When you have been pinched:
- Get grounded. Pause and breathe.
- Check-in. Do you have a minute to talk?
- Without evaluation, name the ACTION you want to address – observation without evaluation. “Yesterday in the staff meeting you said…”
- Ask about the other party’s INTENT or what was going on for that person. “I’m wondering if you could clarify what you were trying to get at…”
- If appropriate, describe the EFFECT the action had on you. It often helps to use a feeling word. “I guess I was a bit thrown off by the comment. I felt a little defensive because…”
When you think you may have caused a pinch:
- Check in. “Do you have a minute to talk?”
- Name the ACTION you want to check out. “Yesterday in the hall I said…”
- If appropriate, without evaluation, name the response you observed. “You ended our conversation at that point.”
- Ask about the EFFECT on the other party. Demonstrate genuine interest. “I’m wondering if you’re okay, or did I offend you?”
- Acknowledge and apologize for the negative impact. “I’m sorry that I said that in a way that offended you.”
- Describe your INTENT. “It is important to me that you know that I did not mean to offend. What I was trying to say was…”
NOTE: If the person disclosing his/her intention clarifies the situation and the explanation is plausible, let it go. This may be a good time to privately reflect on why you experienced the behaviour as a pinch. Pinches can often tell us more about ourselves than about the person who has pinched us. For example, I may experience a pinch from a colleague due to unresolved issues from my previous workplace.