159 - The Triforce of Communication: DLC Expansion Pack

The Triforce of Communication is back! This is yet another one of our favorite communication tools, and this week we're revisiting it with much more knowledge and experience using it in our daily lives. Learn how to get what you want in conversations with your partner, and how to avoid common miscommunication pitfalls with this super simple tool.

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Multiamory was created by Dedeker Winston, Jase Lindgren, and Emily Matlack.

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This document may contain small transcription errors. If you find one please let us know at info@multiamory.com and we will fix it ASAP.

Jase: On this episode of the multiamory podcast, we're talking about the Triforce of communication. That's right, it's one of our favorite tools that we created about a year and a half ago and we decided it was time to revisit it with all of the new knowledge that we have now.

Emily: All I'm going to say is that, when YouTube did this episode, it was without me, and you were referencing something. The great and powerful Triforce of the great and powerful Legend of Zelda games, and-

Jase: I forgot that we did this without you.

Dedeker: Right. You were so upset.

Emily: Yes I was.

Dedeker: I forgot that we did it without you. You were so upset. We were like, "Oh yes, we did this thing called the Triforce of communication."

Emily: And I was like, "What? What?" Because of course, I felt really left out about that, and it's funny because it seems that it wasn't that long ago that we did this. However, it's been a year and a half, according to that.

Jase: Not quite, but almost a year and a half.

Emily: Almost a year and a half, yes. We did this episode and-- Oh, it looks like September 16th 2016.

Jase: Oh my gosh.

Dedeker: We were so young. We were so young back then.

Emily: Those were humble sweet days, fucking the Obama presidency. Goodness gracious.

Dedeker: Oh man, you have to bring that up.

Emily: I'm sorry.

Dedeker: Heavy days they were, the days of our youth.

Emily: Yes, they were. The days of our youth, and so yes, apparently I wasn't here for it but we created these three categories of communication. Since then, we've used them constantly and then many of our patrons have used it too, and we've refined our understanding of it and found even more ways to use it, and then we've created some ways to help you remember how to use them in your life. We're going to get in to all of that in this episode.

Dedeker: Yes. Ever since we formulated this, it's, for me, literally become an everyday thing that I use. Every single day, or if not every other day, it's just so useful and so practical. I totally love it. For those of you who haven't listened to the original episode, one of the most common breakdowns that people experience in communication is when the two people who are having a conversation don't have the same goal of communication, and we've all experienced this.

There's a super stereotypical and also sexist example that always comes to mind. For instance, there is the typical story of the wife comes home, and starts talking to her husband about having a frustrating experience at work, and the husband immediately jumps in with telling her what she should do, how she can change the situation, who she should talk to, yadda, yadda, yadda, all his advice, and she gets really upset with him because she wasn't looking for advice, she just wanted some listening, maybe some sympathy, some understanding, maybe some care and some support. Everyone comes away from the conversation feeling really upset. Now, of course, that example falls along some very traditional gender lines.

I can tell you from personal experience that often it is reversed. It doesn't really matter what your gender is. Everybody can make this mistake, I know for myself being a coach as my job, I fall in to the rule of giving advice when people have not asked for it all the freaking time. I make this mistake a lot. I also make the mistake a lot of not being clear with someone, what I'm looking for, and maybe I'll come to a partner with a problem that I'm having expecting advice and they just give some support, and while support is nice, I come away with it not getting what I want and feeling disappointed or sometimes feeling upset with my partner if I'm not aware of what's going on.

That was part of the reason why we wanted to start looking at this issue of people coming to conversations, kind of at cross-purposes or assuming the wrong goal from the other person, and we wanted to come up with ways of how can you really quickly and accurately ask for what it is that you need, or ask somebody else for what is it they need, so that we could have good communication and we don't end up upsetting each other because of miscommunication.

Jase: Right, so what-- Part of what this is based around is not about fixing communication with someone who is actively trying to hurt you. This is about how to improve communication when you do have two people who do care about each other, whether they're friends or they're family members or they're in a romantic sexual or relationship, whatever it is, even coworkers, it's that, these people want to do the best for each other but so often, as Dedeker was explaining in that example, the husband thought he was being helpful by giving advice but it was exactly the opposite thing of what the wife wanted, in that example.

I know from my personal life, being in a relationship with Dedeker usually she's the one giving me advice when I don't want it, and so this tool has been incredibly helpful to be aware of that difference and be able to clarify what it is that I want or what it is that I don't want.

The other thing that's really cool about this tool is that, the other person doesn't have to know this tool in order for it to work. That this is both something you can use in just plain English to another person or I guess whatever language you speak, and just plain language you can explain what it is that you want, what it is that you need, and then similarly, if someone else has shared something with you, you can ask them in pretty simple terms what it is they're looking for, and you can lead to getting more of what it is you want and not feeling disappointed by their response and similarly, giving more effective responses to other people.

