Interesting blog title, isn’t it? Now I know that men and women would have clicked on the link to read this for different reasons I’m sure. Men, for obvious reasons, to know various techniques and ways to achieve what is mentioned in the title. Women, also for obvious reasons, to know what secrets I am giving out or acquire some knowledge in this area so that they can be proactive. Well, let me tell you something. These different ways can be used by women as well when they argue with their husbands or boy-friends. Because what I would be talking about is Language Patterns, 16 of them! These language patterns were actually conceptualized by Robert Dilts after he modelled (copied) Richard Bandler. Richard Bandler and John Grinder were the ones who conceptualized Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) which is the science of the brain that helps in achieving excellence in any field or any walk of life. You can read more about it over here.
So, coming back to Robert Dilts, he noticed that Richard Bandler never lost an argument anytime. That’s where he really started to understand, ‘how does he do it’! After his research was done, Dilts was able to recognize and document as many as 16 language patterns in this area. He called it ‘Sleight of mouth patterns’. You learn it as a part of NLP Master Practitioner Certification which is the second level of NLP. The first of course is NLP Practitioner of 5 days. But I will be taking you through these in this blog with the backdrop of arguments in relationships. I am sure all of us are quite wary of these situations of how arguments with our partners could be irritating and frustrating and how it could result in being at the losing end. Well, let me just empower you people linguistically in this area. Just a word of caution. Some of the ‘replies’ that I have mentioned in this blog to the arguments from your spouse/partner, may not fit well in all models of the worlds. Some responses, if given the way they are written, may harm you and the writer of this blog is not responsible for the dangerous linguistic experiments which you may conduct. You may want to tone down some replies or modify them as per the case and the person. However, most of the responses I am listing in this blog are quite sober, non-aggressive, non-provocative in my model of the world. But, read your situation well before using them.
Let us get started. I am going to use real examples from my life and/or my friends’ life. So, if you find any resemblance to any situation in your life, you are probably my friend. But I’ll start with an incident in my life. It was my marriage anniversary and I came home late from work. Not intentionally of course, no husband would dare to do that. But then, my wife wouldn’t believe me that my client had chosen that day to shoot me in the place where the sun never shines. I told her the truth why I was caught up. She said to me, “Your being late on our marriage anniversary means you no longer love me”. I used a nice ‘Meta-frame on whole equivalence’ on that statement and replied, “You’re only saying that because I am never late on any of such occasions and that has resulted in you building like-wise expectations from me at all times”. Wow! She bought that. Basically, ‘Meta-frame on whole equivalence’ talks of a strategy. The thought process behind that reply was, what could have made her believe that I am late and hence I have stopped loving her! Another example, “You didn’t call back, you don’t care about me”. Reply, “You are saying that because you believe that calling back to check on a person is the only definition and evidence of caring for that person”. I guess you are clear by now on this. I am sure, you are getting goose-bumps realizing how empowered you are becoming through learning this.
Here’s another one. So, we were going to a party and I was kind of, getting all dressed up (which usually I don’t). I don’t dress myself up ever to look attractive. But that day, I was looking very good, which kind of fuelled some doubts in my wife’s mind. She said to me, “I know you are dressing up because there would be other women over there”. Now there are various ways of responding to that using the ‘Reality Strategy’. This strategy talks of ‘how specifically does she know this, think this or how specifically represent that belief. Or how do you know it is not true? So, I responded saying to her, “How specifically do you know I am not dressing up for you”? Then, you should have seen the ‘Look’. Well, I could have responded saying, “How do you know there would be other women over there”, but it wouldn’t have the same effect. But here is one savage response. A friend’s wife once said to him, “You deliberately plan long work trips so that you can have your freedom and stay away from me”. He responded, “So, how do you know I can’t run away from you being in the city”? Or even bigger savage response, “So, you do agree I don’t have freedom under your regime and I am indeed oppressed to feel that way”. There was no ‘action’ in their life for the next 15 days after that statement. That’s when men think of Thailand. I am not sure if I am contributing to Thailand tourism by writing this blog.
Once I heard another friend’s wife saying to him, “Your family just wants to show off by buying expensive gifts”. He responded using the ‘Model of the world’ concept, “In our model of the world, we call that loving our in-laws”. His wife looked just like a tortoise going inside the shell. Before they got married, she had told him, “No alcohol in our marriage”. He had responded, “Marriages might be non-events in your family, but it is a pretty big deal in our family”. Pretty straight forward concept isn’t it, the ‘Model of the World’.
