Laura Heck: Relationships 101: “The Science of Great Relationships” | Talks at Google

FEMALE SPEAKER: Hello. I am delighted to have Laura
Heck here with us today. Laura is a licensed
marriage and family therapist in private practice. She recently served in a
leadership role at the Gottman Institute as the Director
of Professional Development. Together with the Gottman
Institute clinical director, Laura co-developed the Gottman
Seven Principles Program and is also the author of the
“Seven Principles Companion Workbook,” a tool for
couples to use in conjunction with the “Seven Principles
for Making Marriage Work” book by Dr. John Gottman. Laura is a master trainer
for the program which has trained thousands of people
to offer the Seven Principles Program in their communities
across six continents. Laura resides in Salt
Lake City with her beloved and very patient husband. And they have a
one-year-old son. Welcome, Laura. LAURA HECK: Thank you. So what Alison didn’t
say is that I’m also the godmother to her child. So we know each other very well. She is my BFF. So I’m here. I’ve given, sort
of, about an hour. And what I’d really like to
do is just share with you the CliffNotes version
of the “Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work.” I’m just curious, by kind
of a show of hands or a nod or a wink, how many
of you have either heard of Dr. John Gottman or
are familiar with the “Seven Principles” book? OK. How many of you have
actually seen him live, seen him present live? OK. I am not going to be
as charismatic or funny or brilliant as John
Gottman, but I will certainly try to give you as much
information in as short a period of time as possible. So as Alison had
mentioned, the reason why I’m here and speaking
on the Seven Principles is that I have had the pleasure
of co-developing the Seven Principles Program, which
is really a training program for training
professionals all around the world to
work with couples using this as their main criteria,
their main curriculum. And so I know the Seven
Principles inside and out. And I just taught
the class yesterday here in Seattle, Washington. And I think the next
place I go is Chicago. And then it just kind of
continues on from there. As far as questions,
I think maybe what would be helpful is if you
have a question about something that we’re covering, if I
notice, just as far as time goes, that I have some time
to take some questions, I’ll ask for you to
come up to the mic. And I might be
able to take a few. And if I don’t get to it,
hold on to your questions. Hopefully you can remember it. And then I’m hoping that
we can cover all of them. OK? OK. So this book has actually
been in print since 1999. And it just recently rolled
over the $1 million mark. Not million dollars, but
1 million copies sold. And there was a rewrite that was
done on this just one year ago. And it has been translated
into 20 different languages. The reason why this
book is so important is that Dr. Gottman has been
studying couples for 40 years. He’s studied over 3,000 couples. And over those 40
years, he has been able to distill down
as much information as possible into seven
principles which I’m hoping I’m able to get through
all seven for you so that you can go home in
whatever relationship you have, and you can begin to apply
some of these principles for making relationships work. The nice part about Dr.
Gottman’s principles is that it’s not just about
intimate relationships, although those are the
ones that he was studying. You can directly apply a
lot of these principles to coworker relationships,
to the relationships with your children,
to the relationships with your parents. Any relationship that you have. Because it’s really about
how to communicate in a way that is truly
hearing your partner. It’s about being able to
work through problem-solving and how to have a meaningful
connection with another person. OK. So what I’d like to
start out by doing is to just give you
a brief synopsis as far as Dr. Gottman’s
research and how he came to come about
all of this information. So Dr. Gottman
originally started out as a mathematics major at MIT. And he was actually
young when he started. But he had a roommate. And this roommate was
studying psychology. And I don’t know how many
of you enjoy psychology, but John was looking
at his math books and had decided that whatever
his roommate was studying was more fun than what he was
studying, which I don’t blame. So he promptly finished
up his mathematics degree and then went in to
become a psychologist. So not only does he have this
firm foundation in numbers, he became a
researcher, but he also has this firm foundation
in psychology. So we have this amazing
combination in this math wizard that was interested
in relationships but could also study
really, really well and definitively defining
what it is that relationships, makes them work. So Dr. Gottman went from
MIT, and then he went over to the University of Indiana. And he started working with
his best friend, Bob Levinson. So Dr. Gottman says at the time
that his relationships were not going so hot at the time. And Bob Levinson and
him were interested in good relationships with women. But at the time, Bob
said, we can either research good relationships
or we can have them. And right now,
we’re researchers. So the two of them set
out to discover in, I think he would say somewhat of
a selfish way, what is it that makes good relationships work. And they wanted to
study relationships in a way that had
never been done before. It’s very difficult to predict
behavior in one person. But Dr. Gottman wanted
to predict behavior with two people. So they would bring couples
in to a laboratory setting and within eight hours of
the couple being apart, he would have the two of
them sit side by side. And they would hook
them up to monitors that would study how
fast their hearts were beating at the time. They would see how much they
were sweating by testing the palms of their hands. They had monitors underneath
the chairs that would measure how much they would fidget. They were called jiggle-ometers. And then he would just
ask for these couples, I simply want for
you to just catch up. Tell me about your day. What have you been doing? So couples would
turn to one another and they would start
talking about sort of the mundane things
about their day. Meanwhile, researchers
were coding their facial expressions. They had cameras that
were recording them. And back in the
day, in the ’70s, how large was the computer
back in the ’70s, right? Size of a refrigerator. All that computer
was intended to do was to take the
physiological data that was going on with these
couples and timecode it. And then he would ask for
couples to switch over. I want you to just
choose a topic. Something that the
two of you haven’t been able to agree upon. And I just want you to
try to solve the problem. Have this conflict conversation
while we are watching you. So couples start
to pick a problem. Maybe they’re talking
about the mother-in-law, maybe they’re talking
about laundry. What are things that get
underneath your skin? And they recorded the data. So they had these
two snippets of time. Happy conversation, not
so happy conversation. Then they sent the couples away. All they were looking
for were patterns. They really didn’t
have a hypothesis at the time of what
they were looking for, but they were looking
for patterns a lot like early day astronomers
that were looking at the stars. Simply looking for something
to stick out to them. That was about 35 years ago. 25 years ago, he goes from
the University of Indiana, now he’s at the
University of Washington. And he opens up what
he calls the Love Lab. The BBC had sort of
called it the Love Lab. But what he wanted
to do was he wanted to see if couples were in a
natural environment for 24 hours, what would I see. What would stick out? What patterns would arise? So he made this one bedroom
studio apartment as comfortable as possible on the University
of Washington’s campus. It overlooked the
Montlake Cut, so you could see the boats floating by. It was a beautiful setting. And he would say from Sunday