What's one of the things I really love about this is that, the other people involved don't have to know this for it to be really effective. To review this real quick, there are three different categories. Review, preview. Let's go, preview this real quick. There are three different purposes for communication which we have called the Triforce of communication, or as we titled this episode secretly for ourselves was, the Triforce of communication call in Breath of the Wild. [laughs] Since this is the new installment. Do we want to go through what the three are real quick and then we'll go into them in a little more depth?

Emily: Sure.

Dedeker: Yes. Super quick, Triforce number one, which is building intimacy or sharing. Triforce number two, which is seeking support or acknowledgement, and Triforce number three, which is seeking advice or problem solving. Let's start out by digging in to specifically Triforce number one.

Jase: Yes, so Triforce number one is building intimacy or sharing. These includes things like sharing a story or a joke, or just an update on your life. It could be sharing a story of something that happened in your life, that made you the person that you are, or it could be sharing about something that's going on inside you right now. That you just want them to be aware of. If your purpose is Triforce number one, then you're simply hoping to be heard by the other person and just be understood, to be acknowledged for having shared this thing.

Emily: Jase, I think that you've been really great over the entire time that I've known you about doing this one specifically. Even before we spoke about the Triforce of communication or figured it out that this was something that we were going to implement in to our daily lives, because you do this thing where you say like, "I just want to let you know that X is happening. I don't need anything, I don't-- I'm not really expecting anything from you, but if you're wondering where I'm at or wondering why I'm acting a little bit weird right now, this is why."

I think it's a great-- It's great too, that from the other standpoint that I, for instance, don't have to sit here and wonder, "Why the hell is he acting like this today? Did I do something? Did I say something wrong? What the hell is happening here?" Instead, it's just like no, you're providing context for me, so that I can understand what you're going through.

Jase: Do you want to share a real world example of this, Em?

Emily: Yes. Well, this one I think is one that probably you've said before, but it's-- especially on speaking with the two of us, it's, I'm feeling lonely right now but I want to focus on getting work done with you too. I don't want to talk about it right not, but I just wanted to let you know. Which is exactly what we were just talking about like, "I'm feeling lonely so maybe I might be a little bit down, but I really want to focus on working and being with the two of you, so just so you know where I'm coming from. That's it."

Dedeker: Yes, that's a good one. This one, all the Triforce I think comes up a lot, even in our multiamory business meetings.

Jase. Definitely. Totally.

Dedeker: Obviously, all of us have set a personal lives outside of this podcast. I don't know if you knew that. But times where it can be like, maybe we're at a meeting and I be like, "I just want to let you know, I got into an argument with so and so, but it's okay, we don't need to talk about it right now or process right now, just so you know what's going on with me." That's it. I'm not going to pause the meeting right now to ask for support or advice or talk it out, it's just bringing everyone into the circle of letting them know what's going on with me.

Jase: I found often just doing that sharing can even help that too. If it is something where it's not-- Especially if it's something like that, I had an argument with somebody earlier today and I'm just feeling weird about it, just saying it out loud to someone who you trust and care about, sometimes just that is enough to be like, "I just want to let you know what's going on. Now I can move on and get over it."

Dedeker: Yes. I feel like we've seen this sometimes also in the multiamory patreon only group of some people. It's not always with things that are difficult or a struggle that sometimes it's with people just being like, "This really great thing happened. I just went on this awesome first date, and I just want to share it with all of you all." Just to put it out there, because sometimes we can't necessarily share these things on our normal social media. I think that happens a lot in that group as well.

Jase: Yes, actually I just-- That reminded me of a really funny example of that, but I was at work the other day and the room that I was working in at that time was all men in it at that time. One of my other co-workers, who's a woman, ran into the room from the next room over, ran in like ran over into my desk and whispered in my ear, she's like, "Jase, oh my God. There's a super hot firefighters in our building right now, doing an inspection."


Jase: I was just like, "What? Where? That's amazing." She was like, "I just needed to tell somebody" and I looked at her, "Because I knew that no one would appreciate it except for you." Just like that as a silly example of that. [laughs]

Emily: People do that with me at work except for with women. They're like, "Did you see that hot chick over there?" and I'm like, "Yes. I already saw."


Jase: Another example of this, and this is another thing that I like to do a lot, which is just to say, "Hey, I'm trying to figure something out" or, "I'm struggling with something. Can I just talk it out with you? I just want to hear it out loud and hear myself explain it to somebody else." I think especially if I feel like I made a decision, but I want to double check that it's right. It's not that I'm coming to you to say, "Is this the right thing to do or not?" or, "What should I do here?"

