Nonviolent Communication

  1. State the observations that are leading you to feel the need to say something.
  1. State the feeling that the observation is triggering in you. Or, guess what the other person is feeling, and ask.
  1. State the need that is the cause of that feeling. Or, guess the need that caused the feeling in the other person, and ask.
  1. Make a concrete request for action to meet the need just identified. Ask clearly and specifically for what you want right now, rather than hinting or stating only what you don’t want.


  • Needs differ from wants!
  • People know what they need (know themselves) and are trustful enough to express their needs in this situation!
  • This is often not the case, because people are playing neurotic or psychotic games. Borderline Personalities and addicted people won’t be able to communicate directly and non-ambivalent
  • NVC requires clear-mindedness, and when we are in such a state of mind, we don’t need the method any more.
  • So the method of NVC actually is training – program for clear-mindedness
  • Do your homework first: Focusing, Meditation, etc.
  • Very often even clear-minded people hide their motives in certain situations (diplomacy), especially when they act ‘strategically’. Then such communications are neither ‘violent’ nor ‘non-violent’ – they are something ‘between’: impression management, negotiations, etc.
  • One must know, when NVC is indicated and appropriate and when not!

“I like the intentions of NVC, but not how it mixes wants with needs. You need food, water, shelter, and air. Most other things are not needs. They are wants and desires. Because of this, NVC screams “jargon”. Caution is advised. You’d think someone ostensibly focused on language (the NVC creator) would have noticed he was using a term incorrectly.

Besides, who would want to be seen as needy?

Easy suggestions for better communication: Approach others from a point of compassion. Ask questions. Listen. Repeat back what they said to you in your own words, so it’s clear you are paying attention. Spend less time talking than you do listening.”

“A famous phrase of Rosenberg´s sounds: “Would you rather be right, than happy?” Personally I have been met with this phrase several times from NVC consultants, when I am using critical thinking. And always with a triumphant look in their faces. But try to look closer at the phrase. It actually exposes a world-view, which focuses on an interest in finding ways of getting on in the world, rather than an interest in finding ways of discovering the truth; that is: a world-view controlled by thought distortions.”

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