When we want to let someone know about an issue that is really important to us, or about a strong preference that we have, how do we bring it across? Our manner can make the crucial difference in the way that we are heard, and it can determine if that someone will get on board with our concern, or not.
Hence, the “Love Sandwich” recipe:
1. Begin with a positive statement which recognizes at least one of the person’s strengths and expresses appreciation for it (ie the first piece of bread)
2. Next, the meat of the sandwich – briefly describe the situation that requires change or improvement, in other words, the constructive criticism.
3. Finally, another positive statement to close the sandwich.
The following sample sandwich may clarify the recipe for you: You recently began dating a man and things are going really well, except, he doesn’t call you as much as you would like and you crave more telephone contact between dates.
One choice of how to approach him might be, “You know, you never call me and I’m so sick of it. What is wrong with you? Don’t you believe in picking up the phone?” Now, he is probably feeling backed against the wall, and the last thing he ever wants to do again is call you, right?
So, it’s time for, you guessed it, “The Love Sandwich.” It could go something like, “You know, I love talking to you on the phone. You really make me laugh and you always help me put things into perspective. (Now for the meat), I would love to talk on the phone with you even more often. (Time to close the sandwich), When I talk to you right before I go to sleep, I always have the best night. Now how do you think he’s feeling? Probably valued and appreciated and quite likely motivated to call you much more often, perhaps even nightly.
So, when you are fed up or frustrated and you’re either going to stuff it down and suppress your feelings, or explode in an overly critical way…take a deep breath, count to ten, and make a “Love Sandwich.” Repeat this recipe; he’ll never tire of it, even when you are married for years. Please let me know how it goes.