I just want you to listen and maybe ask clarifying questions like what do I mean, get me to help get my mind clear in explaining something. That for me is actually a super useful way of making a decision, and it doesn't always have to be a tough decision. It could even be if I'm doing some visual effects thing or it's like, "I know you might not even understand a lot of these stuff I'm about to talk about," if it's like a technical after effects thing. "I just want you to listen while I explain what it is I'm trying to do and often just that active explaining it, will clarify it enough into my mind that I can go, "Ah, right. I know what I need to do now."

Emily: Yes.

Dedeker: We got some feedback from some people concerning the first time that we presented the Triforce of communication, and people explained that they often have a hard time remembering which Triforce is which, because all the time, on the podcast, we just say, "Oh yes, number one, number two, number three." That's because we're talking about it all the time, so we remember which one is which, but you all that are listening out there may not. We try to come up with some mnemonics or some memory devices to help you remember which one is which, I apolo--

Emily: It was a little difficult.

Dedeker: Well, I was just going to say I apologize in advance for some of these, because they're not great but feel free to come up with your own.

Emily: Then let us know, maybe they'll be better.

Dedeker: Let us you know if you have exactly-- You'll probably come up with something that's better. One that I came up with for number one was, just in case you were ONEdering, this is what's going on-

Emily: Wait, I thought Jase came up with this one.

Jase: I did.

Dedeker: Maybe he did.


Dedeker: I don't appreciate you interrupting me in this vulnerable moment of trying to-- because this really bad mnemonics.

Emily: Sorry.

Dedeker: Let me try that again. Just in case you were ONEdering, this is what's going on with me right now.

Jase: That's the number one.

Dedeker: That's the number one. Just let them know what's going on with you. That's it, just let them in on your inner life, that's all. That's it, that's all. Jase, did you have another one?

Jase: I did. I think Dedeker was trying to save me from the shame of having come up with that one, but-

Emily: I think that's the best one that we came up with. It all goes down that one there.

Jase: Now, also the other one is just more logical, I guess, that for Triforce number one, it's that one person is sharing and the other person is just listening. This is another way that can help you remember, "Ah number one is just one person."

Dedeker: I like the idea. That's a little bit of a one way street like, just one person sharing, the other person just receiving and listening and-

Jase: Yes.

Dedeker: Yes?

Jase: Yes.

Dedeker: Somewhere in those lines?

Emily: Yes.

Dedeker: Okay.

Emily: It can-- Something that we didn't talk about in terms of a thing that might happen in real life is my partner often will say like, "What's your emotional life right now?" Like, "What's going on with you?" I think it's not ever really for anything other than just like, "Can we speak about something that happened in our week or in our day just for connection?" I think this one is a hope for a connection, without necessarily having to respond much, but just like we're connecting because we're learning about each other or each other's day in this moment.

Jase: Yes. It's an interesting example, because it's like the reverse. It's not that he's sharing a Triforce number one thing, but saying, "I want you to share Triforce number one" thing.

Emily: Yes, but it is like that asking for connection to a certain degree.

Jase: Yes. I think that the first time we presented the Triforce, that was all we focused on for number one, because we hadn't realized that it can also be these other things about like, "Hey, I'm having a hard time right now. I don't want to talk about it, but I just want you to know that I'm not upset with you." That kind of thing, or talking through something. When we talked about it the first time, all we focused on was more of those, just like, "This is what happened to me today," "Oh cool, this is what happened to me today." Just for sharing information, building intimacy. I think it can fill both of those roles, but yes, I'm glad you brought that up because that is definitely a big part of Triforce number one.

Emily: Yes. Shall we move on to Triforce number two?

Jase: Yes.

Dedeker: Yes.

Emily: Alright, so this one is seeking support or acknowledgement. This main include sharing the details of a relationship or a situation in order to receive sympathy, empathy, understanding, praise or validation. If your purpose is Triforce number two, you're looking specifically for some kind of emotional or psychological support. Instead of just sharing, but you were not seeking help or advice. Again, that's the difference between what a lot of people want when they ask or when they say like, "Hey, I'm going to tell you about something that happened in this day," and then immediately the other person involved might jump to, "Well, I'm going to give you advice for that." Instead of just the person seeking out like, "Hey, I really would like acknowledgement here" or, "I would like kindness" or, "I would like to be told that I'm a poor baby and that really sucked." Things like that. Specifically, Triforce number two fulfills that, which is just seeking support or acknowledgement.