at 8 o’clock in the morning until Monday morning at
8 o’clock in the morning, I want you to just
come and hang out. We will not prompt you. We’re not going to give
you anything to do. We just simply want to
watch and observe you. But we want this to be, like,
really comfortable for you. We want you to feel as if
you’re in a bed and breakfast. We want this to be as
natural as possible. So couples would bring
their creature comforts. They would bring groceries,
they would bring newspapers, they would bring
puzzles and games. Anything they could
do for 24 hours. So in this bed and
breakfast-like setting, couples would hang out. Again, they’re
wearing the monitor so that they could see how
fast their heart was beating. Any time that they urinated,
they would take urine samples. They had a one-way
mirror where researchers would be back behind coding
their facial expressions. And when everything
was said and done, they would go right
next door, and they would have their blood drawn. But Dr. Gottman assures us
that it was very relaxing for couples and it was a lot
like a bed and breakfast. So then he would send
these couples home. But it was a longitudinal study. So meanwhile, he’s
collecting all of this data, and he’s starting to
look for patterns. The only way that you
can look for patterns is if you have this
longitudinal data. Where do these couples end up? What do we know
about these couples? So he had 147 newlywed couples. And then he checked back in
with those newlywed couples. Of those newlywed couples, 17
of them ended up divorcing. What were the patterns? How do we know what is distinct
and different about the 130 couples that stayed
together and what is distinct and different
about the 17 couples that ended up divorcing? So remember when I said that
he was very interested in being able to predict behavior. So it’s hard to predict
behavior for two people. Even more difficult
than one person. He was able to predict 15
out of 17 of those couples. So he said those, those, those,
those, those, those, those. And when he checked back in
with the couples, 15 out of 17. So with 90% and above
accuracy, that those couples would end up divorcing. And he repeated this
study seven times and still was able to
predict with 90% accuracy. So we know with
pretty good certainty what those behaviors are. Are you interested
in knowing what it is that those couples were doing? Either the ones that weren’t
doing so hot and the ones that were doing well? OK. So that is the
foundation of this book. And John jokes that he’s
really just a researcher, he wasn’t very interested
in helping couples. He was making a fine living
at watching these couples’ relationships deteriorate. It wasn’t without
the bleeding heart of his beautiful, wonderful
wife, Dr. Julie Schwartz Gottman, that really got him
interested in taking this data and turning it into
something that real couples could hold onto. So that is how the “Seven
Principles” book came to be, is they started
working with couples and applying the concepts
that he had learned. And says, don’t do
this, but do this. And that’s how the “Seven
Principles” book came to be. So without further ado, I’m
really not good at slideshows. This is really just
because my husband told me to do a slideshow. I listen. I listen. I took his, took his advice. So what is it that we
learned about these couples? Well, Dr. Gottman
was able to notice that the couples who’d
ended up divorcing, there were four patterns that were
specifically and incredibly destructive to relationships. So if you’ll take
a look up here, you notice that criticism
is the first one. Criticism is incredibly
common in relationships. It’s incredibly common. I’m sure you’re probably
thinking, oh yeah, I know what
criticism feels like. I definitely have somebody
that criticizes me. It’s my mom, it’s my wife,
I criticize my partner, whatever it might be. But criticism comes up in
relationships all the time. It looks like when you have
a complaint about something, whatever it might be, the thing
that I complain most about are the clothes that are
left next to the bed. So my husband has this habit
of undressing before bed, and then there’s this pile. And at the end of the week,
the pile is as tall as the bed. Do you know what
I’m talking about? So I could either
criticize my partner and I could say something
like, you’re such a slob, you treat this home
like a frat house. Or I could be gentle. So the antidotes
are in the blue. And I could complain
rather than criticize. Criticism looks like a
globalizing criticism of your partner’s deficiencies. So you may say to your
partner, you’re a slob. That’s criticism. But if you really want to do
what the masters are doing, you would complain
without blaming. You would say, you know, I’m not
so hot on all of these clothes next to the bed. I would really appreciate it
if you were to take the clothes and put them in the hamper. So that’s what the
masters are doing. I’m not telling you not to
complain in your relationship, I’m just asking that
you don’t criticize. OK? Second one is defensiveness. So criticism and
defensiveness go hand in hand. Defensiveness is warding
off a perceived attack. So if your partner is
a master criticizer, you are going to become
a master defender. And criticism can look
like, well, I don’t do that, but did you see this over here? And you’re sort of,
like, counterattacking. Defensiveness can also
look like whining. Oh, why do you
always pick on me? So the masters, instead
of defending themselves, they’re noticing what it is that
their partner is criticizing or complaining about. And instead, they’re taking
a small piece of that and taking responsibility. So my husband, if I’m going
to criticize him and say, you’re such a
slob, he might say, yeah, you know what, those
clothes have been there for a week and I
haven’t picked them up. He’s taking some small
responsibility of it. You do not have
to take the blame. But if you can find
a piece of that to take responsibility for, it
easily diffuses the situation. Contempt. Contempt is what Dr. Gottman
refers to as sulfuric acid on the relationship. It is the most potent of
all four of the Horsemen. Contempt is something that comes
later on in the relationship. We see it happening much
later as well as stonewalling. But contempt is when you
believe, you truly believe, that you are better
than your partner. It looks like this. I’m smarter, I’m
cleaner, I’m wiser, I’m better looking
than my partner. And it comes across
in statements that are really, really hurtful. In fact, Dr. Gottman
found that if I’m contemptuous to my partner,
in the next four years, he is more likely to have
communicable diseases. It takes an effect on
your immune system. It actually starts to work and
chip away at the immune system. So if you want to
hurt your partner, if you want them to
be out sick a lot, then just be contemptuous. What are the masters doing
rather than being contemptuous? The masters are scanning
their environment for what it is that their
partner is doing right. If you find that
you are starting to slip into contempt, if you
find that you are starting to think of your partner
in contemptuous ways, you can change your
brain by starting to recognize what is it that
I truly love and appreciate about my partner. My partner may not
be the smartest, but my partner is an
incredibly hard worker. My partner may not
be the sexiest, but my partner is an
incredible father. So you can start
to train your brain to be looking at your
partner in fond ways and thinking of
what are the things that I really
appreciate about them. Stonewalling. This is an interesting one. So Dr. Gottman found that
something was happening. So let’s go back
to the Love Lab. He’s looking at
husband and wife. And he notices husband
is starting to escalate, he’s heart rate’s
starting to go up. And then all of a
sudden, he disengages from the conversation. His eyes are cast to the floor,
and he’s no longer paying attention to his partner. Then he went back and
he asked these guys, he said, hey, what’s going on. What are you doing? I noticed that in this
