On Communication – Part 2

Written by Adrian Cunanan

May 2, 2018

Part 2: Compassionate Communication (aka Nonviolent Communication)

See: https://experiencelife.com/article/compassionate-communication/

From: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nonviolent_Communication:

  • Observation: the facts (what we are seeing, hearing, or touching) as distinct from our evaluation of meaning and significance. NVC discourages static generalizations. It is said that “When we combine observation with evaluation others are apt to hear criticism and resist what we are saying.” Instead, a focus on observations specific to time and context is recommended.

  • Feelings: emotions or sensations, free of thought and story. These are to be distinguished from thoughts (e.g., “I feel I didn’t get a fair deal”) and from words colloquially used as feelings but which convey what we think we are (e.g., “inadequate”), how we think others are evaluating us (e.g., “unimportant”), or what we think others are doing to us (e.g., “misunderstood”, “ignored”). Feelings are said to reflect whether we are experiencing our needs as met or unmet. Identifying feelings is said to allow us to more easily connect with one another, and “Allowing ourselves to be vulnerable by expressing our feelings can help resolve conflicts.”

  • Needs: universal human needs, as distinct from particular strategies for meeting needs. It is posited that “Everything we do is in service of our needs.”

  • Request: request for a specific action, free of demand. Requests are distinguished from demands in that one is open to hearing a response of “no” without this triggering an attempt to force the matter. If one makes a request and receives a “no” it is recommended not that one give up, but that one empathize with what is preventing the other person from saying “yes,” before deciding how to continue the conversation. It is recommended that requests use clear, positive, concrete action language.


“I Love You” AND Hug


It seemed like you were upset during our conversation and I thought I heard you say that you felt like I was not listening and I was trying to give you a solution.


That made me feel frustrated because I know the only way to truly solve a problem is to seek to understand by listening and that I remember that sometimes you just need to vent so I need to listen in a different way that is still new to me and I am still working to improve on this new skill.  Also, it disappoints me because I am not perfect yet and it seems like you see none of my effort to improve.


I need to remember that there is more than one way to listen, that there are other ways to be supportive than problem-solving, and although I will never be perfect I should and can only do my best in the moment.


I am asking you to patiently remind me by using the key phrase “Opportunity to Connect (with Optimal Listening)” at the beginning of a conversation or reactively when I forget to use connection-centric listening?


[Wait for Response]


“I Love You” AND Hug

Related Articles

Start With Why

Start With Why

We failed… I started a company in 2012. The company set out to revolutionize behavioral healthcare. Closed the company in 2016. This is my attempt to document and pass on my learnings along the way. My experience spans a range including Entrepreneurship/Product...

On Communication – Part 3

On Communication – Part 3

Part 3: The Science From: https://hbr.org/2016/07/what-great-listeners-actually-do Of course, there are different levels of listening. Not every conversation requires the highest levels of listening, but many conversations would benefit from greater focus and...