Trainer Tip: In Compassionate Communication, we consider needs to be universal. That means that while we all have the same needs, such as for love, support, shelter, food, joy, caring, etc., we choose different ways to meet our needs. Trainer Tip There are so many kinds of voices in the world, and none of them is without significance. —1 Corinthians 14:10 In Compassionate Communication, we consider needs to be universal. That means that while we all have the same needs, such as for love, support, shelter, food, joy, caring, etc. (refer to the needs list in the front of the book), we choose different ways to meet our needs. For instance, I have a need for transportation and so I choose to own a car. When I travel long-distances, I choose to fly, and I have also used Amtrak. The need in all these examples is transportation; my methods or strategies are a car, plane, and train. One of my sisters lived in a dangerous Seattle neighborhood once. She had a need for safety, so she befriended the gang members in her neighborhood. They could visit her and hang out in her house anytime they wanted. She never locked her door so that they had free access. This method might not work for some of us, but it fully met her need for safety. When we start to distinguish between our universal needs and the strategies we choose to meet those needs, we can bring clarity to our relationships. Let’s imagine that you and your friend are arguing over where to go on vacation. Choosing the right place is a strategy to meet your needs. But what are the needs that you are each trying to meet with this vacation? Don’t assume that everyone is trying to meet the same needs as you. You might find that you are primarily interested in fun, and your friend is primarily interested in rest. Consider both your needs, and then discuss places that would accommodate them. Changing the focus of your conversations to needs can open the possibility for everyone’s needs to be considered and met through a peaceful resolution. Be aware of the difference between universal needs and the strategies you choose to meet those needs. This trainer tip is an excerpt from Mary Mackenzie's book Peaceful Living, available from PuddleDancer Press.