Sunday, January 9, 2011

January 9th - 16th, 2011: Skill of the week

Objective Effectiveness. This is one piece to the gigantic puzzle that is Interpersonal Effectiveness. 

Last week when we discussed relationship effectiveness, we were able to see some detailed thought processes that are good to go through in order to determine whether the conflict at hand needs to take the relationships needs as top priority. When are main focus is on getting and keeping a good relationship we do well to focus in the direction of the information from last week. 

What about when our objective needs to be top priority? What then? What if, although it is really important to you to maintain a good relationship with the person you are in conflict with, but it is more important to have your objective met, or to reach your goal? Let's suppose you are out to dinner and your meal is not what you ordered. When you notify the waitress she seems to have a really bad attitude about it. Which is more important, to get the food served to you the way you ordered it, or to retain a good relationship with the waitress? Naturally, we would want to balance those two. We don't want her too upset at us, for fear of what she would do to the food back in the kitchen, but your objective would out-weigh the relationship in that, you are going to pay for the food, it should be what you ordered. Of course this is a really small example, there are several other ways to handle it, but it gives us a glimpse at what the difference in the priorities might look like in real life scenarios. 

Getting what we want out of a conflict or even out of life in general can feel like an insurmountable task. However, once we have seriously weighed our wants vs. our needs, we have the obligation to ourselves to advocate for ourselves when we have determined that a need is not being met. Especially when this need isn't being met in a relationship. Then of course it is doubly important to advocate for that need if the relationship that is lacking it, is an intimate one. There are certain needs that without being met will turn a loving, caring, gentle safe relationship into a toxic one that would need to be discarded. Knowing what those needs are, is up to you. You are the only one that can know. For example, a personal experience of understanding a need vs. a want. When AJ and I have had conflicts in the past and he didn't come to bed for the night I would be absolutely devastated. We see it in movies all the time, the husband is in "the doghouse" and he arranges a neat little bed for himself on the couch. Bleh. 

Well, for me at first I felt like it was a want. I didn't want him to stay out of our bed for the night. But after much meditation and attention to this trigger it became very clear that this was a need, not a want. Due to my past abuse this small action of him not coming to bed after or during a conflict became something huge to me. It tore down every inch of effectiveness I had fought for. Coming to understand this about myself, I was then in a situation that I was responsible for addressing this with AJ. The outcome of this objective would directly impact the security and safety in my most intimate of relationships. The tricky thing about this particular conflict is that I must also keep the relationship at a high priority, yet the objective not being met was going to ultimately negate every bit of ground I was making through skills. I will use this example when we dissect D.E.A.R. M.A.N. / G.I.V.E. / F.A.S.T.

When you are attempting to obtain a legitimate right, trying to get another person to do something, perhaps you are wanting to refuse an unwanted or unreasonable request, resolving an interpersonal conflict, or getting your opinion or point of view taken seriously are all examples of objectives. Yes, just getting your point of view taken seriously is an objective. We know that we cannot force anyone to do anything, so if in the end you didn't get the person to give you what you wanted, just getting them to take you seriously can make all the difference in radically accepting something or throwing down over it. Sometimes it is that same old argument that you and your mate have that needs resolving may be the objective. Maybe it isn't a specific action that either one of you can "do", rather it may be as simple as viewing something differently.  

In any case, it becomes really important to make sure your objective is clear in order for you to have any hope of having it met. If it is not clear to you, how can it be clear to the other person? We are talking crystal clear. I am sure everyone has had an experience where you thought one thing was the bottom of the conflict only to dig deeper and find out that it's root was somewhere else entirely. We will want to be sure we have done all of our homework, dug as far as those roots go. Or at least as far as they are discernible to you. Then ask yourself, "What specific results or changes do I want from this interaction?"  and "What do I have to do to get the results? What will work?"

Going into a conflict with the idea that, "I have searched this out, and you need to give me 'X' because I need it" isn't really going to get you very far. In fact, doing your homework will include how you go about obtaining your objective, a 'worksheet' so to speak. Next week we will discuss Self-respect effectiveness, and the week after with D.E.A.R M.A.N/G.I.V.E./F.A.S.T.; wrapping it all up three weeks from now with factors that will reduce interpersonal effectiveness. 

Please come to the forum and share with us how this has worked for you, or hasn't worked. If anyone would like to publish their thoughts and experiences, also come to the forum and send me a private message. 

Have a great week! 


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