Since reading about NVC, I’ve noticed that people often express their needs or wants hidden inside strategies. For example, someone might say “shut the door”, instead of saying “I’m cold, and I want to be warm”.
There are a few problems with presenting strategies to people:
* hiding my needs inside strategies is likely to make it harder to get them met.
* telling someone what to do is often met with resistance.
* the person with the strategy can get attached to their plan, and forget what they wanted to achieve.
For example, if A is feeling lonely and wants company:
A - Let’s watch a movie tonight (express need inside a strategy)
B - We watched one just the other night, I want to go out with Alan tonight.
A - You always see Alan, stay in tonight with me (is attached to the strategy).
B - What is the problem with Alan? (conversation moves further away from A’s needs)
If A felt able to express their feeling about their needs - instead of presenting a pre thought out strategy, it might be more like this:
A - I feel a bit lonely tonight, I want to have company (expresses needs).
B - OK, well I was planning to go out with Alan, do you want to come? (creates a strategy to fulfill A’s needs)
A - Can I bring a friend?
B - Sure, let’s meet at 8.
In this way B gets to fulfil A’s needs with their own plan, and A gets their needs satisfied.
Often we are not even clear about what we are wanting or needing! The strategy can just pop into our heads fully formed. Then all we want is for that particular plan to be fulfilled, even if it doesn’t actually get us what we want. By being aware of our feelings and expressing them clearly - we can become happier and more fulfilled!