Improve relationships – through understanding them.

It was during a coffee break on one of our courses.

This was an advanced course so the group had quite a bit of NLP under their belts – and we were chatting about what we each considered the most useful bit of NLP for improving relationships.

Yes, we agreed that there is an impressive range of techniques and insights to choose from.

And, for me, the one which stands out from the crowd is Different Perspectives (or NLP Perceptual Positions as it’s called in traditional NLP).

Why? Because

 – it’s respectful – it’s about changing me rather than trying to change the other person

 – it’s insightful – it clarifies and organises how we think about the other person.

– it’s simple yet thorough i.e. easy to learn yet can be extended and deepened

And because the NLP Different Perspectives method enables us to systematically consider a situation from at least three viewpoints:

  1. My view
  2. Your view
  3. A detached onlooker.

How do they see it

Most of us are a pretty good (experts in fact) at looking at situations from our own perspective. And the reassuring thing about adopting this stance is that it usually confirms how right we are…!

But if we then take a moment to step into the shoes of the other person and consider it from their perspective and “as if” we were them, our certainty tends to get challenged somewhat. We recognize that, just maybe, there might be other ways of looking at the situation.

Which is probably why so many of us do it so infrequently!

But I’m right!

In relationships, being right – or in the right – can become more important than being happy. Unless we’re careful.

Yes, I love him/her. Yes, it’s great being together. But I can’t let them get away with this – they need to know I’m right and they’re wrong – and that’s that!!

This is a sign that we need to stop and take stock.

Are we on a life journey together – or are they there just to boost my ego?

(First published on January 2008 and revised 29 February 2023

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