Understand the Other Person’s Perspective to Improve Relationships
Men rarely have the natural abilities and skills to know how to have open, lasting, loving relationships and how to communicate in ways that bring the two of you closer. It’s important to understand the other person’s perspective to improve relationships.
Actually, this article is for women, so if you’re a man, you can skip it… or you can read along and tell me if I’m way off base.
This isn’t some REALLY BIG revelation for most of us, but it can be easily forgotten.
Don’t get me wrong, men really do want those things, they just don’t know how to go about it. Sooo, if you want that kind of relationship, it’s up to you – girlfriend! (as one of mine says to me:))
Relationships are Complicated
I can’t say that enough. Even under the best of circumstances relationships are complicated, we all know that. We tend to get drawn into the day-to-day tasks of life, often the tedious tasks of each particular day seem to take over, and we forget to do for others the common courtesies that we appreciate so much.
Say your man calls…or texts… in the middle of the day. You are up to your eyeballs in deadlines and ringing phones and other stress-generating tell him …‘I’ve got to get ready for this meeting right now, I’ll call you in about 2 hours.’ or ‘I gotta talk to a client really quick – I’ll call you right back.’
Work with me here…I know texting is very abbreviated ‘conversation’, if you can call it that. It’s also a very easy place to have misunderstandings, believe me! But I digress….
What ends up happening? One thing after another comes up and you never get back to calling them. Before you know it the day is gone and you’re just glad to go home.
Yes, it’s rude to treat a loved one this way. Often times it’s unintentional.
Maybe the reception you get at home is no bed of roses. Your man may have been dealing with his own ‘stuff’ all day and really needed a soft place to land when he called you. Just for a bit. But it didn’t happen.
OR maybe it was you that called needing an encouraging word and SOMEone who just believed in you when you were having a lousy day. We’ve all been there.
At any rate, there is frustration in the air when you arrive home and now you have more ‘stuff’ to deal with – you recognize the feelings – disappointment, annoyance, dissatisfaction, irritation, aggravation… yikes! Squabble Central if you’re not careful.
In other words: Seek understanding before seeking to be understood. Before you say anything you might regret later TAKE A DEEP BREATH. Remember what I said before – understand the other person’s perspective to improve relationships.
Seek Understanding Before Seeking to be Understood
Think about what they are dealing with, what’s important to them, what they like and dislike and what they want from you. When you think about their judgments, opinions and expectations you will be able to have some insight into their world and have an easier time relating to them.
Now before you think I’m crazy let me give a confession – I’m writing this because I’ve had to remember the very things I’m telling you. In fact, as I was living it out I thought it might be something that you might need reminding of as well.
I’ve always firmly believed that a home should be the safe haven from the trials and tribulations of the world. You know, the one place that you KNOW you can go and get compassion and understanding and a sense that you are loved and appreciated.
And a gentle dose of straightening out when it’s warranted. (I have a dear friend who would listen to my story and then tell me to ‘cowgirl up’ whenever I’d call him in the midst of a pity party over some episode I was dealing with. MAN I’d hate that! I wanted to wallow in my pity party instead of dole out appropriate actions.) Can you relate?
What Kind of Relationship Do You Want?
It’s up to you to set the tone for the kind of relationship you want. One person’s reaction to another can change the whole direction of a conversation…and a relationship.
In this case I’m talking to women, but it also applies equally to men.
I’ll say it again…men rarely have the natural abilities and skills to know how to have open, lasting and loving relationships. And if they do, there is a good likelihood that somewhere along the way they received harsh treatment that made them shutdown.
Which means you have to CONSISTENTLY show him you aren’t’ going to react with emotions at every turn….but that’s another topic altogether. I digress again…sorry:)
Back to the point. Look at situations from the other person’s perspective before you react.
Home should be the safe place any of us can count on when things are crazy in our outside worlds. Let me give you some Biblical examples to back up my ideas-
Proverbs 21:19 Better to dwell in the wilderness than with a contentious and angry woman.
Proverbs 21:9 Better to dwell in a corner of a housetop than in a house shared with a contentious woman.
Proverbs 25:24 Better to dwell in a corner of a housetop than in a house shared with a contentious woman.
WOW. Are you getting this?
Women are more powerful than we give ourselves credit for. The man may be the head of the house, but women can be thought of as the neck…the head doesn’t turn without the neck. And we can turn their heads any way we like by our composure (think self control).
But to use the ‘other person’s perspective’ idea here, turn these words of wisdom around. How drawn are you to live in a house with contentious or angry man? Not very. Probably not at all. I hope not, anyway.
You probably think I’m telling you to turn into a doormat. HARDLY. You can still bring up the tough stuff, but give him a positive experience where he’d normally expect a negative one. That makes you rare and unique. How do you do this?
- Set a positive emotional tone. You’ll set yourself apart in his mind. Life will be easier because he doesn’t have to fight battles at work and at home, too. That draws a man in.
- Keep your emotions in check. Men don’t understand or receive emotional outbursts very well at all – especially if they don’t know where they are coming from.
- Be flexible. Many times men just want to be understood and appreciated. If a man can see that you’re trying to see things from his point of view it will have a big impact. When it’s really important, by all means speak up. But in a kind, from-the-heart perspective.
If you learn to communicate this way, your man will naturally be drawn to you, and if you do it consistently, you set yourself apart from all the other women who try to get their man with drama.
Maybe you’ve noticed that drama doesn’t work. It only makes a man withdraw. Remember the ‘living on the corner of a housetop (meaning the roof) instead of actually in the house’ wisdom? (Pam’s translation, here:))
By seeking to understand before seeking to be understood and by being critically aware of your emotions and your interactions with a man, you’ll do two things: one, he’ll realize that you have it together and will be an asset – his life will be easier.
Second, on that rare occasion when your emotions do get the best of you, because he knows this isn’t your normal way of communicating, he’ll be more receptive (less likely to withdraw) when something gets you fired up!
I know this is a lot of information, but stick with it.
If you want to learn the very best in understanding our uniquely individual communication styles. look to the menu on the right. There you will find books and personality assessments that will help you learn how to understand yourself the people in your life in a matter of minutes instead of months.
And prayer.You will be amazed at the difference it makes!
What do you think of this article? Do you have a comment to add?
(This article was originally posted at HappyPeople Enterprises.com in 2010. Adapted slightly, and reprinted with permission…because I wrote it!)
Pam is an experienced, professional, freelance B2B copywriter, consultant and trainer. She blends her love of studying God’s Word and interests in natural beauty, health and home alternatives and communication skills to bring you resources to improve your everyday life. You can also find her at