Equipoise and Communication
Have you ever been in a conversation where someone is trying to convince you of something? How does that make you feel and do you tend to feel stronger about the stance you currently are taking?
Often times when a conversation is one sided and someone is trying to convince you one way, it’s human nature on our part to want to defend or take the other side to create balance, which is why in Motivational Interviewing taught through IFIOC, we discuss Equipoise. Equipoise is the balance of forces or interests.
It’s important for us to teach equipoise because the more we can help those learning Motivational Interviewing or strong communication skills, learn to be neutral the better chance they have to keep resistance or discord at bay while creating opportunities in conversations to be open, collaborative and efficient.
Equipoise is not an easy skill to learn, as we all have opinions, thoughts, ideas and feelings about ourselves and those around us. When that close friend of our’s comes to us complaining about their job and we are tired of hearing it-we want to encourage them to get out and move on! When we have that family member that is struggling trying to decide between jobs, and we like one job more than the other-it’s hard for us to be quiet about it. Or recently in 2020 on the reality TV show the Bachelor, the parents of the bachelor were very one sided about who they thought their son should choose-and what did it cause? Tension, frustration and their son to become even MORE adamant about balancing things out and defending the other woman.
So this skill is one to be mindful of as you navigate conversations with those you love, as well as those you just meet. The more we can stay in equipoise and be neutral, the more we can truly help others explore and navigate their own feelings and come to their own self motivated conclusions.
Tip to note: the closer you are to the situation or person, the more difficult it is to stay in equipoise!
Next time you see someone struggling and trying to talk through something, suppress the urge to share your thoughts and try to be mindful about staying neutral, completely unbiased with no opinions on the subject. You might just notice that not only do they feel better talking it through with you, but they might come up with their own solutions that are quite insightful!