If you were raised within a chaotic home environment, you may feel that circular arguments are such a hallmark of your communications with others that it’s actually, er, normal. It doesn’t have to be that way.
How it feels to be having a circular argument:
* like you’re crazy
* groundhog day
* no resolution
* promise of hope, not much else
* like the same argument, again
In a circular argument, you begin with what you’re trying to end up with. Thus, the circle. A circular argument has logical components; however, together they do not add up! Why? Because their conclusion is one of their premises (and this invalidates the argument). There is no proof in a circular argument, just conclusions.
Circular Arguments look like this:
if A, then B
if B, then C
if C, then A
A = I want more frequent and substantial contact from partner
B = giving partner another chance
C = getting what I need from partner
If you want more frequent and substantial contact, then give me a chance to work on that;
If you give me a chance, then you’ll get what you’re asking for;
If you get what you want, then you’ll have more contact and this won’t be a problem anymore.
Pretty neat stuff, huh? You can see why politicians use circular constructions so often!
Getting out of Circular Arguments:
* Asking for, or providing, evidence of how you’re going to deliver on the solution (calling every day, telling a personal story, etc.)
* Providing details
* Asking for what will help resolve the issue (“what do you need from me in order to feel more connected/supported?”
For example: ”What would more substantial contact be for you?” Or, “If I called you every day and invite you to a family dinner, would that help?”
This was a fun show and very eye-opening. I hope you enjoy listening to it! (Let us know.) The is Show #5 of our new series on empowering solutions for dealing with Communication Quicksand.
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