The one thing I have mastered in life is the art of destroying a romantic relationship. No matter how hard I try, I always seem to mess things up. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not afraid of commitment. And I try to avoid unnecessary conflict. However, my inability to communicate effectively has been cited as a primary reason for my failed partnerships. I didn’t know I wasn’t using rhetoric as effectively as I could have until master rhetorician Jay Heinrichs, author of "Thank You for Arguing," stopped by the Salon studio with some insights on how simply rearranging your words can save a relationship.
Heinrichs has traveled the world as a presenter and persuasion guru, and his books are used to teach the construction of successful arguments in classrooms across the country. He says the amount of time a couple spends arguing isn't necessarily an indicator of whether or not they'll stay together.
“The difference is that the couples who break apart fight. They don’t try to set a goal for what they are trying to achieve,” Heinrichs told me during an episode of "Salon Talks."
“They don’t try to make choices together; they just try to prove that the other is a jerk."
That approach isn't just unkind. Heinrichs says it runs counter to his "mantra" of rhetoric.
"It’s not about you; it’s about your audience, which can be just one person — their beliefs and expectations, what they desire.”
Watch the full "Salon Talks" conversation on Facebook.