How To: be a Good Social Problem Solver
(Keep in mind these are recommendations, not rigid rules to be followed.)
- Work together with my partner to identify and understand the problematic situation, “What is bothering the two of us?”
- Describe the specific behaviors that are occurring or not occurring objectively and check out my view of the situation with the other person.
- Express one idea and then stop and allow my partner to respond.
- Ask the other person for his/her perspective.
- Try to see things from their perspective.
- Together work to break down “big” problems into smaller problems and deal with each problem separately. Chunk the problems and prioritize them, together.
- Do not dwell on the past or try to blame each other. Focus on right now and the future.
- Consider brainstorming (considering as many options as possible) in order to increase the number of alternatives.
- Negotiate and compromise in formulating possible solutions that should be stated in clear behavioral terms.
- Allow for several attempts at implementing the new solutions.
- Discuss the benefits to the relationship when changes have been made.
- Set aside a time and a place to have such social problem-solving conversations.