“Do you need me to listen, or do you want help solving a problem?”
I’m convinced this question would save a lot of marriages.
Because the void for emotional validation far outweighs the need for logical explanation in relationships of trust.
All day long your person has been surrounded by people they are performing for, keeping their guard up, and checking boxes.
At the end of the day their logical brain has been exhausted. More importantly, they’ve had a dozen interactions where they don’t feel quite understood.
It adds up.
And when they are finally around you – one of the few people they’re allowed to be real with – the floodgates open and they seek resolve to all of the little misalignments of their day.
In that moment their need is to be heard, not helped.
And if you fail to fulfill that need you become part of the problem.
Every successful couple learns this.
But guess what?
This is not just a marriage equation.
Any psychologist, neuroscientist, and professional life coach will tell you that validation is the absolute fastest way to earn trust.
Successful ad writers also know that this is crucial. Without it, you are toast.
Until someone believes that you are capable of seeing the world from their point of view, they simply can not feel that your solution has relevance. You haven’t earned it yet.
You have no permission to persuade.
The fastest way to prove you understand them is to listen and repeat back what you thought you heard them say, without any of your stupid “spin” on it.
Then ask “is there anything else?”
After they know that you know how they feel, there is a high likelihood they’ll be open to your idea.
But if you skip this step, there’s a 100% chance your words will go in one ear and out the other, regardless of your intentions.
Dean Graciozi and Teddy Roosevelt said it best:
“People don’t buy when they understand you. They buy when they feel understood.”
“People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”
Are you finding yourself in a tizzy with someone you care about?
Do you have a solution to a problem, but aren’t getting buy in?
It’s probably time to take a deep breath, shut up, and listen. Then listen some more.
I predict you’ll be asked for your opinion sometime after that.
You got this.