Connecting People and Winning hearts A Non-Violent Communication

By: Ms. Nidhi Gupta


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Whenever we come across the word violence, our first response is physically causing a pain. Can there be a violence in communication? Is this violence less dangerous than physical violence?


Answer is Yes. Violence can be there in the communication too when we are upset and don’t like how other people behave. Our communication at times becomes so violent that it leaves the scars which can take much longer time to heal than physically harming someone. In 1960 Dr. Marshall Rosenberg first time coined the term Non-Violent Communication. In his book Non-Violent Communication (NVC) - A language of life, Dr. Rosenberg says NVC doesn’t mean being nice it is to be real. NVC can be a new style of communication by not just going with our feelings, needs and opinions but also feeling the need and feelings of other people as well.

Most of us don’t believe we talk in a “violent” way, but our words do often hurt people. NVC is a framework to help us express our feelings and needs without judging, blaming or criticizing others. It also shows us how to make others feel or understand which can ultimately resolve or avoid conflict. Many a times we consider other peope responsible for our problems or sufferings and make judgement because we want them to behave in a certain way. Therefore, we should not only care about our needs and feelings we must try to understand others as well. This way of communication will evolve as ‘A language of compassion.’ NVC is also about accepting our responsibility, by saying ‘I choose to do’ rather than I have to do this because my boss/my parents/my teachers asked me to do so.

Four steps of Communication

Prof Rosenberg suggested four ways how we communicate.

  1. Observe not evaluate

           He is not responding to me (observation)

           Because he does not respect me (Evaluation)

  1. Feeling without opinion:

         We need to understand our Feeling without making any opinion:

         You ignore me when you don’t listen to me (opinion)

         I feel hurt when you don’t listen to me (Feeling)

  1. Need not criticise: after understanding our feeling we need to connect our needs with feelings without criticizing others.

           You care about your work more than me …(criticism)

           I feel lonely, need to connect with you more (Need)

  1. Request not demand:

To meet our needs, we need to convey the same in requesting. When the tone not in demanding tone, it can make one feel better.

       Give me a glass of water (Demand)

       Would you like to serve me a glass of water (Request)?

Another important aspect of NVC is empathetic listening which is crucial than advising, guiding, or trying to fix the problem.

Wife: I am tired, no one to support me I am having headache

Husband: Take medicine and sleep (Non-empathetic listening)

Here, husband is trying to fix a problem and in return wife will get furious and dent the relationship. We need empathy and compassion in dealing with others that is what NVC offers. NVC is a skill which we must practice to have a better world.