SKILL/ CONCEPT TO UNDERSTAND
THE SOFT START UP
What is the soft startup?
The SOFT START UP is about approaching a conversation with your partner in a soft way, so that your partner can better receive what you're saying.
If you start a conversation harsh it will end harsh, but if you start it soft it will end soft.
How do you communicate with a soft start up?
There are several tips that can help you start a conversation or raise an issue in your relationship by using a soft startup.
1. Choose your timing carefully.
- Before you even think about raising an issue or starting a difficult conversation, make sure you've got your timing right.
2. Start with something positive.
- Starting your conversation with a positive statement can make a huge difference to how you are received. It also can set the scene for the conversation
3. Own your own feelings and use “I” statements.
- Another important part of the soft startup is to own your own feelings and use “I” statements. This has a twofold effect. One, your partner will be less defensive because you are sharing your own feelings, not commenting, or interpreting the feelings of your partner. Secondly, using “I” statements helps because when you take ownership of your experience, it's less likely to be heard as blame.
4. Watch your tone of voice.
- Check your tone as you start to speak. Is there an edge to it? Is there a harshness? If so, see if you can soften your tone. If it helps, notice any tension in your voice and consciously relax your throat and your vocal cords.
5. Share a complaint, but don't criticize.
- It's normal have complaints of our partners. In fact, a complaint if you make it clear what outcome you desire can be very healthy for partners to share with each other. The problem starts when complaints become criticisms. Any attack on the character of your partner, including global statements of their failings (“you never” or “you always”) can railroad any productive conversation very quickly.
6. Make requests for change.
- picking up from the last point, complaints without requests for change are also unhelpful if you just share your feelings and complaints, your partner may not understand what you want. Let your partner know the specific change you are wanting.