This blog from the TheRelationshipProtocol.com offers some suggestions for changing the direction of an interaction. See “Notes for Professionals” at the end.
Do you know that relationships are similar to the gears on a clock that all work together? Each mechanism is connected in some way. When one gear moves, the others move. If one gear slows down, the rest of the gears slow down. Likewise, people in close relationships affect each other in both positive and negative ways.
For example, if you change your behavior by deciding to be kind and not engage in arguing, you can immediately change the energy between you and the other person. He or she is forced to respond differently to you because you are not repeating your expected response.
It may sound cliché, but it does take two people to continue an argument. If you choose NOT to engage or if you respond in a more positive manner, you have successfully changed the course of that one interaction. Each interaction is then built on the next. This is how one person effects change in all of their relationships.
The “Gears of a Clock” diagram below illustrates how close relationships are interconnected and affected by each other. This includes romantic relationships, business colleagues, friendships, and family members too.
It’s empowering to know that you can make a difference in your relationships, whether or not the other person participates with you. You can make the choice right now: start behaving differently and don’t engage in negative interactions. Think before you respond. Try a more positive approach, or walk away before you say something you might regret. Make the commitment today – change your response and you can change the outcome!
Notes for Professionals
Many people feel trapped or ineffective in their relationships because of their inability to stop negative communication patterns. They believe that whatever they do, they cannot effect any change. In their minds, these ongoing negative communication patterns are non-negotiable and stuck in cement.
But we know, that’s not true… because in reality, if one of them makes a conscious decision (with your support) to not engage in the negative interaction, or to respond differently, they are in essence, immediately, reconfiguring that pattern. When they decide to take a measured breath, and be more thoughtful about what they say, or they choose to respectfully remove themselves to avoid an escalation, they are making a choice for change.
Support their efforts and encourage them to stick with it, even if the other person doesn’t respond positively. In the end, he or she will feel more effective by taking control and deciding as an individual, how he or she will respond.
Having the ability to gain some control and perhaps chip away at the negative “cement” can be a comforting feeling. It’s good to remind your clients that they do in fact have influence over the trajectory of each interaction. I think that’s pretty cool!