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In some conversations, it’s difficult to distinguish between explaining and being defensive. But it’s important to recognize the difference between the two in order to have an effective conversation.
While explaining can be seen as an opportunity to inform others, being defensive can have the opposite effect and lead to mistrust and misunderstanding.
Understanding the subtle differences between the two, as well as the situations for each, can help to improve communication and relationships.
In this post, we will discuss the differences between explaining and being defensive, as well as provide examples of each. We will also talk about the benefits of choosing the correct approach for any conversation.
By examining the differences between them, we can gain insight into how to improve the way we communicate with others.
Explaining involves giving facts and details
Explaining involves giving facts and details to support an argument or point of view. It is done in a calm, objective manner, free of blame or criticism.
When explaining, the goal is to provide information and help the other person understand your point of view.
An example of explaining could be providing reasons why you need to leave work earlier than usual. You can explain that you have an appointment to attend, or that you need to pick up a child from school.
By providing additional details and facts, you can help the other person better understand your situation and why you need to leave.
Being defensive involves deflecting criticism
Being defensive involves deflecting criticism, rather than taking it on board and attempting to explain the situation.
This can include blaming others for the outcome, making excuses, or trying to minimize the criticism.
For example, if someone asks why you missed a deadline, being defensive could involve saying that your co-worker was the one who was late with their part of the project and implying that the delay was entirely their fault.
In contrast, explaining the situation could involve explaining what happened, what steps you took to rectify it, and what you have learned from the experience.
Examples of explaining include giving examples and evidence for a situation
Explaining is an important skill to have in order to effectively communicate a point of view, opinion, or idea. It involves providing information, evidence, and examples to illustrate and support your point.
This is in contrast to being defensive, which is when you become confrontational or hostile in response to criticism or a disagreement.
One example of explaining is providing statistics to support a point. For example, if you were trying to explain why people should wear masks in public, you could provide research that shows how masks can help reduce the spread of disease.
Another example is providing an example of a situation. For instance, if you were explaining why you think it’s important to be kind to others, you could provide an example of a time when someone was kind to you and how it made you feel.
Finally, providing evidence to support a point is another form of explaining. For example, if you were trying to explain why you think a certain policy should be implemented, you could provide evidence of how it has been effective in other areas.
Examples of being defensive include shifting blame and attacking the other person
Being defensive is a common response when someone feels threatened or belittled. It is a coping mechanism used to protect oneself from feeling vulnerable.
Examples of being defensive include shifting blame and attacking the other person. People might try to deflect responsibility by pointing out the mistakes of the other person or making excuses for their own actions.
They might become aggressive and lash out verbally or physically at the other person. These tactics are usually used to avoid taking responsibility and to protect oneself from further criticism.
The goal of explaining is to provide clarity while the goal of being defensive is to protect oneself
Explaining and being defensive are two distinct approaches to dealing with a challenging situation.
Explaining is about providing clarity and understanding for the other party, while being defensive is about protecting oneself and pushing back on any criticism.
Explaining typically entails explaining why something happened, backed up by relevant evidence or facts. It is an open and honest approach that can be useful for diffusing a situation.
Being defensive is a more closed-off reaction which seeks to protect the speaker from criticism by deflecting any blame. The goal of being defensive is to protect the speaker from any potential criticism, rather than offering an explanation.
It is important to remember the difference between explaining and being defensive. Explaining provides clarity and context, while being defensive can make the situation worse.
Being aware of the subtle differences between the two can help you communicate more effectively and can even help you avoid potentially damaging conflict.