rather, ask them to define or explain the meaning behind their words;
- Realities & Validation: Again, only share what you saw, heard, or felt. Putting meaning or intent on what the other party did or said is you making stuff up, which is rarely accurate and does not help find a resolution. Prove that you are listening by validating what the other party said;
- Triggers: The feeling of being disrespected, lied to, injured, and others can trigger destructive reactions that lead to regrettable incidents. When cleaning up a recent argument or fight, express to the other party the words or story that triggered your negative response. Share why their words invoked anger or fear inside of you.
- Take Responsibility: Playing the victim role is harmful in any situation, but especially when recalling a regrettable incident with a significant other, family member, or friend. Identify why you acted inappropriately and take responsibility for not controlling your emotions at that moment. Own what you did and how it harmed them. Say, "I am sorry" and ask for forgiveness.
- Constructive Plans: State to the other party what you will do next time to promote a respectful conversation rather than something that turns into a regrettable event. Similarly, be vulnerable with your partner and share details around the why, how and what that produced this unwanted outcome. This will encourage discussion on how they can more effectively communicate with you.