Even when someone shares your communication type, it can be challenging to converse well and reach decisions together. You’re both focused on details, so it’s easy to miss the big picture and a host of workable solutions. You’re both perfectionists, so may not want to make a less-than-ideal choice, even when your ideal doesn’t exist. You both thrive on drama, and so it’s possible to fall into a rabbit hole of what-ifs while losing sight of what is.
When you’re helping another contemplator deal with concerns related to aging, it’s important to take a step away from your natural style in order to help them find comfort and find solutions.
Quick Tips for Contemplator-Contemplator Conversations
- DO try to avoid delving too far into what-ifs. Focus on the actual facts as you know them.
- DO acknowledge that a decision must be made. Set a deadline for the decision.
- DO work together to develop solutions to potential problems.
- DO feel free to ask a third party who is more of a ‘big picture’ type for advice.
- DO NOT allow yourselves to get so involved in potential bad outcomes that you forget to look for potential good outcomes.
When Two Contemplators Talk, It’s Important to Have Boundaries and Rules
You and your loved one are both contemplators. He gets you. He’s the only one who understands why disaster is looming and why only proper planning will avert it. When everyone else is telling you to look outside, it’s a beautiful day, he understands why you grab your umbrella on the way out the door.
The same thought patterns that help you understand each other can be counterproductive when it’s time to make big, uncomfortable decisions about his health, finances, or personal life. To facilitate this decision-making, you may have to take a step back from your natural style. Listen to his list of potential roadblocks, but don’t pile on with your own. Instead, ask leading questions like “What can we do to overcome that problem?”
Try to focus on the bigger picture. Since this is hard for both of you, consider having your discussions with a whiteboard or other writing tool in the room. You can write a description of the issue in large letters across the top. For example, “THE CURRENT PULMONOLOGIST ISN’T HELPING.” Then, if the conversation veers off into unrelated or marginally related details, you’ll both have a reminder to pull you back on track.
If your perfectionist tendencies and wont to worry are getting in the way, it’s okay to call in a third person to help facilitate the conversation and decision making. Find someone who’s good at big ideas and thinking outside of the box to help nudge the two of you out of your focused view and back on track. It can be hard making decisions as a contemplator-contemplator pair, but with extra effort, you can help your loved one navigate concerns related to health, finance, and personal life.