Jase: Yes. I think, something worth pointing out too is this could also be positive. That it doesn't always have to be sympathy or, "Poor you that really sucks." But it could also be something really good just happened and then I want someone to say, "Oh my gosh. That's amazing that you did that. That's so great, congratulations." That kind of thing. Which reminds me a little bit of something-- I don't know if we've talked about it on this show before, but active-constructive listening is a term for--

There's actually then studies done about this, but if someone shares with you something good that happened in their life, like say, "I've just got a promotion at work today" or, "I just got a really good feedback on something that I did." That active-constructive, the constructive part means that it was-- that you reacted positively. That you weren't just like, "Cool, whatever. What are we having for dinner?" That you were constructive, you were like, "Wow, that's great. That's really amazing." Which would be a passive-constructive. That active-constructive is when you say, "That's really amazing. I totally understand why you would get that promotion. I know that last project you did was really impressive. You really deserve this. Tell me about what it was like? What did they say to you?"

Actively engaging in the like, "I want to help you re-live this experience more, so that you can really be uplifted by it and feel good", instead of just like, "Cool. Congrats."

Emily: Neat, bro.

Jase: But on other side of it when it is something more negative, more sad, something that we did want to clarify, is the difference between empathy and sympathy. This is something that is often misused, especially we talked about the whole thing of the narcissist and the empath on our previous episode, that use of empath is actually entirely incorrect for the actual meaning of the word empathy, but that empathy means that you feel what they're going through because you have experienced it yourself or you are currently experiencing it. It's an actual real experience you've had.

As opposed to sympathy, which is saying, "I feel really bad for what's going on with you. I haven't had that happened to me or I'm not going through it right now, but I can imagine what that would feel like and that must be really hard." Which a lot of people call like, "Oh, I'm so empathetic" because they feel that way. Technically, that is still sympathy. The reason why this is important to understand the distinction is that, both of those things can be really valuable, but sometimes you are wanting one or the other.

Sometimes you might share something and be like, "I don't really want you to just say you feel bad for me. I want to know if you've ever felt this too, so that I don't feel alone and I can feel comforted by knowing that you've had this experience as well."

Or there are times where this is just like, "I just want you to tell me, I can't imagine how hard that must be. Gosh, that must be so hard to deal with." There's sometimes where it's like, "I don't want you to say that, yes, you've gone through this too. I want you to tell me, gosh, I have no idea what that must be like. That must be really hard." Both of those are valuable, but I think understanding that distinction can both help you in offering support to somebody else and can help you in asking for support. If you can get a sense of what it is that you're looking for, even if you don't know right away, it can give you a sense of like, that one didn't quite feel like what I wanted. Maybe it's because I'm looking for the other one.

Dedeker: Yes. Let's dive into some real-world examples of triforce number two in action. I know we tossed this out at the beginning, but it's an example that comes up all the time, is just, oh my goodness, I had a really tough day at work with this particular co-worker and I just need some support on it. For me, sometimes this comes up as like, gosh, I had a really heavy session with a client and I just want to get some comfort. I don't need to talk it out. I don't need advice on how I need to deal with this client. I just need you to comfort me and reassure me and tell me its okay and things like that.

Jase: Yes. I think another example of this that I think has happened to all of us at different points in our relationships with each other, is saying, "I just had a breakup with somebody else, and I want you to tell me that I'm still attractive and likable and that I'm not some awful person that no one wants to be with." Or a slight variation on that is, "I just had a breakup and I'm really sad about it and I want you to comfort me and tell me that it's okay to be sad about it."

There's another distinction to make here where it's sometimes its like, "Can you please distract me, take me out, get me out of this mind state." Other times it's like, "Can you please support me and be here with me and tell me that it's okay for me to be sad."

That again, I think the more clarity you can get about what it is that you want, can be really helpful as well as on the other side, getting clarity on what the other person wants. It's like, "Gosh, that's really hard. That must take some time to grieve that. Do you want some time to just be comforted, or do you want me to cheer you up?" Even asking that question, I think, can be super powerful.

Emily: I think-- Oh, were you going to say something, Dedeker?

Jase: No. Oh, sorry.

Dedeker: No. I'll jump in real quick just to say that I can already hear like people arguing like this takes the romance out of communication, there's no communications really romantic. Just that same argument of like, isn't that weird and awkward to be like so specific and asking for what you want? It's like my argument to that is always like, no because the best way to get what you want is to ask for it, really.

It doesn't mean that you need to print out a script and hand it to your partner and say, "Say these things to me", [laughs] but adding that level of specificity, whether it's just the specificity of I'm looking for support rather than advice, or getting more specific about I'm looking for some empathy rather than sympathy here, and learning to be aware of yourself, and aware of what it is that you're looking for, and aware of what is most effective in helping you when you're having a rough time. It's going to just make it that much easier for you to be able to find that thing that you need.