part of the conversation, your heart rate
started to go up. What was going on? He found that
people were starting to psychologically soothe. And in order to
psychologically soothe when they were starting
to feel flooded in these contemptuous
conversations, these really tough conversations, they
would completely disengage. They’re physically
still present, but they’re
emotionally disengaged and they are
cognitively disengaging from the conversation. 80% of the time it’s
happening with men. Doesn’t mean that
women don’t stonewall, it just simply means that
it’s more common for men. So what is it that
the masters are doing instead of disengaging
from that conversation? They’re doing psychological
self-soothing. This would mean that
they might indicate, hey, you know what, I can’t have
this conversation right now. I need to take a break. Or they start to breathe. Whatever it might be,
they’re taking a break and they’re not
allowing themselves to disengage from
the conversation because that will only
escalate the partner further. OK. Before I go on, I
just want to ask, does anybody have questions
about the Four Horsemen? These are the four
behaviors that have come up. Yes? AUDIENCE: I’m confused in
that you describe stonewalling as disengaging as
psychological self-soothing, but then what you should
do is also disengage in psychological self-soothing? LAURA HECK: Right. Exactly. So, mic? Oh, repeat the question, OK. So she’s confused about the
psychological self-soothing. So what’s happening
is that there’s this feeling of feeling
emotionally flooded that comes up when
you are in an argument or you’re having a
conflict conversation. And so as you start to
feel emotionally flooded, we know that that’s
happening physiologically because the heart is
starting to beat faster. When it reaches up and
over 100 beats per minute, and for people who are
incredibly fit, like Alison, it may be more like 95, right? So once it reaches up and
over 100 beats per minute, your body is starting
to release chemicals that tell you fight or flight. And in order to do that, people
shut down and they curl down and they become disengaged
from the conversation. What the masters
are doing instead, when they start to feel
the flooding come up, is they’re taking
a break and they’re stopping that conversation. Because what stonewalling
looks like is this. And what a partner
sees is you don’t care enough to have a
conversation with me right now. They escalate. So the conversation continues
to go round and round. The more I raise my voice,
the more you shut down. If you’re not paying
attention to me, now I’m going to really start
to throw some fireballs at you. Verbal fireballs. Any other questions? Yeah. AUDIENCE: The reflex
is physiological. LAURA HECK: Physiological
self-soothing, to start to take a break. So what we teach couples is if
you feel like you’re starting to feel flooded,
emotionally flooded, then let’s take a
20 minute break. We’ll take about 20 minutes
for women, about 25 minutes for men. Go for a walk. Maybe clean. That would be what I would do. Take a bath, pet the dog,
whatever it might be. And then you start to decrease. OK. So now I want to start
talking about, we’ve talked about the four
destructive patterns that Dr. Gottman discovered. What is it that the disasters
of relationships are doing? What will cause, if
left unattended to, what will cause divorce? What will cause
relationship demise? I do want to say
that you probably, if you were like a med student
and you’re going through all of the diseases and you’re
starting to recognize symptoms of these diseases
in yourself, it’s a lot like the Four Horsemen. You can still have a
healthy relationship with the Four Horsemen. But you also have to look at
some of the ways in which you can change and transform those. So if those are what are the
difficulties that couples are having, what are the
things that Dr. Gottman found will increase and make
your relationship better? So we’ll go through
the principles. So principle number one
has to do with having a strong marital foundation. It’s called the friendship. I know it sounds kind
of funny that if you’re married to this
person, of course you’re going to be friends. But imagine being with
somebody for 40 years. I know with my own personal
life, sometimes I would ask, are my grandparents
even friends. Doesn’t even seem like they
like each other anymore. So Dr. Gottman
found that in order to have a strong
relationship, it has to be a foundation
of friendship. In order to increase
your friendship, you have to know your partner’s
inner world in and out. You have to know
everything about them. When you start a
relationship, when you start to fall in
love with someone, you’re trying to decide,
is this my forever. So you might ask questions
like, well, what is your grandmother’s maiden name? And what kind of is
your favorite animal? What’s your favorite color, and
what’s your favorite holiday? What do you want to
be when you grow up? You ask all of these
questions to get to know them. And soon enough
you decide, OK, I’m going to settle in with you. You are my forever. But then 25 years goes by. This person has changed, but you
haven’t asked those questions. You have no idea who this
person is any longer. Love Maps is this
metaphorical idea that you have a map of your
partner’s internal world. The goal is to make this map
as detailed and up to date as possible. How do you do that? So I’m going to be giving tips. You can start to use this
every day in your life. You ask your partner
open-ended questions. These are not
questions that they can answer with a simple yes
or no or one word answer. You’re asking your
partner questions that really starts to chip
away at who this person is. Maybe you ask them about
their hopes and dreams. What do you want to do
in the next five years? What is one thing that you
have, a goal that you have yet to realize? Or how do you feel about this
Republican Party right now? I mean, what do you think? Or it might be a question
like, you really, really wanted to be a mother,
and we haven’t had children. How do you feel about not
having children right now? These are open-ended questions. So for those of you
who have an iPhone, you can actually
download an app. It’s $1.99 and if you
shake it, it gives you a new open-ended question. So no matter where you
are, you will always have an open-ended question. You don’t have to come
up with them yourself. OK, so we’re still talking about
that foundation of friendship. Number two is nurturing the
fondness and admiration. Simply put, is that you are
choosing on a daily basis to scan your environment for the
positives of what your partner is doing versus the negatives. OK? So we’re going back to the bed. I wake up in the morning,
I look over at my husband, he has drool coming
out of his mouth. He has, like, retainer
in so that he’s not chewing on his tongue
or doing whatever people do with retainers in. I look, I see, I notice that
the clothes are on the floor. I have to step over the clothes. So instantly I’m starting
to think and create this world in which
my husband has done all of these wrong things. Or I can wake up in the
morning and I can look over at my husband and I think, well,
he sure looks sexy over there. He’s been working out, I
see some biceps coming in. And maybe I look
a little bit more and I notice that he’s curled
around our one-year-old that he pulled into bed in
the middle of the night, and I didn’t even notice. Like wow, what a great dad. Thank you, I enjoyed eight
hours of uninterrupted sleep. So I step over that
pile of clothes. I don’t even notice
them this time because I’m scanning my
environment for the positives. What is it that my
husband is doing right versus what he’s doing wrong? You can use this with
your children as well. If you are waiting
to correct your child for every wrong
thing that they do, do you really think that they’re
going to be looking for you when they achieve something
wonderful and great? Or are you going to wait
to applaud your child when they’re doing something
right and really make that a big point? That is awesome. Thank you so much for putting
