Needs & Impact

Erin and Jeff had two young children and were frequently in conflict. Now a stay-at-home mother, Erin expected Jeff to know what she needed. For example, she felt Jeff should know that she needed him to watch their toddler so she could shower.

Similarly, Jeff had his own set of expectations. He believed that Erin should understand that taking care of their toddler would disrupt their evening routine, including his preparing dinner. He had a work project that needed his attention once the kids were asleep.

Erin expected Jeff to know she needed a shower; instead, he judged her for not taking a shower during the day. Jeff expected Erin to know that helping her would throw off his evening schedule.

Their fight was fraught with assumptions and judgment. What needed to happen was a conversation about needs and impact. Erin needed to express her needs, and Jeff needed to express the impact of her request. In a healthy conversation, needs and impact can be discussed respectfully rather than played out as conflict.