Thursday, January 14, 2010

NVC in Practice

Yesterday I received an anonymous comment on the blog in regards to my list of 100 Things to Do in 2010.  The tone of the comment was less than friendly, and while I can agree to disagree, I felt that this comment added nothing to the discussion, and since this is my sandbox, I chose to delete it. 

If such an event had happened to me last year, I may have taken up the fight in the comments.  I would most likely have been hurt, and possibly have even edited the post in response to what was said.  It’s even possible that I would have taken a hiatus from putting anything on the blog for a while, and retreated back into the safe comfort of my living room.

However, doing that would not have helped me.  And I would not be able to share my process of applying the principles of NVC to my response to the comment.

In Chapter One of Non Violent Communication, Mr. Rosenberg outlines the four steps to take when engaging in a dialogue:

1. Observation.  What is being said or done that you like or don’t like?

2. State how you feel in relation to what you’ve observed.

3.What need is being met or isn’t being met because of the action you’ve observed?

4.What specific action can you ask for that will meet that need?

With these four steps in mind, I present the comment (“C”, the pertinent passages) and my response (“M”):

C: “How could you get stuck on feeding Koi? Surely fish feed is not expensive where you live??”

M: 1: “How could you get stuck”  2:Feels accusatory, and also I did not say that I felt stuck on feeding koi, just that that was number 38 on my list, 3: doesn’t meet my need for feeling understood and 4: I could ask that the commenter re-read my post to see that I did not say I felt stuck about the items on the list, rather the stuck was in making the items on the list. 

The commenter goes on to give a suggestion for how to feed koi without spending any money.  It’s actually a good suggestion (go to a local shop that sells koi and ask to feed them) and I probably would have left the comment up if that had been the only paragraph.  I also would have commented on how we have a local succulent greenhouse with a koi pond, and that I could drive out there this spring and do just what s/he suggested.

C: “It's silly to waste time drawing pretty lines around a goal like "Gain 10lbs of muscle" when I could use that time to actually work towards my goals.”

M: 1. “It’s silly to waste time drawing pretty lines” 2: feels judgmental, uses judgmental language “silly” ,“waste” 3. makes me feel defensive 4: and I don’t think an ask would get a result from an anonymous commenter (hey, I have said I am practicing).

I could say something like “I’m sorry that you feel it is a waste of time.”   I could ask “How do you keep track of what you want to accomplish?”  This would acknowledge that this person’s process is different than mine without making any judgment about the different ways we go about doing things. 

Applying the steps, and responding thoughtfully to what was said made today’s blog post possible, in more ways than one.  Thank you, Anonymous Commenter.

I don’t pretend that I have a full grasp on the process, and I’m sure I probably got some of the steps wrong, but that is why I am blogging it here each week, to help myself get a better understanding of how it works and how to apply it in all of my communications.  I invite you to pick up a copy of the book and read along. 


Emily said...

Thanks for showing us NVC in action, Andi!
1. (observing) I am enjoying reading your description.
2. (feeling) It makes me feel positive about learning NVC. It makes me feel more confident in my own use of NVC.
3. (needs) I need to read more and maybe practice working with NVC more actively. I would like to see more examples of other people working with NVC.
4. (request) Can I make a request of myself to try to do a little work with NVC every day in my journal? Yes! I can!

Anonymous said...

Instead of assuming it has a negative twinge and deleting comments, one could open up discussion there.

After all, that's what comments are for, right?

Censorship on 'iffy' comments loses readers.

Andrea Stern said...

I would be happy to engage in a dialogue with you "Anonymous" if I had a better idea who I was speaking with. :)