that back, that is fantastic. Also, with your
relationships with, maybe the people
that you’re managing. If you are rewarding people
and scanning for the things that they’re doing
right, they’re more able to do those
things correctly. So fondness and
admiration is really about thinking about your
partner on a daily basis, about the things that
they are doing correctly and that you really
love about them. It’s about training your brain. One thing that you
can do is make it a habit every single day. And if you can’t
remember, do this. Set an alarm on your phone to
send a text to your partner. And I want you every single day
to say thank you so much for, I really appreciated it when
you did this, you’re so sexy, I saw you walk
out the door today and that skirt looked amazing
on you, whatever it might be. But even though
you have an alarm on your phone and
your partner is like, why does this always
come in at 2 o’clock in the afternoon. It doesn’t matter
because they’re going to appreciate that
you’re sending it at all. So if you’re going to
do that, do that now. Little pro tip. So we’re still talking
about friendship and nurturing this
friendship foundation. The third principle
is turning toward. The motto is small things often. With everything that
Dr. Gottman does, it is a motto of
small things often. You can change the trajectory
of your relationship simply by doing small things
every day consistently. You do not, I will tell you
this, Valentine’s Day gentleman and ladies, you
do not have to buy that $5,000 ring
or that $50,000 car or take them on that
$10,000 vacation. That means nothing. But if you’re sending those
appreciations every single day at 2 o’clock for 365 days? Boom. Free. So we’re looking for ways
to turn toward our partner. So here’s the deal. Our partners, on a daily
basis, are turning towards us. And the key is being able
to recognize when they’re turning toward because
what turning toward really is, is it’s a small, subtle
way of saying I have a want, a need, a desire,
are you there for me. So here’s what turning
toward looks like. Maybe I’m standing at
the sink doing dishes and I notice that it’s
starting to snow, which it did in Salt Lake City yesterday. It’s 80 degrees here, Salt
Lake City, it’s snowing. And I say, are you kidding me? Is that snow? And my husband’s
in the other room. How is he going to
turn towards me? He’s going to go, yup. That’s it. That’s all you have to do. Because why am I
talking out loud? You’re going to say you’re
just talking to yourself. Your partner’s not
talking to themselves, they’re talking to you. They want you to respond. And you don’t have to
make it a grand response. All you have to do is go uh-huh. Just recognizing that
they’re speaking to you. Bids can be overt and
they can be covert, so that would be a bit
of a covert bid, right? Overt bid would be that you
sit next to your partner on the couch and
you pull him over and you put your arm
around him and you go– that right there is a bid. Now how does the person respond? You have three choices
to respond to a bid. You can turn toward them, which
would be like saying uh-huh. Or you go, oh yeah? Let’s go upstairs. Or you can turn away
from your partner, which would mean missing their
bid or ignoring their bid. How do we ignore bids? I’ll tell you. Digital distraction. That’s the number
one way right now that people are ignoring bids. Whether you recognize it
or not, if you are face down on a computer or
a game, or your phone, you’re going to miss
bids from your partner. So you can also turn
against your partner. If my husband’s
rushing out the door and as he’s rushing out the
door I say, oh, before you go, I’m going to go
grocery shopping, is there anything special that
you’d like for dinner tonight? That’s really sweet
of me to ask, right? He’s going to turn against me. Here’s what he says. You know that Monday nights I
go out with the guys after work. Why do you always manipulate
me into staying in on these nights? That’s turning against. OK? So you always have
three options. The nice part is that
with turning toward, all you have to do is just
recognize when your partner is making bids and
remember that you can turn toward them in very
small ways every single day. If you imagine that
your relationship is a lot like an emotional
bank account, every time you turn toward your partner,
you’re putting a deposit in. This is important
because when something external to the
relationship really causes some pain, when
something happens, when you have a fight,
when the car breaks down, when one of the kids is being
obnoxious, and the two of you are super stressed
out, you have enough of those emotional deposits in
that bank account to buffer. So that when you take
a withdrawal out, you’re not overdrawn. Does that makes sense? OK. So here’s the interesting part. Remember that newlywed study
that was in the apartment lab? And that all those newlyweds,
of those 17 newlyweds that ended up divorcing, they
went back and they said, what do we know
about turning toward. And they counted. They figured out that 86% of
the time, the couples that are still together,
they were turning toward each other’s bids. But those that
divorced missed them. They were only turning
toward 33% of the time. You can see how important it
is to recognize those bids in your relationship, the
times when your partner is trying to reach out to you. Has a want, a need, a
desire, and how important it is that you’re
recognizing it and you’re choosing to turn toward rather
than away or against them. So before I move
on, does anybody have questions about maybe
the first three principles? So we have the
Love Map principle, we have fondness and admiration,
and we have the turning toward. Yeah. AUDIENCE: So I didn’t
get the two positives. So if somebody
makes a bid, you can decline no, you can say yes,
and what’s the third one? I didn’t get the
difference here. LAURA HECK: So the
difference is that you can turn toward your
partner, which is basically any response that’s positive
toward your partner’s bid. You can turn away
from them, which looks a lot like ignoring a bid. And you can turn against
him, which would mean kind of lashing back at them. Any other questions? Yeah. AUDIENCE: So in your
example of your husband kind of going
against, what would be a better response
for him knowing that, if he still wants to hang out
with his buddies or whatever. LAURA HECK: That’s
a great question. So what would be
a better response? If my husband was
rushing out the door and I said, honey, what would
you like for dinner tonight, I’m going to go to the store. And rather than being
rude and lashing back, he could turn around and
he could say, oh, well, that is so nice of you to offer,
but actually Monday nights is the night that I’m
going out with the guys so I won’t be home tonight. So it doesn’t mean that he has
to change or say yes, dear, or do what I want, but
responding back to me with, if I could sum it
up, respect and honor. By responding back
with respect and honor, then he could still
turn toward me. OK. I’m going to move on
to the next question. Anybody else have a question? All right. So principle number four. This is moving away from
the friendship foundation. We’ve covered the
friendship foundation and now we’re starting to get
into what Dr. Gottman noticed with couples, which is letting
your partner influence you. He noticed that there was
a vast majority of couples where most of the time
they allow their partner to influence them. I have taken this to heart. When it came time to buy
a vehicle, how many of you have had like a struggle buying
vehicles in your relationship? Because one of you wants,
like, the smart car or whatever it might be, and you
want like the big Yukon, and you have to find something
in between that fits both. So this has been an exercise in
my own relationship of letting my partner influence me. And really what it comes down
to is when your partner says, I want this, your first
response is OK, yes, let’s make this happen. If your partner
says, I have a dream to go back to school, that