Jase: Yes. I was going to say something that could also be maybe a middle ground for the people who do really have a hard time with that type of really clear, explicit communication would be that still having this knowledge can be really helpful. So say you do share this thing of, I had this breakup and I'm going through this or I had this hard time with a co-worker or whatever, you could tell that to your friend or your partner or whoever it is, and if their response is immediately the thing that you want, then great. But if it's not, rather than walking away from that being like, "Gosh, they just don't get me. They don't care about me. I'm so disappointed by the reaction." Having this knowledge, you can go, "Oh actually, you know what? I'm really not looking for advice right now. Can you just tell me that it's okay? Or can you just hug me and tell me we're going to do something more fun anyway."

Whatever it is that even if you don't want to approach every conversation like we do, which is trying to be as clear as we can right from the beginning, that still having this knowledge will avoid that situation where you just walk away unhappy and unsatisfied and they feel like they did their best to support you and you don't appreciate it. And then both of you end up hurt by the situation.

Emily: Yes. I think definitely in polyamory, you get support from your current partners, potentially regarding your other partners, because you may be in an established polyamorous relationship, and then eventually start dating someone who's not as well versed in it and they may be having a really difficult time. Something that I know that I've done even when we weren't all dating but still just because we could commiserate, I think was ask like, "Hey, my current partner is not being understanding of polyamory. Can you let me know that my experience in this is valid and that I'm not alone in it?"

A different distinction from that as is for me to also ask like, "Hey, have you been in a similar situation?" Again, not necessarily saying like that I need advice about it, but I just want to hear what your similar situation might have been. And again, that empathy thing is there versus the sympathy question.

Dedeker: Yes. Actually, in one of our recent discussion groups, we had someone point out that so often when you're in a non-traditional relationship, you can end up feeling like I am the only person in the world who's experienced this right now. And just being able to hear from other people, "Oh no, I've totally gone through that before and I get what that's like and I get how hard that is or how great that is" or whatever it is, just getting that validation, I think that's why we include acknowledgment and validation under triforce number two, because that is a big part I think of being supported, is knowing that you're not alone.

Jase: Yes, definitely. Our mnemonic for this one to remember that triforce number two, is about either congratulation and acknowledgment, or it's about support and sympathy or empathy, is that it takes two people to hug.

Emily: It takes two to tango.

Jase: Yes, I know, I thought of that one too, but I was like, but what's tangoing. That could-- I don't know.

Dedeker: Does tangoing counter support or is it vice versa?


Emily: Sharing an emotional experience together, maybe.

Jase: Well, then it'd be number one, right? Anyway, so it takes two people to hug.

Dedeker: I think the hugging is good.

Jase: Yes, it’s a good one.

Emily: That's like supporting and being sweet.

Jase: Yes. So triforce number two.

Dedeker: Help them to hold someone up.

Jase: Exactly. So, it takes two people to hug.

Dedeker: Yes, triforce number three. That is problem solving, planning, getting advice, things like that. This might include sharing what's going on in your relationships or what's going on in your particular situation in order to receive specific suggestions or advice. It can also involve working together with someone to make a decision or to make a plan. And in this case, when you're asking for triforce number three, you want the other person to be actively involved in understanding the situation and also actively involved in helping you come up with solutions to solving a problem.

Jase: Yes. This one, I think that in its simplest ways, it can also be just something like, "Hey, roommate or partner I live with, we're out of paper towels. One of us needs to pick that up. Could you do it on your way home from work?" "Oh no, all right, maybe I can do it in between these two things." It could just be something that simple. More often in a situation that's pretty clear, it's like, yes, we're trying to solve a problem and figure something out right now. But more often in the case when you would actually use the triforce, is more about things we've talked about it a little bit, like making a tough decision about something in your life or deciding how to respond to a certain situation that could be at work, it could be in another relationship, it could be with a friend or a family member.

A distinction that we wanted to make too is that, just like with sympathy and empathy, there's also a distinction between advice based on an experience that you've had of saying yes, I've been through something really similar to that. Here's what I did and it worked badly. Or here's what I did and it worked well. That's one thing versus I haven't been in that situation, but what about doing this, often it's sort of as a question like that rather than you should do this, which maybe sounds more like a parent, which I don't recommend giving advice really ever in that fashion unless someone specifically asked for that type of advice, just like, "Tell me what to do", but is trying to figure out a problem together.

But the thing I did want to bring up with this is, in terms of sharing a personal experience and what you did, that to go back to triforce number two. Sometimes people can share, "Oh, I feel empathy for you. I'm going to share an experience I had like yours", and then slip into giving advice because saying, "Here's what I did, and it worked out great. You should do that."

Even if they leave out that you should do that, there's that implication of sounding a bit like advice. I only bring that up, not to say you're doing it wrong if you do it this way, because we're all human, we're all trying to figure out the best way to be human beings, but just to mention it as something to be aware of, to realize, “Whoops, I better be careful. I don't accidentally slip into advice when that's not what they want.”

