Balance in a Relationship is Key
Every relationship, from friend to relative to significant other, should be a fairly balanced give-and-take of listening and being listened to. A healthy relationship is about you being there for someone else; and, the other person being there for you – sort of a seesaw that swings up-and-down and back-and-forth across time. Over a given week or month, if you reflect back you should see (and feel) this balance – if it’s not there, it’s time to have a heart-to-heart to see if balance can be restored or established. Most likely, you’ll be the one starting the conversation – since it’s usually the other person’s over-consumption of talk time that’s causing the problem.
Your Next Best Steps
- Informally, you can start each conversation with a “heads up” about sharing time. For example “Jane, I’d like to hear what’s going on with you, yet spend the last 15-minutes telling you about what’s going on with me.” Then, be ready to jump in after her 15-minutes to swing the seesaw the other direction.
- More formally, you’ll need a private space and time to address the out-of-whack dynamics. Schedule a time with the other person, then start the conversation from a place of heart, a place of win-win. “I’d like for us to be more connected. My sense is that I’m spending more time listening to what’s going on in your life and not having equal time to share what’s going on with me. Do you feel that you can be there for me in the same way that I’m there for you?” Hopefully this is followed by more conversation, but the other person may not be able/willing to do this and you’ll need to release this one-sided relationship.
- If you’re the quieter (or more introverted one) you may need to learn how to jump in or to stop the other person when they interrupt. Some useful phrases are: “I need for you to hear me,” “Please let me finish,” or “I’d like for you to hear how things are for me as well … can I jump in?”
Photo - Creative Commons (RP Norris “There’s a Park Nearby”)