Sarah and Paul had been in a relationship on and off for years. They were making a new attempt with the assistance of Real Love.
Sarah spent one Saturday with Paul, and toward the end of the day, Paul asked her if she’d like to spend the night—in a separate room—so they could spend part of the next day together too. Saturday night he told me that he had simply made a request, but later the same night she reported that he had pressured her to stay. They had a history of many arguments that had begun in a similar way.
He vigorously denied pressuring her, so I asked him exactly what he’d said, word for word. Among the things he’d said were the following:
“It would be nice if you’d stay.”
“The kids would like to see you.”
“During the holidays, you don’t want to be out on the roads on a Saturday night.”
“I really hope you’ll stay the night.”
“It would be no trouble at all if you stay.”
In Paul’s mind, he was making a genuine request, but it wasn’t. How do I know? Because a genuine request looks like this: “Would you like to spend some more time here tomorrow? If so, you could stay here for the night.”
But Paul didn’t make a simple and direct request. He justified his request and supplied reasons that would convince her to accept it. He used PERSUASION instead of simply giving her information and making a request. She accurately felt his persuasion as pressure.
We need to be aware of how easily we slip into persuasion, because we do it—and the people around us do it—nearly every day. Any pressure at all is incompatible with genuinely caring for the other person—love—and detracts from the true sense of connection in any relationship.
Find genuine happiness now and forever.
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