your first thought is whatever you want, let’s make it
happen, and let’s find excuses why it won’t work later. But oftentimes what
happens instead is that you become a roadblock. Whatever it might be. Have you ever noticed that
sometimes there’s couples that there might be that one person
that it’s like no matter what I want, if I want to buy
this orange juice for $3.50 at the grocery store. You don’t want that,
you want to buy the orange juice that’s $2.99. That that extra $0.51 is going
to be an argument right now. So letting your
partner influence you, being able to negotiate. Being able to say, why is this
so important, tell me more. Rather than
immediately saying no. That’s a big deal. So you can see there’s
a statistic up here. 81% divorce rate when men are
not willing to share power. Eventually what
ended up happening is that Dr. Gottman
found that when men were saying no,
when they weren’t even willing to entertain
negotiation with their partner, when it was a power
struggle, 81% of those times they ended up divorcing. It’s powerful. Being able to say why is
this important to you, let’s just have a conversation. It’s not yes, dear. I have to say that part. It’s not yes, husband. It’s why is this important. If it’s important to
you, let’s at least entertain the idea
and let’s talk. Any questions? Yeah. AUDIENCE: Which year
was the study made? Because like I read pretty
much the reverse statistics. LAURA HECK: The
reverse statistics? AUDIENCE: Yeah. LAURA HECK: So what would
the reverse statistic be? AUDIENCE: No, I mean, I read
about the Gen X, for instance. About the men vs women and the
way in the US in particular. Because of the high divorce
rate and the kids staying with their moms, what
happens is the Gen Xers, now that they’re growing,
the male actually are insecure and searching all
their life, or the other way around, the women. And I’m not Gen X, I’m Gen
Y. I’m not grown up here, my parents aren’t
divorced or anything. So I was wondering
if this is coming from the ’80s, from
the ’90s, et cetera. LAURA HECK: So it is. Most of Dr. Gottman’s
research, especially with the research
lab, is coming from I think the ’90s, actually. But I would be interested
to know what it is. Are you saying that
the inverse of it is that women are
unwilling to yield power? AUDIENCE: No, nothing like that. What I’m saying is that this
strong kind of macho culture has gone away for the years. LAURA HECK: OK, now I know
where you’re going with that. Yeah. So yes, to answer your
question, the research does go back quite
a bit because he did the majority of his
research over the last 40 years. So a lot of it is
not going to cite things that are happening
now and moving forward. Yeah. Any other questions about
yielding power, saying yes? OK. So of the complaints that
come in, so I had mentioned I’m a couples therapist. The number one thing. Couples come in, they say we’re
having trouble communicating, we have conflict all the time. Dr. Gottman really
wanted to figure out what is it that the masters are
doing to solve their conflict. So what I will start
talking about now is what is it that they’re
doing when it comes to conflict. You can have two
types of conflict. It’s either solvable
or it’s perpetual. Fundamental difference
between solvable problems and perpetual problems. What percentage,
I’m just curious, what percentage do you
think of happy couples do you think they would be
able to solve their problems? Happy, masters of relationships. What percentage are able
to solve their problems? Or what percentage of problems
are they able to solve? That’s probably a
better way to put it. What do you think? 50%? 80%? Anybody else? What’s that? 30%? That’s low. Bar is low for you, huh? OK, so truth be told,
Dr. Gottman found that of all conflict with
couples that were thriving, that were happy, they
were only able to solve 31% of those problems. Yeah, so is that
encouraging for you? Or is that discouraging? Like, that you’re going to
have 69% of these problems that are just going to stick around
for the rest of your life. There was one researcher,
and I like this, that he said when you
stand up on that altar, really what you’re doing
is you are agreeing to the 50 years of problems
that the two of you are going to have. For the next 50 years, we are
signing up for this conflict. What Dr. Gottman found
is that he was doing these longitudinal studies. He would have these
couples come in, he’d hook them up to their
little jiggle-ometers, and he would say,
nice to see you again. Your clothes have changed,
your hair has changed, it’s nice to see you
after four years. I want you guys to
just choose a conflict and just kind of sort it out. Something that the two
of you can’t agree on. What happened? He said that he could put the
tape of them rolling four years prior to the tape of them now. A few more gray
hairs, their clothes are a little more in style,
maybe a few more pounds. Same conflict. Boom, boom, boom, boom. Same conflict. So that means that these
couples, 69% of them, they’re perpetual problems. Why are they perpetual? It’s because we are unique,
wonderful human beings and what makes me up, my value
system, my likes, my dislikes, is different from my
partner’s value system, likes, and dislikes. It’s the fundamental things
that make me who I am. So if I’m an introvert,
which I am, believe me, and my husband is an extrovert,
when Friday night comes around, what do I want to do? I want to watch Netflix,
I want to eat ice cream, I want to sit on the couch
and I just want to veg. What does my husband want to do? He wants to go out
every Friday night. Is this a conflict? Absolutely. So other differences. Am I neat? Yes, I’m neat. Is my husband not so neat? Absolutely. These are things
about the two of us that are a little different. And so these are the
perpetual problems. The problem is
that when you don’t know the difference between
perpetual and solvable, is that you end up
getting gridlocked and you think there has
to be a way to solve this. But unfortunately,
it’s not about solving your perpetual problems. It’s about learning
how to communicate through those perpetual problems
in a different way that’s still honoring and
respecting your partner. So how are the masters
talking through those solvable problems, the
31% of those solvable problems? What are the solvable problems? These are things like, how are
we going to use our tax refund? We’re obviously going
to buy a hot tub, guys. Or whose house
are we going to go to for Memorial Day, my
mom’s house, your house? What are we going to do? How are we going to celebrate? These are solvable problems. They often tend to be
short-term in nature. So a solvable problem would
probably be something similar like if we can’t figure out
what to do for childcare, it goes away after
18 years, right? Eventually you don’t have
that as a problem any longer. And then they bring
their munchkin, and then you’re the
childcare for their munchkin. So the masters are doing
some really amazing things. When they have a
conflict conversation, if you can take these skills
home, this would be fantastic. Number one, the skill
that the masters are doing is that they’re bringing up
a complaint, which is OK. To criticize is not OK. They’re bringing it up
in a really gentle way. They’re incredibly skillful. Think of it as, like, putting
on the art of manipulation. How can I bring
this complaint up in a way in which my
partner is going to hear me and is going to be willing
to work with me on this? And if it’s a sure
fire way to blow it, you can bring it up by saying,
you always or you never. Right? How many times does you always
and you never end right? How many times do you actually
get your partner to say, you know what, you’re
absolutely right. I am always a slob. I am always doing this. So if you want to blow
it, start it like that. But if you don’t, you
bring your complaint up by using I
statements and you’re describing what’s going on
in a non-judgmental way. You know, honey, I notice that
there’s clothes next to the bed again. And I would really
appreciate it if you could undress next to the hamper
