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CONTEXT also influences how we interpret the "data"

Words, gestures, actions, behaviors, tone of voice, volume, lack of words/actions

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Examples of bringing curiosity to the various parts of your experience as well as bringing curiosity to the other person's experience

REACTION: I notice I am starting to shut down.

Check in with self: What’s that about for me? 

Data: I heard the words x and y. 

Meaning/interpretation: I heard that as a criticism.

SKILL Check it out: Can you clarify what you meant by…. or

SHARE AND CHECK IT OUT: I am hearing it as a criticism. Is that what you meant?


FEELING: I notice I am feeling anxious. 

SKILL CHECK IN WITH SELF:  What did I hear or interpret?

MEANING/INTERPRETATION: I am interpreting your words to mean…

SKILL: Can I check that out? What was your intention in saying ….?



DATA: I notice you are looking away. 

SKILL: Can I ask what is happening for you right now?



DATA: Hearing you say x and y 

FEELING: I am feeling hurt

MEANING/INTERPRETATION: I am interpreting you are judging me as being too much right now. 

SKILL CHECK IT OUT: Is that your experience right now?


DATA: Voice is loud, tone is sharp

MEANING/INTERPRETATION: The story my  mind makes up is you are not valuing what I am saying.

SKILL CHECK IT OUT: Is that accurate? If not, can you tell me about what is going on for you?



FEELING: I feel hurt.

REACTION:  I am starting to shutdown. I don’t want to do that.

SKILL CHECK IT OUT: Could we talk about what is going on without criticizing each other?

REACTION: I am getting defensive

SKILL CHECK IN WITH SELF: What's going on for me right now? What did I hear/interpret? 

DATA: I thought I heard a tone when you said

FEELING: I am getting defensive because I actually feel hurt.

MEANING/INTERPRETATION: I interpreted your tone to mean I was being dismissed.

REACTION: I am starting to blame you

FEELING: anxious

RESPONSE: I don't want to blame you. I am trying to be right here because I feel anxious and unsure

Notice the following themes when you communicate in this way:

  • The absence of blame towards others and yourself.

  • The absence of accusing, righteousness, and victimizing.

  • Ownership of your feelings rather than "you made me feel"

  • A sharing of yourself for the sake of understanding and connection.

  • Absence of winning, being right, or proving yourself.

  • Curiosity instead of unchecked assumptions, interpretations and conclusions.

  • Responding versus reacting.

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