Three Little-Known Communication Tools to Improve Your Relationships

Many people have cats or dogs in their lives, and others may call birds, fish, rabbits, and turtles their companions. But today I actually want to talk to you about porcupines. That’s right, porcupines. Specifically, Schopenhauer’s Porcupine.

Sometimes called the hedgehog dilemma, Schopenhauer’s Porcupine is a fable from the 19th century German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer positing that human intimacy can be likened to two porcupines trying to figure out how to come close together to share warmth on a very cold winter’s night: the porcupines are drawn to each other for survival against the cold, but in coming together they accidentally (and painfully!) get pricked from the spines of the other. So then they move away until they get too cold again and then move back towards each other and so on and so forth.

in today’s Sunday Comfort, I want to share with you a handful of tools I use with my clients and that I try to use in my own life. These tools are largely drawn from my studies of Non-Violent Communication (NVC) and from my work counseling couples, but the tools can really apply to any type of relationship be it romantic, friendship, family, coworker or neighbor. I invite you to read on to see which of these tools appeals to you and what you might like to add to your own relationship toolbox.

Sign up for a free subscription to read more about how to: frame your conversations for success; reflect, empathize, and validate the other; and slow things down when tempers speed up.

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