rather than undressing next to the bed. Do you think maybe
you could do that? It’s pretty gentle,
you think he’d be willing to give it a
shot at least that night? Yeah? Poor guy, he gets thrown
under the bus so much. What is something else
that the masters are doing? So here’s an
interesting statistic. Dr. Gottman can tell
how a conversation is going to end by how it starts. So he watches the
first three minutes of a conflict conversation. He says, oh yeah, I know
how that’s going to end. You know how? 96% of the time,
if it starts off gentle and kind, it will
end gentle and kind. If you want to get what you
want, ask for it in a nice way. I mean, that’s kind of
a no brainer, right? But that’s not
always what happens. Here’s another thing
about the first skill. Who do you think
is most often going to bring up conflict in
a relationship, the man or the woman? It’s the woman, yeah. You were like. Yes, it is the woman. Most of the time, the
female is going to complain. And that’s absolutely true. Skill number two, people
who are starting a conflict conversation, they are
making repairs all the time. So you may start off with
a you always or you never, but that doesn’t mean that
you have to be doomed. You can make repair and you can
turn that conversation around. So if you imagine
being a truck driver, have you ever seen
those ramps where the trucks when they
lose their brakes, they have to go up the ramp? That’s sort of what
a repair attempt is. It’s using that ramp to stop
the trajectory, and the speed, and the momentum of
the conversation. So you’re using a repair
attempt and you’re saying, you know what, I really think
we’re going off track here. I think I need to start over. Or you know what,
I’m really sorry, I used a blaming statement there,
I’d like to turn this around. So there is an entire
sheet of repair attempts. And it feels a little
weird at first. And when I say
entire sheet, there’s an entire page of
repair attempts in here that you can use when you start
to notice that the conversation is getting derailed. What makes the repair
attempts so powerful is whether or not you have
that foundation of friendship. So you can use a repair
attempt, but your partner won’t hear that unless you
have a strong foundation of a friendship, which
is why Dr. Gottman said it’s so important. So if you’re using
a repair attempt, I use this as an example. Two of my friends are driving
in a car, I’m in the backseat. They bicker back and forth,
they’re going, going, going. I’m not paying any attention,
I’m probably on Facebook on my phone. And all of a sudden,
the car gets silent. And I look up and I notice that
the driver is staring straight ahead, passenger is
staring out the window. And me as a couples therapist,
I’m like, ooh, this is juicy. What’s going to happen? So about 30 seconds go by and
the tension is really high. And then all a sudden,
passenger turns around and licks the driver from
his jaw up to his ear. It’s disgusting, right? But do you know what that was? It was a repair attempt. Believe it or not. So a repair attempt
is anything that you do to take something
that’s getting derailed, a conversation, an
interaction, and change it. Did he accept the
repair attempt? Absolutely. How could you not? How could you ignore
a lick on the face? Anyway, I digress. You can make repair attempts,
but what makes it most potent is whether or not you have
that friendship foundation and whether or not your
partner accepts your repair. OK, so we talked about flooding
a little bit when we were talking about stonewalling. What ends up
happening when you’re getting emotionally flooded? So being emotionally flooded
can feel a lot of different ways for different people. You can get a tightness
in your chest. So imagine that you’re
having a conflict conversation with your partner
and it’s really, really going bad. In your head, you’re thinking,
oh no, not this again. And maybe your
partner just thinks if I just raise my voice, he’ll
hear me eventually, right? Or maybe I should just
throw a few things to get his attention. So you might start to feel
physiologically aroused. So your heart starts beating,
your face might feel flushed, you might start sweating a lot. Or maybe you start
to get tunnel vision. Have you ever had road rage
so bad where you literally didn’t, I mean, it’s Seattle,
so I’m sure all of us have had road rage
at some point. But where you almost feel
as if, like, you lose vision or you can’t hear any longer or
your heart is just pounding out of your chest? That’s what it feels
like to be flooded. But the masters are
recognizing before they get flooded that they need
to do some psychological and physiological self-soothing,
which means that they’re stopping the conversation. Now this feels a little
weird for some people. Well, if we stop
the conversation we’ll never get back to it. The rule of thumb is if
we stop the conversation, we’re coming back
to it in 20 minutes. So one of you indicates I’m
feeling, I’m feeling flooded, we need to take a break. And they go their separate ways. In order to take a break
where your body is going to be able to self-soothe
and relax and come back down, you have to leave
your partner’s sight. So it’s not the two of you
sitting in silence staring at each other. You have to change the course
of where your mind is going. So you have to think about
something that’s pleasing. This is not an opportunity
to formulate your rebuttal. So you’re going
to start thinking about ponies and rainbows and
all those wonderful things. So I’m just curious,
for you guys, what do you do to calm down? What do you do to soothe? You go for a walk? Walk the dog? Facebook? I know, I do it too. Clean, take a shower, work out. What’s that? Cook? Awesome, come to my house. We’ll all cook together. Yeah. So you’re going to
do something that is soothing for 20
minutes, and then you’re going to come back
to the conversation. And by that point, here’s
the interesting part. Why is it that we’re
taking a break? What is it about flooding
that you have to take a break? It’s because you’re no longer
using your prefrontal cortex. You literally flip your lid. Your body says I’m
in fight or flight, I can’t use my
prefrontal cortex, I need to use my
reptilian brain now because this is
going to save me. So now you’re using
the back of your brain and you’re not able to
have a conversation that is logical with your partner. What ends up happening
and why people get hurt so badly in
conversations where they are flooded
is that they keep trying to have the conversation,
but they’re no longer using logic or reason. Has anybody seen
that YouTube clip, it’s these two one-year-old
babies, they’re twin boys. They’re in the kitchen,
they’re both in diapers, and they’re talking to
each other in baby babble. And one’s going blah, blah, blah
and then the other one, blah, blah, blah, blah. That’s what it looks like when
two adults are physiologically flooded, is there’s
nothing going on up here. It’s just babble at that point. So any questions about
self-soothing or flooding? AUDIENCE: [INAUDIBLE] LAURA HECK: Yeah. AUDIENCE: [INAUDIBLE] LAURA HECK: So what do
you do when you come back from your break and
your partner doesn’t want to discuss it anymore? It has to be an agreement. There has to be an
agreement that if you’re going to have this conversation
and one of you is feeling flooded and needs
to take a break, that it has to be an
agreement to come back to it. Because if it’s a conflict,
if it’s important to you to solve the problem, it’s
important to both of you. So it needs to be
a conversation. But sometimes your partner
may say, I’m still flooded or I’m really hurt. And at that point,
maybe you need to do some repairing in order
to get back to the point where you want to have
that conversation again. I think one of the
common misconceptions is the idea don’t
go to bed angry. This is actually really harmful. Because if you are so
worked up and you’re trying to solve the problem
and you’re no longer using your prefrontal cortex, now
you’re in your reptilian brain, but all you want to have
to do is solve the problem because we have
