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Failure to Communicate: How Conversations Go Wrong and What You Can Do to Right Them by Holly Weeks

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CHAPTER 3

What’s Wrong with What We Do

WHO IS RESPONSIBLE when a difficult conversation starts down the slippery slope to failure? What role does our counterpart play in goosing it along? For that matter, what do we do that makes a conversation worse?

There’s no question that we think more than 50 percent of the trouble in a difficult conversation is on the other side, particularly when our own intentions are good. Does it matter? If we’re following the combat model, not so much. The combat mentality does put a big emphasis on the question of who is in the wrong, because that helps us know whether we deserve to win. Unfortunately, of course, our counterpart is thinking along the very same line we are—that more than 50 percent of the trouble ...

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