Matching and Pacing

In most relationships, one person will inevitably problem solves faster than the other. One person will inevitably think faster than the other. One person will feel more deeply than the other. One person will be more somber than the other. The fact that one person has the potential to outpace the other person in conversations can be problematic.

Problems arise when the faster person attempts to carry the conversation faster than the partner can process. Some people think by talking out loud. They don’t know what they are trying to say until they have verbalized their thoughts. Some people think things out in their head and then verbalize their thoughts. When external thinkers marry the internal thinkers, problems can arise.

Internal thinkers have difficulty understanding why external thinkers change their mind in the middle of the conversation. They don’t understand that the external thinker is using the conversation as a method necessary to arrive at their conclusion. External thinkers have difficulty giving the internal thinker time to think things through before responding. The internal thinker can become frustrated when there isn’t enough time to analyze the information before responding.

Some people feel emotion very deeply. They often assume that people close to them are also feeling emotion at the same level they are. This leads to misjudgment in interpreting the reasons behind other people’s behaviors and speech. People who do not feel deeply emotionally, are often taken aback by those who do. They can recoil from the intensity of the emotion. People who do not feel deeply sometimes assume that other people feel at the same level that they do. This often results in them underestimating the impact that words will have on an emotional person.

People make decisions at different speeds. Some people are very impulsive and make decisions before they weight out all the consequences of each option. Some people are so methodical at weighing every possible outcome that they appear to almost freeze in their decision making. Some people make snap decisions based on anxiety or fear. Other people shy away from decisions due to depression.

When people are married they have to make joint decisions on many subjects. This requires that both people have patience with the other person’s speed, thinking process, and emotional insight to the topic. If one person pushes the other to move faster than they are capable, it can have negative consequences. In the short term, it will often result in an escalated argument or fight. In the long term, it will often result in the pusher feeling frustrated and the pushed feeling resentful. If people are not allowed the space to process things through, the result will be that a poorly calculated decision will be made.

When people match and pace their partner in conversation, they are attempting to match their emotional level and pace their processing speed. The matching and pacing process increases comfortability and allows for decisions to be adequately thought out. The process also decreases frustration that often leads to someone blurting out half thought out answers that otherwise would not be said.