Or if someone is looking for advice, getting the distinction of saying, “I haven't experienced anything like this. Do you still want to hear my thoughts about it? Do you want to talk about it?” Or saying, “I have had an experience somewhat similar to this. This is what happened for me.” It's just understanding that that's a distinction worth making.

Similarly, if you're asking, you could say, “Have you had an experience like this? If so, I'd love to hear how that worked out for you. What happened?” If they haven't, it's okay to say, “Thanks. It's just a hard thing I'm going through. I don't really want advice right now.” On both sides, just being aware of that can help you take care of yourself a little better.

Emily: Should we get into some ways that this can happen in real life?

Jase: Yes.

Emily: Okay. One thing that I went through and that both of you helped me with was that my friend is reacting to my coming out as polyamorous in a negative way. Can you give me some help with my responses and emotions toward her during this time or do you have any resources that I can share with her? Obviously, this podcast, but stuff like that. What are actionable things that I can do in order to help myself in this situation?

Also, presumably, most people who come out in any fashion might have backlash regarding that. Probably it's an easy thing that people can empathize with and that people can give advice about if they themselves had gone through it before.

Jase: Yes. We're going get more into this distinction later, but I think that's a really good example of something that could be either Triforce number two or number three. That if you didn't clarify, we wouldn't know. Do you want advice about what you should say to her or do you just want the like, “Gosh, I've been there too. It really sucks.” That's definitely a good example of a time when asking for what you want can be really helpful.

Emily: Absolutely.

Dedeker: Yes. A couple years ago, I had the very first real problem of trying to decide which publisher to go with for my book. First one was Jase, even though Jase doesn't have a similar experience of like this particular experience of trying to decide between publishers, that I can still come to him and be like, “Hey, I'm having difficulty deciding which way I should go here? Can I talk it out with you and hear what your opinion is on who I should go with?”

Being very specific in that situation because, again, that is another situation where it could very easily have been, “I just need to talk this out loud and have you just listen to me. I don't need your advice or your opinion on it. I just need someone to be a sounding board as I try to figure this out.”

Jase: Right, but in this case, it was Triforce number three of like, “I want your opinions. What would you do in this situation? What do you think?” That's another great example where it could have been one or three. A similar one that I had, gosh, now many, many years ago, back when I was living in Seattle, was just, “I'm thinking of moving to LA, should I do it or not? Is that a terrible idea?”

It was interesting. It was one that I asked a lot of different people for their thoughts on and got a whole range of advice from people being like, “No, you're too sweet. That city is going to eat you up and spit you out. You're going to become bitter and jaded.” Or other people being like, “Yes, man, follow your dreams. It's going be great,” or, “I lived there for several years when I was younger and I loved it.” Whatever it is, I got a whole range of advice. From that, I was able to make my decision. It wasn't like I was looking for someone to make it for me.

I was clearly asking, “I want your impressions. I want your thoughts about it, whether you've been there or not.”

Dedeker, do you want to give us our mnemonic for this one?

Dedeker: Oh, gosh. If I must, okay. The mnemonic that we came up for Triforce number three is that, if you're building a three-sided pyramid-

Emily: You've got to be very specific. [laughs]

Dedeker: Pyramids are three sided. They are three sided. That is a fact. The pyramids in Egypt are not, but an actual pyramid is three sided.

Jase: Got it.

Emily: No, it’s not.

Jase: Like a geometry pyramid rather than an Egypt pyramid.

Dedeker: Yes, exactly.

Jase: Got it.

Dedeker: If you're coming together to build a three-sided pyramid, you may need a team of people to work together and solve some problems.


Jase: Oh, man.

Emily: Three is the pyramid, the two is the hug, and one is ONEdering.

Dedeker: Wonder, “If you're ONEdering, this is what's going on with me.”

Jase: Or just one person sharing and the other just listening.

Dedeker: Yes. Okay. We are, “Please, dear God, if you have better ones, please email us.” If you're in the patreon group, post it to the patreon group.

Jase: Or you can send it to us on Twitter.

Dedeker: Yes, that too.

Emily: Tweet us.

Dedeker: Or if you think these are great, we'd love to hear that too.


Jase: Let us know...

Dedeker: I can see validation on that.

Jase: Which is the best, Gosh.

Emily: Alright, examples of how it’s improved our lives. It's definitely helped me in speaking with my partner just because I know that he and I tend to have very different styles of communication. Again, the whole Chewer/Spewer thing. We're able to communicate more effectively because it's that question of like, “What do you need in this situation right now? Do you really want advice or do you just want to hear that you're valued and that you're loved in this moment?” I think it's huge from that standpoint.

I've also given it as a good way for other people to communicate more effectively with their partners. I have a really good friend who keeps getting upset when her boyfriend just tells her like, “Well, you need to do X, Y, or Z.” I said, “Well, why don't you tell him next time, “Hey, I'm just looking for kindness right now. Why can’t you just give me that?””

