The role of the Inquirer is to be an effective listener. In doing so, you are inquiring into your partner’s world. The inquirer needs to:
- Listen calmly and actively and recap a description of the issue. Don’t defend, argue or cross complain. Remind yourself that you do not have to personalize what you are hearing.
- Ask questions aimed at understanding your partner’s feelings, thoughts and desires. Develop an interested and curious state of mind. Ask questions designed to really understand your partner’s expereince.
- Respond with empathy. Do your best to put yourself in your partner’s shoes.
- Continue with validating and empathic responses until a soothing moment has occured. You can hold onto yourself while at the same time imagining what your partner’s reality is. Keep reminding yourself that your partner is a separate person with their own reality.
Below are the skills that are present along the Inquirer Continuum. They range from less mature listening skills to more mature. Can you identify where you fall?
- I’d ranter my partner keep things to themselves versus bringing up a concern.
- I start to argue and defend myself when I listen to my partner.
- I assume I have done something wrong even if I am not being blamed.
- I automatically try to fix things or find a solution in order to alleviate the tension I feel.
- I actively work at listening, reminding myself to stay calm.
- I mirror back the thoughts and feelings to be sure I have an accurate reading of my partner’s world.
- I ask questions designed to deepen my understanding of my partner.
- I remain fairly calm. I remind myself not to take things personally. I continue to think productively and ask questions.
- I understand that my partner is revealing a part of themselves. I get even more curious about this.
- I effortlessly respond with empathy and compassion.
- I can hold onto my values, beliefs, feelings, and perceptions while at the same time feeling empathy and showing nurturing concern for my partner even when I disagree with them.
- I stay in touch with my own strength as I hold onto myself, while at the same time I show empathy for my partner.
In our next blog, we will explore the “Engagement Continuum”. Until then, peace.