to go to bed, you end up exhausted the next day. You haven’t solved the problem. And now you don’t like
your partner anymore. So go to bed. Take a nap. Do what you need to do so
that you come back to it. Not all arguments or conflicts
will be solved in the moment. It might take a couple of days
to work through a conflict. But being able to respect
when your partner is flooded is number one, and recognize
that they need to self-soothe. OK. So what do you do if you
do have a solvable problem? 31% of those solvable problems. How do you actually go
through to solve them? This is something
that we recommend is that you draw these
circles on a piece of paper and the circle in the inside
is your inflexible area. So let’s just pick
a solvable problem. What are we going to solve? Car? So my husband wants
to get, what’s that? What movie to see? I need something that’s
a little juicier. I’m going to go with car
just because it sort of has some value systems around money. So let’s say that my husband
wants to get the new Tesla that just came out. And I want to buy the
used minivan for $5,000. You’re giggling,
but that happened. So what’s happening is the
two of us need a new vehicle and he wants to get the Tesla. I don’t even know
how much Teslas run, but they’re expensive, right? So he wants to
get the new Tesla, I want to get the minivan. It’s all sort of
grounded in money. I kind of have money issues. I’m the saver, he’s the spender. That’s a perpetual
problem that comes up a lot in relationships. But we need to actually solve
it because we need a vehicle. So my areas of
inflexibility are going to be the areas that if I was
to compromise on these issues, it would feel as
if I was breaking the bones of my own body because
it was so tied of my values system, so tied to
my worldview, so tied to who I am as a human being
that if I was to compromise, I would have the same argument
with him two months from now. So I’m going to write
in the center circle that I think it is incredibly
important that we only pay cash for cars. That’s just a value system. Dave Ramsey taught me that. So he’s going to put
in his inner circle that his core need, his
core desire is tied to, what would be my husband’s
core need for this, I was going to say to look
cool, but maybe his core need is that he’s worked really,
really hard to become a VP and now that he’s there,
he needs a car that also represents that he’s a VP. So maybe that’s his core need,
is like this feeling of status or this feeling of
needing to reward himself for his hard work. So now that we have our core
areas of inflexibility, now we’re going to talk about what
the areas of flexibility are. So my area of flexibility
is I’m flexible on the color of the car, I’m flexible
on whether or not it’s four wheel drive, I’m
flexible whether or not we don’t get a minivan,
it doesn’t have to do with the sliding door. But maybe my area
of inflexibility might be that I don’t want to
spend any more than $30,000 on a car. So then he’s like, oh
boy, that Tesla’s not happening any time soon. So this is how you
find common ground. The most important piece
about this exercise is that the two of
you are putting down the pieces that are
most important to you and those are sort
of like, we’re not willing to yield on these. Being willing to
yield is important, but the inner circle,
it’s small for a reason. You don’t want to have too
many areas of inflexibility. The goal is wanting to
compromise with your partner. But if you indicate
what areas it is that if you were
to yield on it, it would feel as if you’re
breaking your own bones, why would you want to compromise
your partner’s values in order to get what you want? Any steps about this area? OK, so now we’re
at principle six. We’ve gone through some of
the friendship foundation. We’ve talked a little bit
about yielding to your partner. Now we’re overcoming gridlock. So there’s perpetual
problems in the relationship and there are solvable
problems in the relationship. But sometimes you get
really gridlocked. You know that you’re feeling
gridlocked on an issue because every time it
comes up, all of a sudden, you feel like oh,
not this again. Or you go from 0
to 60 within, like, two seconds of talking
about that topic. Or you feel even more
polarized, like you started off pretty close, you were
almost willing to negotiate, but now that you’re
gridlocked, you guys are on total opposite ends. You lose your sense
of humor, you’re no longer willing to
negotiate with your partner. What do you do? The masters figured
out that in order to overcome gridlock
in relationships, you have to suspend the
desire to solve that problem and see from your
partner’s perspective. We call this empathy. So one of the things
that couples can do is that you can sit on
opposite sides of the couch and you can say, I
understand that we’re pretty gridlocked on
this issue, and I’m willing to hear
your perspective. In every argument
and disagreement there are two perspectives. Both of them are correct,
both of them are right. You feel so strongly
about this side and he feels so
strongly about this side that you have to be willing
to understand what is it, why are you so, why are
you so focused on this? Why is this so important? And if you’re willing
to hear your partner and they’re willing to
hear you, suddenly you have much more respect for where
your partner’s perspective is coming from. So what we ask for couples
to do is they take turns. One couple will
start off, and you’ll ask questions like, tell me why
this is so important to you. Tell me why you are so
focused on this one thing. I’m really curious. You’re suspending judgment,
you’re suspending the desire to solve the problem, and all
you’re doing is listening. It’s incredible
when you see people who are fighting, if you
give them the opportunity to just state their perspective
in full without someone interjecting or poking
holes in them, how amazing that starts to
de-escalate everything. So one partner takes turns. Maybe it’s 10 minutes. And all you do is just listen. Tell me your perspective. From your perspective,
why is this important? And when they’re done, you
state back and you say, so this is what I think
is your perspective, this is what I hear you
saying, and then you swap. And the other person gets
to share their perspective. Did you solve the problem? Not at all. All you did was
had the opportunity to share why it was
so important to you. This is the last
and final principle, and then you all can
leave me for the day. So once you have
learned to master a friendship in
your relationship and you have learned to
master how to solve conflict in a healthy way,
the final way is to create meaning in
your relationship. So couples come in and they
say, is this all that there is. We just procreate,
we have babies, we see family and
friends on the weekends. And is this really all there is? I go to work, I come home. Like, it feels like
we’re roommates. There’s nothing really
substantial to our relationship that’s creating meaning. And Dr. Gottman found that
for healthy, happy, thriving couples, they’re
creating meaning in a lot of different ways. They’re moving
from I or me to we. And the way that you create
we in your relationship is to look at
these four pillars. Number one is rituals. You can create rituals
in your relationship that create beautiful meaning,
but more importantly, it creates an
opportunity to connect on a really reliable
time and space. So a ritual in our
household is in the morning, when my baby wakes, up
husband hears the baby and me waking up, and he
brings me up a cup of coffee. And we play in the big
family bed for 10 minutes. It’s wonderful. I look forward to it,
he looks forward to it. I feel cared for and we
have connected first thing in the morning. Another ritual that I
really like is one partner, I had a couple come to me and
they started every evening, once the kids went to bed,
he would put the tea kettle on the stove. And by the time it was
done and whistling, the wife would come
in and they would sit on opposite
sides of the couch and they would sip on