Dedeker: For me, it's been so good just to have an awareness of this that any time I'm in a situation where I come away feeling like I feel disappointed or I feel annoyed with this person or upset with this person and being able to immediately realize like, “I think I didn't really ask for what I needed in that situation. That's why?” Instead of being pouty or sulky or just upset, that I can come back to that person and be like, “You know what? Actually, I think what I would really love right now is just to get a hug and to hear some words of encouragement.”

It's just been so good for me. Again, even if the other person has no idea about the Triforce, that for me, I can have that clarity and then I can come to that person and again basically double or triple my chances of actually getting what I want and actually coming away from that interaction feeling good instead of disappointed.

Jase: I know we joked about it earlier in the episode, but with myself and Dedeker, often her reflexes to go to giving advice if I'm sharing about something that's going on, originally that was just annoying and I would end up getting frustrated about it. But honestly, if I'm being real here, the Triforce has been helpful too for me, to go, “I am a little frustrated, but it's just because I wasn't clear about what I wanted. Actually what I'm just looking for is support right now.” That gives her the opportunity to go, “I see, got it. Okay, let me try to give you that then instead.”

That's been really helpful for us. I wanted to talk a little bit about using this for clarifying what it is that you want, which is exactly that, is saying, “Hey.” You could either use the numbers if both of you know the numbers and you could say, “Hey, I'm looking for Triforce number three right now. Here's what's going on. Help me out.” Or you can just use your words, just use normal language.

Emily: Use your words.

Jase: Use your words. You can use normal language to explain it and just say, “Hey, I'm really looking for some advice right now,” or, “I'm looking for some sympathy and some care right now,” or, “I'm looking for some commiseration right now,” or, “Hey, I just want to share this with you. Can you just listen to me for a second? Whatever it is, it's incredibly powerful to be able to share that, especially if you yourself are clear on what it is that you want.

Even if you don't know right away what that is, as soon as you do start to figure that out-- Or you could even go in saying, “I'm not sure if I want number two or number three. I don't know if I want support or if I want advice, but let's see how it goes.” Once you become aware of it, you can say, “Yes, you're right. I am looking for advice. That is really helpful,” or, “No. Can you just tell me it's going be okay or give me a hug,” or whatever it is.

We wanted to give you now some examples of real-life situations where the same thing could easily be either one, two, or three, and that if you don't specify, someone could think it was any one of those and your odds of being misunderstood and getting the response you're not looking for are even greater.

Dedeker: Right. That’s the thing. It’s, you can't always tell just by the nature of the situation what the other person is looking for.

This counts even if you've known this person for a long time. Studies show that actually the longer you know a person, the worse you are being able to predict what they need because you build a narrative in your head of thinking that you know this person and know exactly what they need. When human beings-

Emily: That's really interesting.

Dedeker: Yes, I know. It's really interesting. When human beings are just human beings, we’re unpredictable and full of contradictions. We do change. It's more likely that we want something different than what you expect. For instance, something that comes up a lot is the topic of, how do you talk about your emotions with a partner.

Let's say particularly one that comes up a lot is, if you're struggling about let's say your partner going out on a first date or maybe struggling with a new relationship or something like that, that you can come to your partner and it could be number one. It could be, “I'm having a really hard time with you leaving on a first date right now, but I'm going to be okay. You're not doing anything wrong. I just needed to get it out there and just let you know.”

You're not expecting your partner to do anything about it, maybe not even to try to reassure you, it's just letting them know, “Hey, this is what's going on with me,” maybe even choosing to be vulnerable for the sake of getting a little more intimate with your partner because vulnerability does that in relationships. Again, Triforce number one, just letting you know this is what's going on inside of me. That very same situation you may come to your partner and it could be seeking Triforce number two or seeking support or acknowledgment.

It could be, “I'm having a hard time with you heading out on a first day right now. I could really just use your support and some positive words and reassurance and maybe a hug.” That's it. Again, it could be Triforce number three, seeking advice or trying to solve a problem. “I'm having a really hard time with you heading out the door to a first date right now. I would love to maybe figure out and talk either right now or maybe later." Again, if they really are literally about to head out the door, “And figure out what we can do together to make things feel better. What is leading up to you going on a first date? Let's actually sit down and look at this problem and see if there's any ways we can just change the things that we're doing or change the way we talk about it in order to make it feel better.”

That's the same situation but asking for very different things. Maybe in that situation, you may want all of those things as well. It's totally okay to not just pick one but to ask for all of them as well. Remember that it's very important not only that you if you're seeking something from your partner to clarify, but also if you're the partner who's being approached with this, that it's okay for you to also ask in order to clarify what they want as well.

Jase: Yes.

