Tools to Measure:

Each of these tools allows you to collapse a subjective experience into a fixed point for the moment at which the experience is measured. Each tool has it's uses, allowing you to see and be seen with precision, when you desire that.

Direction: Notice the difference in these two statements:

  • "I love you."
  • "I feel more love for you now than I have in weeks and this is one of the peak love experiences for me in the course of our relationship."

In the first statement, you are measuring the emotion only. You are letting your partner know you are feeling more love than all the other emotions you could be feeling and expressing. In the second statement you are letting your partner know that not only are you feeling love, but you are on a strong course to deepening that love at this time. This information can be gathered by your partner by asking such things as: "In this moment do you feel more or less love for me than you felt last month?"

Percentages: Notice the difference in these two statements:

  • "I feel closer to you today than I did yesterday."
  • "I feel forty percent closer to you than I did yesterday."

In the first you are measuring the direction only, while in the second you include an estimate of the amount. Without this your partner might assume you only felt five or ten percent closer. Forty percent is an enormous shift and something you can then both enjoy.

1-10 Scale: Notice the differences in these dialogues:

  • "I would really like to go to the South of France for our vacation." "I'd rather go to Peru and hunt crystals."
  • "On a 1-10 scale it is an 8 in importance to me that we take our vacation in the South of France. How about for you?" "I would rather go to Peru and hunt crystals. That is a six for me and France is only a 4." "Peru is a 3 for me. Are you willing to let this decision go my way, given my greater attachment or is there some other ideas we can create that would be higher value for both of us?"

Introducing a 1-10 scale is a powerful way to not only communicate attachment, but the degree of attachment. "I'm feeling sensitive right now." can become significantly more impactful when you add: "I'm feeling a 10 in sensitivity right now and I really need your attention right now not to push my buttons."

Multipliers: Notice the impact that using multiplier's can add:

  • "I'm feeling tender."
  • "You remember that time my dad died and I was depressed and raw for a month? It's not that bad, but I'm at about 2/3rds of that level of rawness and I'm going to need some support and understanding for a few weeks."

By using multipliers and a reference to a shared memory it supports your partner in having empathy and seeing where you are.

Yes/ No Questions: Notice the difference:

  • "I'd kind of like to go to the movies tonight."
  • "Are you willing to go to a movie of my choice with me tonight?"

When you make the effort to phrase a clear question, it becomes impossible to ignore and invites a clear answer. Questions of any kind are one of the most powerful tools for measuring one's own or another's location around a specific issue. One of the first questions to learn is: "Is this a good time to ask you an intimate question?"

Sharing Perceptions: This is a powerful way to invite an intimate conversation. Here is an example:

"I'd like to share a perception with you. Is this a good time? .... Ok, I notice that you seem more distant towards me today. As you check in, do you notice anything standing in between us and more intimacy right now for you?   .......That's interesting because what I notice is that you have been 50% more silent and irritable ever since you got off the phone with Fred. You also have turned away each time I've asked you a question for the past 20 minutes and the last time I asked you about plans for tonight you just grunted. ....Had you noticed that?"

It is almost impossible to listen to something like this and avoid intimacy without realizing it. A partner is likely to either pull away if they are determined not to be intimate, or offer a deeper picture into what's going on inside them, which is what intimacy is all about, be that picture uncomfortable or pleasant.

Qualities: Notice the precision that metaphors and adjectives can bring to any instance:

"I notice I am extremely passionate right now and intense but I'm also very brittle and fragile. It would just take one "no" and all this energy would shut down in a few seconds."

"I care a lot about this topic and I have a sharp edge with anyone who appears to disagree with me. I'm also at a 10 out of 10 of tenacity. In this moment if you want to debate me, I will not back down until you concede my point no matter how long it takes." 

"I'm in a good space, but I'm very raw. I'd like you to be very slow around me and allow me time to breathe between words without interrupting me."

"I'm in a rush right now to get this stuff done and my patience for chit chat is zero."

"I notice that although my actions are quite generous, I feel cold and distant, with a sharp edge. And my generosity could easily flip into resentment and punishment if you are not gracious at receiving my gifts. Can you be that way or would you prefer not to receive anything until we are in a more compatible place?

Conclusion: To read a sample conversation which effectively combines the use of all of these skills click here

Measure Your Relationship
Tools for seeing and being seen