NLP and Arguments

Filed Under (Life Coaching & NLP) on 02-04-2010

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Why do arguments tend to escalate and nothing gets resolved anyway?

I’ll take you through one of many reasons with NLP.  People are naturally different and their differences sometimes show up most strongly in arguments.  

Sensing it: Each person represents the world around him/her through the senses: seeing [visual], hearing [auditory], feeling [kinesthetic – even though some theories argue that the sense of feeling doesn’t exist, I include it for completeness of my point], smelling [olfactory], and tasting [gustatory].   Although there’re a few well balanced individuals, most people have some of these senses developed more strongly and use them more often.  Most people don’t realize that they have some senses more strongly developed and naturally use them more often.  But they do so whether they realize it or not.  One way which will reliably tell others how we use these senses is through our language – the words we think in our heads and the words we speak.  And this is what’s relevant to arguments.

Here are NLP examples of how this works:

If someone is predominantly VISUAL, this person’s language will contain phrases like:

  • a way of looking at
  • a different perspective
  • point of view
  • crystal clear
  • paint a picture
  • sketch an outline
  • fill in the details
  • shed some light on …
  • clear as mud
  • see right through it
  • making a spectacle of himself

See what I’m getting at?

If someone is predominantly AUDITORY, some of the following phrases will sound familiar:

  • rattle around in my head
  • give me a buzz
  • music to my ears
  • tone it down
  • speaking the same language
  • on the same wavelength
  • in harmony
  • have it drummed into you
  • calling the tune / shots
  • shouting the odds

If someone is prevalently KINESTHETIC – and OLFACTORY and GUSTATORY belong here, this person will express it through some of these phrases:

  • dig your heels in
  • get to grips with
  • get a handle on
  • rub you up the wrong way
  • get up your nose
  • get on your nerves
  • let your hair down
  • a pain in the neck / or other parts of the body
  • develop a taste for
  • get your teeth into
  • on the tip of my tongue
  • get a flavor of
  • a bitter pill to swallow
  • bit off more than you can chew
  • chew it over
  • stir it up
  • allow it to settle

And now to arguments:

Let’s say Bill and Ann are arguing.

Ann: “Look how many times I’ve had to show you this.  And you still don’t get the picture!”

Bill: “It’s pretty tough when you’re always throwing all these things at me!”

See how each person sounds differently and yet they both feel they’re right?  So here’s how we can translate this point to each person according to their way of seeing or grasping it:

Translation from Ann to Bill: “Bill, no matter how hard Ann tries to explain this to you, she’s afraid you might not grasp it.”

Translation from Bill to Ann: “Bill really wants to see eye to eye with you Ann, but it seems like you keep painting over the picture before he’s really had a chance to look at it.”

This requires practice, because people will first need to familiarize themselves with the linguistic phrases that pertain to each of our senses.  So the next time the odd couple argues, they’re not going to stand there with their crib lists and circle words appropriate for the other person’s grasp!  But every journey begins with one step.  You’ve made your first one by reading this.  Your next step is to ask yourself what’s stopping you from taking this principle up in your daily life at your comfortable pace.  If you do, you’ll be rewarded – with sharper observational skills, and preventing a lot of arguments!  How would that be?

Contact me for more help with how NLP can resolve arguments.

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