The right way to complain. No kidding. There’s one that works.

Shortly after my husband and I were married, we found ourselves in deep doo-doo.  Great wedding.  “Uh Oh” on the rest of it.

So, Thank God! We found a class about relationship dynamics that has saved our lives, as a couple, over and over.  It also shed light on the dynamics of relating to people, in general.  Thank God, again.

We learned about something called a “Daily Temperature Reading”.  It was intended to be a time for a focused, check-in with one another, keeping us current during the tidal wave of life that swept us out into the rest of the world each day. All these years later, we don’t take our temperature as often as I would like but we know it’s in our “marriage tool kit” when we find ourselves needing a tune-up.

One aspect of the “Daily Temperature Reading” process was called:  Complaints with Request for Change

When we find ourselves feeling snarky about anything, this technique takes “complaining” out of the “nagging bitch department”, straight into “customer service/solutions.”

Here’s how it works:

First, you check in with your own state of mind and ASSUME GOOD WILL……on your part, as well as your partner’s.  Hurling a big furr ball of accusation is NOT part of this process. This is about creating greater clarity and fertile ground for growth.

That said:

1.  You state the facts, preferably at the same decibel level you use when asking someone to pass the salt.

“When we went to your work party last week, you kept walking off, leaving me alone and clueless, in a sea of people I did not know.”

2.  Here’s the kicker.

A.  You share what would fix it, for you. 

You don’t wait for the other person to come up with a solution to what is a problem for YOU.  Because, you see, if they didn’t  realize they were doing something that bothered you in the first place (and most people aren’t driving you nuts because they are trying to—–they are being clueless themselves) they are not going to know how to fix it either……unless you tell them.

B.  And, you ask for their “buy in” while sharing the solution.

It sounds something like this:

Would you be open to staying closer to me when we are at things like this?”  (asking for their consideration and cooperation—with the key words being—-“Would you be open?”)

“What if you could tap me on the elbow when you are ready to move to another person or group?  It would be our private signal to move along together. That way we could both make a graceful exit and I would not be left hanging with strangers, struggling to make conversation.” (the solutions that work for YOU)

Who could say “NO!” to that?

Using this tool has averted disaster between us at least a thousand times.  It takes things from “the big blurt” with hurt feelings and raised voices, where nothing gets resolved in the stone cold silence that follows……into real, live adult behavior. Not only does it solve the issue, it also gives us a greater confidence in our relationship, in general….in our love for one another, specifically AND in our increased faith  to weather anything the future may throw at us.

Try it.

You will feel more masterful, graceful and confident.

You will feel less bitchy and victimized.

You will feel kind AND powerful.

You will turn jangled into smooth.

“Complaints with Request for Change” is a tool that stimulates personal growth and awareness for each of you—-whether the issue involves husband, friend, other family members, or co-workers. This works with everyone.

It is a way to get so much more of what you want, all the time.

Pass it on.




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