(Pictured: Boo and Pepe at House of Dreams – No Kill Cat Shelter Portland, OR)
I listened to a podcast episode by Multiamory called The Triforce of Communication, and I learned a lot about how setting an intention for a conversation ensures everyone involved has the same expectation and comes out satisfied.
Why do we need the Triforce?
Pretend I complain to you about how much I want to punch my coworker. I know I want you to listen and tell me how sucky said coworker is and how saintly I am for not punching them, but of course, I don’t tell you this because I just expect that we’re on the same wavelength. It’s almost like I expect you to read my mind. Your mind-reading apparatus is malfunctioning today, and you assume I want solutions, but I shoot down everything you offer. Now you’re angry because I’m rejecting your solutions, and I’m angry because you’re not giving me the support I need. Communication FAIL.
If we’d been using The Triforce of communication (which I’ve simplified below) before launching into my diatribe, I would have said, “I just want to vent about a situation at work, and I’d like your sympathy and understanding, but no solutions.” Or if I’m an expert: “I’d like to vent about a situation at work using Triforce #2.”
Now, like magic, we’re on the same page. We know what to expect, how to support each other, and we can get our needs met. Communication WIN!
Triforce of Communication
Triforce # 1: A one-sided vent. You’re not seeking input from the listener in the form of advice, empathy, or sympathy. You only want to be heard and understood.
Eg: “I’m feeling bad about something I did, and I just wanted to say what is on my mind.”
Triforce # 2: You’re seeking reassurance: kindness, empathy/sympathy, or understanding. You want to be heard, understood, and reassured.
Eg: “Please let me know that I am still a good person and that even though I did this bad thing, that doesn’t make me bad as well.”
Triforce # 3: You’re specifically seeking advice. You want solutions.
- 3a: With niceties: kindness, empathy/sympathy, understanding
- 3b: With specific niceties: kindness, empathy/sympathy, OR understanding.
- 3c: Without niceties. Hear me and get straight to the point.
Eg: “I really feel bad about this thing that I did. I want your advice on what I can do about it.”
What’s your experience with communication? Are you using a similar technique? Are you interested in giving this a try in your relationships?
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