Learn how to create connections with other people, understanding their needs – and your.

Nonviolent Communication is an approach to relate in a more authentic and “unarmed” way. This means that we can start conversations by transforming our initial intentions to create a connection with each other, that is, by “turning off” the attack or defense mode that we learn to use throughout life and allowing our vulnerabilities to be shown.

This can be very challenging, but in this way, we allow the other to understand us and also show what is going on inside him, since we are both vulnerable, instead of just attacking each other, and the discussion ends there. Therefore, with this approach, it is possible to create a space for connection that allows us to see both our unmet needs and those of the other person.



This whole process happens through the empathy, which is a powerful tool that helps us to put ourselves in each other’s shoes and thus generate understanding. Another important feature of this tool is that it is not only for interpersonal connection, but also individual and systemic.


Many people, when showing interest in a way to communicate with others without violence (perhaps due to the name that this practice has), soon declare that they would not be able to use it, because it is not possible to “swallow frog”. However, it is precisely to avoid this that Non-Violent Communication also serves: to express what we are feeling and to be honest with ourselves and with others in this regard.


In all conversations, discussions, meetings, even in fights and in the most diverse situations. This is because, when we communicate, we express behaviors in our speech that denounce our needs, which are common to all of us, whether when we show anger, frustration or our joy and satisfaction and many other feelings.

The big issue is that we almost always waste time discussing the behavior, which always varies from person to person, and it happens for different reasons, but we almost never discuss what is behind the behaviors: the needs.

It is precisely the needs that are common to all of us and what actually connects us. This means that instead of judging a person why they did this or said that, we can try to identify what their needs are not being met and communicate that.



The identification of what the person is in need is usually the spark that generates the connection, and from there we can put the behavior aside and start to understand what is most profound in the people with whom we relate. There is a phrase from Marshall that speaks very well about all of this, and that serves as a guide for when we start our conversations:

“Behind all behavior there is a need. ”- Marshall Rosenberg

This thinking allows us to look beyond behavior and thus identify what is actually generating conflict, moving towards a healthier discussion, without attacks, judgments and labeling, which are barriers to connection.


  • Allow yourself to “let your guard down” in conversations to connect with each other;
  • Have the connection as an initial intention when communicating;
  • Identify unmet needs in the other and in myself;
  • Understanding that communicating in a totally different way than we are used to is a process and not just a concept that is quickly learned.


There are some actions that can be taken by those who want to start connecting better with others and with themselves. These actions have everything to do with an internal (what is happening inside me) and an external (what is happening with the other) awareness process and after that, we try to resolve what has to be resolved in our conflicts. In this process, we can follow some steps that help us to have healthier conversations:

  1. Observation: make observations about the actions or speeches of the person that are bothering us or generating conflict, in a discussion, for example. It is important that these observations are based on facts, and not on our interpretations of what the person meant by his attitudes, but rather, what he actually did or said.
  2. Feelings: After observing what caused the conflict, we can turn to ourselves, perceiving and identifying the feelings that are being raised within us from the person’s attitudes. We are feelingrage?  Frustration?Fear?  Concern? Relief?

At this point it is very important to use words that are, in fact, feelings and not judgments. For example, when I say that I am feeling “ignored” this is not really a feeling, because the word describes the action of a third person “you are ignoring me”. The idea here is that you ask yourself, “If I feel like I’m being ignored, what do I really feel?”

This exercise is important not because you want to make mistakes or take the other person’s responsibility for his actions, but because you want to increase your chances of being heard when talking about something. If you say “I’m feeling sad about what happened” instead of “I’m feeling ignored by you” your chances of being heard are greater.

  1. Needs: After naming these feelings, we can then identify the needs that are pointed out by them. If we are feeling frustrated, what was the need that was not met and that generated this frustration?

Communicate your needs by taking responsibility for them, for example, instead of saying “I’m angry because you don’t do the dishes” you can understand what your needs are not being met and communicate them “I’m angry because I ‘m tired and would like to arrive at home and find it clean.

Cooperation is something important for us to live together well and I would like to talk about the agreements that will help us to live better together at home ”

  1. Request: Once we understand better what we need, we can make the other one a clear request for our needs to be met. In the conversation, all of these issues can be brought up, so that it is clear what is going on between us and the other. That is, we can communicate to him our observations, based on what he did or said, then explain what we feel from these attitudes, as well as what we need and are not being supplied and then, make a clear request of what we want .

This can often be difficult as we do not know what we want or are even afraid to receive a “no” for an answer. Nonviolent Communication is an invitation to have courageous conversations. of course, it is much tastier when people guess what we need but it is unfair to expect it from them always.

For a bond of trust to be established, we need to communicate our needs and requests so that others are clear about how they could enrich our lives.


The American psychologist Marshall Rosenberg systematized CNV in the 1960s. He was the founder of The Center for Nonviolent Communication. In addition to preparing the Nonviolent Communication, he disseminated it in about 60 countries and was the author of several books on the subject.

One of these books, which is very suitable for those who want to learn how to work on interpersonal conflicts in a healthier and more compassionate way is Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life (in Portuguese: Non-Violent Communication. Techniques to improve personal and professional relationships). Marshall died in 2015, leaving his rich contributions to human relations.


Leave a Comment