Finished reading The Lost Art of Listening last night. One paragraph that jumps out at me right now:
“One reason others argue with us in a way that seems to negate our feelings is that we blur the distinction between our feelings and the facts. [We] try to cloud motives and bolster argument by appealing to shoulds. when argue with what [we] say instead of what [we] mean, [we] feel rejected.”
I do this. My wife does this. And I can totally see it. Which is tremendously ironic, because I used to tell her all the time:
“If you really want something or want me to do something, please just tell me that you want it. Because if I know that you want it, I’ll do it!”
But of course then I would continue to do the appeal to authority thing anyway, and so would she:
“I think we ought to X because of research says Y and Z and also because of cost factor A.”
“Everybody knows that when you do Q, it’s embarrassing and juvenile.”
And the obvious responses?
“Sources Y and Z are faulty, and cost factor A is irrelevant.”
“Everybody? Here are ten exceptions from my own circle of friends who disagree with that position.”
It’s like devaluing yourself, begging someone not to pay attention to you. Eyes glaze over. Why do we do this? It’s like some deep-seated inadequacy. They can’t possibly care about me enough to do something just because I want it. (Or maybe, it’s an accumulation of old slights? Interesting thought.) So I’ll frame it in objective reasoning terms instead.
When in fact, it’s much more persuasive if your significant other just tells you they really, really want something because, well… want!
You love this person. Want? I’ll get! I’ll do!
And yet the book is absolutely right. People—certainly us—do this “appeal to objectivity” and “appeal to authority” thing instead that totally leaves you cold, and that also leaves a big opening for debate about facts.
Gotta wake up and smell the coffee and just ask for what you want from the people that are most interested in giving you what you want.