To bond with the other, you need to enter the world of the other. When you argue or set boundaries too soon, you invalidate the other. If you want to influence the other by building rapport, you need to step out of your own world, put your reactions aside, and gently enter the world of the other. Be motivated by curiosity. Don’t judge, but try to understand. Much of what people complain about is a reflection of their internal struggle, their doubts and uncertainties, their unheard cries for help. We are all kids in bigger packages at the end of the day. Fall back on your skills that have worked with difficult kids. This is big feelings' territory.
We've heard this one a thousand times, but when a relationship or a situation frustrates us, we tend to talk or avoid. Put that rain pocho on so you don't get soaked by their expression of raw (sometimes toxic) emotion. Let the air out of their balloon to get to the root cause and put them in a position of both feeling heard and being able to hear you.
But the best way to get your point across is actually to listen. In fact, listening is the most powerful way to build rapport and trust; listening creates understanding. Try to mute your inner chatter, and your critic, if you want to be present to the other.
If a glass is filled with water, you need to empty it before you can poor some wine in it.
So the best way to listen is to ask questions that allow the other to tell you more. Avoid beginning a question with “why,” but rather begin with a “what” or “how.” What are they saying about their experience that could bring clarity to the issue? Could help you join in their frustration? Could provide a foundation for problem-solving?
As long are you stay entrenched in your own position or emotional reaction, you will have a hard time overcoming the relationship impasse.
You can prepare yourself to have a constructive conversation, if you prepare beforehand. Here are the steps you can take.
To prepare yourself, first, try to become aware of what your needs and intentions are. Maybe you don’t like the way your coworker speaks to you, but what you are really frustrated about is the fact that you feel disrespected among your peers and accused of consciously making your coworker's life difficult. If that is the case, than your real motivator is your desire to be seen as a helper, to remain meaningful in your role among peers.
Second, put yourself in the other’s shoes. How is the other looking at this situation? How is the other feeling about your own behavior, language, attitude? What experiences and relations are influencing him or her?
Understanding the other’s point of view, allows you to distance yourself from your own views and emotions, and get a broader understanding of a given situation. If you find yourself getting triggered, take a moment before you engage. If you have finished a difficult interaction, phone a friend to get support and dig into self-care, acknowledging your awesomeness and the hard work it takes to mediate conflict.
If you put yourself in the shoes of your colleague, than you might see how he or she is struggling to fit, to find his or her own balance in their role and that their attitude, doesn’t have anything to do with you, but is part of their own struggle.
Putting yourself in the other’s shoes helps you to shift from judgment to compassion.
Be mindful that if you want to influence someone, you need also to be willing to be influenced.