Question:I’m wondering how one would actually make one the requests outlined in the book as un-NVC: “I’d like you to respect my privacy.” Yes, in one particular instance this could mean knocking on the door, but how would I make the more general need known? There are many times when it is not reasonable to expect an exact expression of what action is required to be possible.
Answer:Often we do want to make more general requests and we don’t know how to outline the exact actions. And in my experience it’s likely that when we’re in that boat, the other person usual is too and wouldn’t know quite what to do either. Maybe in the case of privacy you could try: “When you came in without knocking I felt frustrated because I’m needing some peace and space for myself. I would like you knock on the door when you come in, and I’m also concerned because I’m thinking that the issue is bigger than that. Would you be willing to hear me out about what I want until it seems like we’re both on the same page about this?” or maybe “I’d like to talk to you about privacy, and what it would take for me to feel resolved about this issue and then have you tell me what you understood from what I said.”
On the privacy issue, that second one confuses me even though I know what you’re trying to say. I’d expect a head to be scratched. The first one sounds more promising; it seems like a good beginning, but the question is where to go from there. The central problem remains.
Answer to Followup Question:
Agreed. I think figuring out what to do when something’s important to us and we don’t really know the actions that would lead to us getting it is a bit of a conundrum that NVC doesn’t have a magic solution for.