Now, I have two concepts together, ‘Apply to Self on based on cause/evidence’ and ‘Apply to Self on based on beliefs and values’. It means, you turn the tables on them using exactly the same reasoning, either the evidence way or the beliefs way. Let me clear this by giving you an example. I was having a coffee in Café Coffee Day once when I heard the couple sitting next to me fighting about something. Then the guy happened to say something which was mean in the girl’s model of the world. She said to him, “Saying mean things means you are a difficult person”. He calmly responded, “That’s a pretty mean thing to say”. That is ‘Apply to Self on based on cause or evidence’. I realized, there is another way of responding to this using ‘Apply to Self on based on value’. He could have said, “Difficult people tend to find others to be difficult”. Cool isn’t it!
Okay, here’s a blockbuster! My friend once upon a time was going through a bit of cash crunch. He way with his wife and I was with mine and we were at my place having tea. His wife gave him a sensible idea of borrowing money from her brother. To which he said, “I’d rather have a dozen of Wolves to tear my flesh, rather than borrow money from your family”. His wife gave him a classic ‘Change Frame/Context’ response by saying, “You don’t have the money to buy a dozen of Wolves”. I know, why some people are definitely going to hell! Most of them are married!
‘Hierarchy of criteria’ is a good gentle way of getting the message across. You just make it clear to your partner, why you are doing something because what specifically is more important. I usually don’t like to put my Comforter to wash very often. But my wife does. And she puts my Comforter to wash as well. To which I once said to her, “Why do you keep putting my comforter to wash? I like the feel of it while I go to sleep”. She responded, “Isn’t it more important to have a pest-free body than the feel of the comforter which has not been washed since independence era”? I surrendered. Same thing with Jeans and she has the same response. There are other gentle ways too, like ‘Other Consequence’. Focusing on another consequence to justify why one does something. “I am only concerned about your bum-cheek skin, which I why I put your Jeans for wash that often”.
Another good one! I was sitting in a lounge and I saw a newly married couple sitting at a distance. But I could hear them talking and hence I assumed that they were probably not happy with each other about something. The girl then said to the boy, “Both of have to know and do all things together, not just me”! The boy responded with utter disgust, like he has just woken up to the divine light after centuries of lying under coal, “So, if a doctor is late for dinner because he is saving someone’s life, does that mean he is doomed to be evil the rest of his life”? The guy had chunked up (exaggerated) to such a level where the girl didn’t have a good come back at all. I had a girlfriend once who said to me, “Do you ever listen to me? I had asked you to find information on getting the passport done. I thought you were different and could rely on you as my support system”. I had almost killed her spirit by saying, “Are you saying that the most fundamental aspect of our relationship is simply a matter of me remembering everything you say and support you in every way when you can’t even empathize why I must have not been able to get that information”? That is ‘Chunking up’ or exaggerating to a level of no return.
Then you can argue using “Metaphors”. My response to my wife saying, “Hey Fatso! Move along. I have no place to sit”! I replied to her saying, “The queen bee doesn’t complain while sitting on a flower, because the flower is too big”. She felt good because I called her the Queen (bee) but she conveniently ignored that I called myself a flower. And I’m sure you can read between the lines.
I like eating out. Not because they make lousy food at home. They make good food. But I don’t know why I prefer to eat out. So, one day my wife said to me, “Why do you keep eating out? I know you don’t like my cooking”. Did you read that? Isn’t that amazingly outrageous? Even if it could be true, a husband can’t just go about agreeing to that statement. So, I said to her, “My intention is not to tell you that you are a bad cook, but to give you some rest”. Read that again! Savage! The language pattern is ‘Intent on (Cause/Evidence)’.
One of my friends doesn’t like going to any family function. Not his, not his in-laws’. But his wife once got animated and said, “You don’t come to any of my family function. You don’t like my family”. He used a simple ‘Counter-Example On’ language pattern and said, “Isn’t it possible that a husband might still come to all family functions which happen on his in-laws side and yet still not like the family”? He then realized, that he should have used the converse statement to that one. Yet, today when he looks back, he feels proud of himself.
Sometimes, you just need to ‘Redefine’ what your partner is saying. I had a young couple coming to me for relationship advice. The girl said to the boy during the discussion, “I really want more of your time”. The boy redefined, “You need more of my body, that’s what you really need”. Session ended without too much further discussion and I reached the bar early that day. “You are a nagging wife”, said a friend of mine to his wife. She redefined, “I’m not a nagging wife, I care extra bit for you”. Such people have special brains to be able to think such stuff instantly.
Well, I had promised 16 different ways of winning and argument with your wife. Read again the entire blog and you’ll find much more than that. I believe in client delight. I hope my wife wouldn’t read this blog, otherwise she’ll say, “You probably don’t believe in delighting your wife”. I would probably respond saying, “When was the last time you went to stay at your parent’s house”? Guess the type!