Emily: Yes. We have one more quick way in which all of these things can be relevant, which is if you share a mistake about something that you did to a friend or a partner with someone else. You might ask for Triforce number one and say like, “I'm really preoccupied because I'm feeling bad about something that I did. Again, not just saying like, “I want to let you know that I'm preoccupied right now. It's because I did something." You're not asking for advice or you're not asking for kindness or anything from them, but just understanding that that's the headspace that you're currently in.

Triforce number two would be, “I feel really bad about this thing that I did and I want you to let me know that I'm still a good person.” Again, being sweet, being kind, being empathetic or sympathetic, or just understanding in that moment and to get something from them in the form of Triforce two saying like, “Please let me know that I am still a good person and that even though I did this bad thing, that doesn't make me bad as well."

Triforce number three would be, “I really feel bad about this thing that I did. I want your advice about what I can do to make it better,” or to make my partner, whomever my friend feel better in that moment. That one is asking for advice, specifically.

Jase: This is one that's definitely come up a lot for me. I feel like in this sort of situation where you're also attaching to it a lot of shame or fear of being judged for what you've done, that it's extra important in those times to clarify this. I've definitely not been clear about what it was that I wanted and been really upset by responses that I've gotten from people in talking about things that I've screwed up because all of us on this podcast make a lot of mistakes.

That's why we do this podcast, not because we're perfect, because we make a lot of mistakes too and we want to help other people to avoid as many of those as they can or to recover from them. This is a really good example of, “I really screwed up,” and what kind of support am I looking for right now can make a big difference.

Because if you imagine that where you're just feeling awful and horrible about yourself and you go to someone wanting them to just tell you that you're okay and instead they tell you, “Well, you really need to do these difficult things. You need to approach this.” You can feel in that state like they're telling you all those things you are afraid of, that you are a bad person, that you are terrible, all of that.

This is I think an especially relevant one to talk about and one that we didn't really deal with the first time we talked about the Triforce. I'm really happy that we were able to bring up this example to talk about it. These were all examples of you approaching someone saying, “Here's what I'm looking for.” The Triforce is also very powerful on the other side.

Again, if someone approaches you with these, especially if it's something where you don't know exactly what it is they're looking for from context, it's not clear why they come to you and say, “Hey, I'm looking for a solution to whatever,” instead they say, “Hey, this is a situation,” that's your opportunity knowing about this to say -- well, if they know about the Triforce you can say, “Which Triforce are you looking for right now?” Which is a question that Dedeker asks me all the time, “Which Triforce are you looking for right now?”

More often what comes up for me is a friend or someone shares something with me, I can say-- I'll usually start off with Triforce number one or two, ask of like, “Oh, gosh. I understand that. That seems difficult. What are you looking for right now? Do you want to be comforted? Do you want advice about that or would you rather just talk it out and have me listen? Just that, I've found that so often, people are just so relieved at even being asked that question.

They're being asked a question that they didn't even know that they wanted to be asked and that just asking it, they can-- Sometimes they'll be confused for a second at first, but then once they can get clear about what it is they want and you can give that to them, it can be really powerful in terms of actually helping them, giving them what they want. Same in a positive situation as well, right? I've found it to be-- again, this is one of my favorite tools that we've talked about on this show. I love it so much. I use it all the time. Our patrons use it in the patreon group.

This is something we developed specifically for one-on-one types of interactions or maybe just talking to a couple of other people, but that’s also been used in much larger groups like our private Facebook only group for patrons. It obviously can be a little bit different in those sorts of situations and we've built it more around these one-on-one interactions, but it is really cool that people have been able to use it in so many different ways.

Thank you all so much. I hope that you enjoyed this episode. I was really excited that we got to go back and revisit this, clarify some of these things, and also bring with it this almost a year and a half worth of using this literally every day, to be able to share this with you. I'm really excited about that. Do you have- [laughs]

Dedeker: Triforce power and courage away. Courage, power, and wisdom. That’s it.

Emily: Courage power and wisdom.

Dedeker: Damn it.

Jase: Yes, well done.

Dedeker: Was it intimacy, support, and advice?

Jase: Yes, intimacy, support, and problem-solving, or maybe sharing, support and problem-solving. I don't know. You could say them how you want. Let's review our mnemonics real quick before we close out this episode.

The first one is, one person is sharing while the other is listening or, “If you're wondering what I'm thinking or what's going on with me, this is what it is.” Number two is it takes two people to hug and that could be a hug of congratulations or it could be a hug of sympathy or empathy. Three is if you're building a geometric three-sided pyramid, you need to put a team together and really work on solving that problem and figuring out all of the angles and stuff.

Dedeker: Planning also.

Jase: And planning.

Dedeker: Lots of planning.

Jase: Yes, perfect.

Emily: Good god.

Jase: All right, thank you all so much.