their tea, and they would massage each other’s feet
and catch up about the day. Right? How many of you would like that? So that’s a ritual that
they are looking forward to. It’s something that’s unique and
special to their relationship. But it’s also something
that they have as a time that they can connect
every single day. Roles. How do you make roles
unique and special in the family within
this relationship? You can ask one another,
what do you want your role as husband to be? Like, what did you
envision as a husband? Did you envision being
the emotional person in the relationship
or did you envision providing for the family? And if that’s what you envision,
how can we make this happen? Or a role in the family might
be that you’re the caretaker. So every time somebody
gets sick, and this is true in my family. I’m not the
caretaker, by the way. But I have a step-mom
and she’s incredible. She is the caretaker
for the entire block. That was something that is
unique and special for her. And everybody embraces that. So she takes care of everybody. When somebody gets
sick, they are pampered. They have the special blankie,
they have the Neti pot, they have, like, feet warmers. I mean, she goes
above and beyond. But that’s a role that is really
special to her that has created meaning in their relationship. Common goals. You know where John and
Julie Gottman are right now? They’re hiking, they’re
actually backpacking. For those of you that don’t
know, John is in his 70s now and Julie loves to hike. And that’s something
that she does. And John likes to say that
he’s not willing to go anywhere unless there’s room service. But John’s hiking, which
is pretty incredible. So they have this common goal. And he’s joining Julie on this
goal that she has of hiking. Even more is that when John
and Julie met each other, Julie had this
goal, I want to help as many couples as possible. John had the research,
Julie had the know how. They came together and
they created a special goal and meaning around
their relationship that they are going
to touch as many lives possible, and look at them now. So the final pillar
is symbols, and this would be things that have shared
meaning in your relationship. It might be a cross, it
might be a family portrait, but it’s a tangible
item that has meaning of the we
within the relationship. So Dr. Gottman says
that this is really like the top of the house,
that once you have built this foundation and the
pillars of this relationship, creating shared
meaning is really like the top of the house. And thus, there are
the seven principles for making your marriage work. So I will entertain,
I recognize that we’re four minutes over 1 o’clock. I have about 10 minutes
that I can answer questions if you have any questions
about the seven principles. And I’ll stick around. AUDIENCE: [INAUDIBLE] Googlers. How can we help? I mean, what can a company like
Google with our technologies, with our power do
to help people? LAURA HECK: What can
you do at Google? How can your skill set
help touch people’s lives? Well, you have a
very broad audience. And you have people who have
done incredible research and are really just
looking for that research to be sort of distilled
down, so as much as we can get that information out. So what we’re finding is
that John and Julie Gottman, they hold these
couples workshops. And people fly in from
all around the world. And they have 250 couples
attend these workshops. And they’re training
as many therapists as they can to get
this information out. But what’s really going
to broaden the audience is being able to use
technology to get it out there. Getting videos to
people, getting talks like this to the masses. That’s what I would say. AUDIENCE: So YouTube. LAURA HECK: Yeah, you bet. AUDIENCE: So perhaps except
for the licking part, are there any of those tips
or principles or guidelines not applicable to
workplace relationships? LAURA HECK: OK, so are
any of these principles not applicable to
workplace relationships? No, not a single one. They are all
directly applicable. Here’s what I’ll say about
workplace relationships, and I will say this specifically
between males and females, that if you have
a partner at home, you want to be comfortable or
careful about your boundaries. So the information that you’re
sharing with your partner is going to be different
with the information you’re sharing within a workplace. This is if you have, like,
male-female workplace coworkers. But all of these are
directly applicable, so knowing your coworker, asking
them open-ended questions. It’s really incredible
what can change with the dynamic of someone
that you’re working with. Let’s just say that you
only are coming together and all you have is
shop talk, just trying to solve problems related
to your work description. But if you happen to know
that this person really enjoys golf on the weekends
and you ask him, like, hey, did you happen to
go golfing this weekend and how are the kids or I know
that your birthday’s coming up. Knowing the inner pieces,
having a Love Map for the people that you work with is important. The other part is, have you
ever noticed this is the repair part, maybe you
said something that might have been misconstrued
or perhaps made your coworker upset in some way. You can use a repair to
get you back on track. So all of these are
directly applicable. Yeah. There isn’t research
that’s been done yet by Dr. Gottman on
that relationship, only on intimate
relationships, but there is a program that’s being
developed for coworkers in a professional setting. Any other questions? Yeah? AUDIENCE: Maybe you have advice. How to complain without
criticism, I think, is the way you phrased it. How do you complain,
I see how it’s better to describe how you’re
feeling and what bothers you instead of just saying
you always do this. LAURA HECK: Right. AUDIENCE: But even
that can sound passive aggressive and whiny. If you just use the
words the other way, it can still come
across as an attack. So how do you actually practice
communicating instead of just attacking passive aggressively? LAURA HECK: OK. So if you’re using
like an I statement. So passive aggressive. So part of the passive
aggressive piece is when people don’t take
ownership for something, and what we’re really asking
is that you’re taking ownership of what’s bothering you. And that’s OK. Because when things
store up, they sort of are like a volcano. They bubble to the surface. So we’re asking that people
take some ownership of something that’s bothering them
and use the I statements. So I’m upset about this, I’m
frustrated, I’m hurt, I’m sad, I’m lonely. And when you take
ownership of that, it loses the passive
aggressive piece because you’re really
not doing passive. You’re taking ownership. You’re being more assertive
in your relationship. So I’m lonely. I haven’t seen you for
the last three nights. That’s true, right? So you’re describing
what’s going on in a non-judgmental way. You’re simply stating
what’s going on. I haven’t seen you for the
last three nights, I’m lonely. I’d really like it if we could
schedule a date night sometime this week so that
we can reconnect. Or I was really hurt when
you didn’t introduce me to your boss this afternoon. I really would love to get to
know the people in your life that you’re spending
most of your day with. Do you mind if maybe we could
go out for dinner with him and his wife sometime next week? Whatever it might be. I don’t know if I
answered your question, but part of the piece
about complaining is that I’m not saying that
it’s not going to– nobody likes to complain, right? You don’t like to complain, you
don’t like to hear complaints, but what we’re trying
to do is that we’re trying to change the complaints
so that the criticism. So they’re not criticizing
your partner in a global way. You’re certainly going to
complain about this one thing right here and you’re not
going to store it up, rather than globalizing it and
criticizing your partner altogether. Any other questions? No? OK, I hope you guys enjoy
the rest of your work day.


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