Responding vs. Reacting

When we intend to communicate with our partner, we need a way to respond rather than react.

Reacting does not require thinking. Reacting isn’t a bad thing. It works on our behalf as we drive our car. Before we think about it, we want to slow down so that we don’t run into someone.

However, for a healthy relationship, effective communication requires that we switch from a reactive mode to a responsive mode.

This new responsive mode is “Yes, and.”

• Yes, and … tell me more.
• Yes, and … when would be a good time for us to talk about this?
• Yes, and… what would be a good outcome for all of us?
• Yes, and … can we talk about this in a way that leaves us both feeling honored and respected?

Saying “Yes” helps get us out of a reactive mode and provides us with a mental pause, this permits us to switch gears and choose, “Where do I want this conversation to go? What is my intent here? What outcome will help us grow together?”

Saying “Yes” gets us out of the reaction mode. Saying “And” puts our hands back on the steering wheel allowing us to choose where we want to go from here.

Anything before the “And” is the past. Anything we say after “And” determines our future together. No magic wands, Phoenix feathers or spells required.