OK, I hope you’ve read the first three blogs because here comes a pop quiz:
Fifi says to Biff, “I feel like you’re seeing my sister Gigi on the side.” Fifi is angry and crying and is ready to throw a coffee cup at Biff.
What should Biff do?
- Tell her that she is crazy and doesn’t know what she is talking about?
- Tell her “that is really a thought and it is not a feeling so because you are so stupid I don’t have to listen to your lies”.
- Say, “Wow, I didn’t realize you were afraid I would do that to you. How can I show you I’m faithful to you so you never think that again”.
- Say, “Well, if you really believe that, I might as well do it. On top of that, I should probably sleep with your other sister, Mimi, too.”
Go through each option and predict what Fifi’s reaction will be. What is her thought or interpretation of Biff’s statement? Then, based on her thought, what does she feel? Mad? Sad? Glad? Scared? Does the fight escalate or deescalate? Which would you prefer?
Really take a close look at option B. Biff would be correct that she is describing a thought, but pointing that out will lead down a road you might not want to travel.
Look back at the other blogs to better understand the difference between thoughts and feelings. You will see that C is the best answer for the question. Biff does not correct Fifi, but understands she is afraid. Then he knows what to do. He takes care of her heart by responding to the feeling. Yes, Fifi could state her fears better, but there are times that you have to respond with caring to poorly structured comminicatins.
In the correct response, Biff worked the communication cycle backward. He understood the feeling Fifi was trying to communicate instead of responding to a false accusation. This is better than defending himself and this situation can be resolved more easily.