DO. NOT. REACT.
Tips for surviving & mastering confrontation, with grace âin business & in love.
Pop quiz, people:
How do you drop an atom bomb of sudden, unexpected (and quite possibly, undesirable) information on someone you care about â without behaving like a cruel, dispassionate ogre?
AND! If youâre the unfortunate recipient of the aforementioned atom bomb, how do you respond with compassion â instead of setting off a furious chain reaction?
to answer these questions.
Out of the Blue.
Last May, a stranger named Alex tweeted me to say: âCongratulations on 30 years of partnership & loooove, @tinatessina! You're a marvel, a maven, & a romance inspiration.â And I responded: âI love that you said this, Alex! Let's be friends. I've just discovered you, but I love your amazing creativity and upbeat attitude. Want to write something together?â
Our musings & advice on what to do if youâre the Bomb Receiver is on her blog, today. But what if youâre the one dropping the bomb?
Here, we handle the other side:
If youâre the BOMB dropper . . .
STEP 1: BE A HUMAN BEING. Think about how your âbig newsâ is going to affect your partner, before you drop the bomb. Anticipate their fears & insecurities. Respect their need to cool off, before responding. And: be honest about whether or not your decision is FAIR. It might be selfish, unilateral, and not open to exploration. True? Then say so. Own the unfairness, and own the consequences.
STEP 2: KNOW YOUR âWHYâ. Do you know WHY youâve made the decision youâve made â and are you prepared to answer a LOT of (sane, reasonable, necessary) questions about it? By dropping a bomb, you need to put yourself in educator mode. Have your talking points ready. Havenât examined your motives & reasoning yet? Then youâre not ready to start dropping bombs, bucko! Get self-aware, first. Then make your declaration.
STEP 3: STAY OPEN TO POSSIBILITY. You think you want an open relationship â but maybe youâd be satisfied with more travel, adventure & independence in your current partnership. You think you want to sell the joint-business â but maybe you simply need to re-evaluate your roles & priorities, reaffirm your mission, or hire a competent assistant! Whatever it is thatâs urging you to drop a monster BOMB, thereâs almost always an alternative, cooperative solution . . . one that might keep your partnership alive. Stay open, playful & creative. A closed mind is an uncooperative mind.
NO MATTER WHAT . . .
Whether youâre the bomb dropper or the bomb dropee, remember that your first reaction to dramatic upheaval is generally your most explosive, your most childlike, and your most hurtful. Hit pause. Curl up. Cool down. Then respond . . . with as much compassion as you can muster. Now: what if youâre on the other side of the explosion â and youâre the one RECEIVING the bomb? Head over to Alexandra Franzenâs blog to find a trio of communication tips for those times when youâre the one getting broadsided with a big (and not-so-fun) announcement.
Learn more about Alexandra Franzen . . . . . . at AlexandraFranzen.com. Youâll find (free!) self-discovery & communication tools, inspiring scripts for life, love & business, and musings on entrepreneurship, self-expression & creativity on her blog: UnicornsForSocialism.com.
Learn more about handling relationships and conflict: How To Be a Couple and Still Be Free
Tina B. Tessina, Ph.D., "Dr. Romance," is a licensed psychotherapist in private practice in Long Beach, Calif. since 1978 and author of 13 books in 17 languages,Â includingÂ The Unofficial Guide to Dating AgainÂ andÂ Lovestyles: How to Celebrate Your Differences.Â She publishes theÂ Happiness Tips from TinaÂ email newsletter, and theÂ Dr. RomanceÂ Blog. She has written for and been interviewed in many national publications, and she has appeared on Oprah, Larry King Live and many other TV and radio shows.