Let’s have a discussion about communication!
Below are some of the ways I personally have communicated with others.
Not all of them are positive, but they can AFFECT an EFFECT that might not be expected.
Without going into details, in the last couple of weeks, I’ve had some hard conversations, and some even truly deep ones that have quite honestly changed my perception of not only the speaker (writer in the case of the communications done online rather in person or on video chat), but myself, and my view of the world at large, and how I personally fit into this crazy bunch of stars slammed into one another.
The one typical conversation pitfall I am most well known for is the fact that I assume everyone is caught up to speed on my brain & thoughts regarding a situation/conversation, and dive in midway, rather than giving at least a summary of events leading up to my launch point. I’ve done this today already, and I have to stand back and take stock of how it is perceived, rather than intended. When we desire to have a positive response, we need to be mindful of the intended recipient.
Yes, I realise you can’t determine every possible response, but this is something that is a basic decent human ability. I’ve said it in here before but there are multiple ways to say the same thing. “Your face could slow the hands of time”. – nice, thoughtful, makes me perceive the speaker is genuinely giving me a compliment about my beauty. “Your face could stop a clock.” – well, fuck you too buddy! I didn’t think I was that repulsive!
Many of us know a person (but hopefully not several!) who needs to be “handled” because they are “brutally honest” or just a douchebag looking to try to make everyone feel inferior to their insecure little brains. If you have to be handled/translated for in your native tongue, to others hearing and listening in your native tongue, you’re not communicating effectively.
So now, I’m gonna give you some examples of instances, and see if there is a way to circumnavigate around this type of issue.
Sometimes, what we intend to say doesn’t come out properly, and we flub hard.
I did this very thing this morning. I launched into a situation and didn’t think how it was going to be received, but didn’t clarify the actual context.
I physically panicked someone (which they know I’m incredibly sorry about, as it was not intended and once they had all the details, they understood why I jumped into the story part way through as I was still processing it at the time myself), and had to back up and explain all the parts.
Sometimes, we find no voice at all.
Disagreements with people tend to make me nervous, but I try to understand from their perspective WHY they feel the way they do. One friend right now is going through an incredibly difficult situation that won’t have a happy resolution for a variety of people, including themselves personally.
Though I may disagree with how things could be handled, the fact remains, I need to keep my mouth shut on this, because a) it isn’t my issue; b) I have no say, control, or really any right to an opinion on the issue; and c) IT IS NOT MY ISSUE. I refuse to make someone feel badly based off of my world view of things.
Sometimes, we wish we could rewind the tongue tape and never utter a single vowel.
Example: Whoah, doggies, do I wish I could stop the stampede of word cattle that goes stompin’ out my mouth sometimes. When I get nervous, anxious, or panicked, I lose my train of thought easily, and try to blurt the entire thing out at once to just get me beyond the moment. I mean, I’ve overshared to complete strangers on a bus before, because I was trying to hide but was sure that they all could tell that the bruises on my face were fresh. Or not feeling secure enough in a social setting and think that a joke is a good thing to keep revisiting and it’s dead. Pixie, let it go. Oh my fuck, we get it! You thought it was funny 18 weeks ago, so stop bringing it up!
If you have one, please let me know. I am either a mute when I’m in a group, or on FULL EMOTE. Seriously, my emotions are quantitatively comparable to a warp-core engine in the Enterprise. Give this Pixie too many dilthium crystals, and she overloads the main drive and system malfunctions pop up all over the damn ship, usually the bridge first (aka my mouth to brain connection goes all wonky while the mouth yells MORE POWER and the brain is like NO NO NO NO NO SHUT UP NOW!!!!)
Sometimes, we let stuff sit for far too long and thing that others are going to understand and just instinctively know what we’re doing.
REAL problem: We THINK we KNOW what others are going to say/do based off of some fucked up, predetermined, overly dramatic worst-case-scenario situation that has had way too much time to sit and stew and age like a fecal spirit in some dank ass rotted whiskey barrel.
Yup, again, today, I’m battin’ a thousand today folks, as this one has been gaining moss and bits of rocks and sticks and garbage and debris all the way down the hill to hell from the top of Mount Olympus.
I’m gonna save you the background on this, and just say, I had to eat a bit of crow (wait, that didn’t come out properly, as Jake from State Farm is a Corvid, and NOW those jokes are gonna come back… I didn’t mean… **SHUT UP SERA, just finish your initial thought!!**) and admit something pretty significant to someone who means a LOT to me. I had to tell them some pretty heavy fears that I’ve tossed some epic fertiliser on, and allowed to nourish the deep dark bad ideas about them and guess how they reacted?
They COULD have reacted one of 4 specific ways:
one – delete me immediately from their life.
two – blast me back to Neanderthal time, and I would have to take their mistrust of me from then onward.
three – start to phase me out of their life, the way I had protectively started to do myself.
four – the way they did react: listening to everything, seeing all the issue for what it was, the basis for the initial fear, the reason for the pain and distance, and the worry that I was too much for them, too… broken and damaged, to really want a true friendship from me. In retrospect now, it is far kinder than I gave them, and my respect for them has grown IMMENSELY because of that simple act of listening. They knew I wasn’t coming from a place of hate or malice, and they could see the instances of why I felt I had proof of the crumbling relationship. But they listened, and respected and trusted and were patient enough as I said it all, and their reply, among so many other things, was I love you, and I know they mean that. A friendship I was sure was on the brink of destruction was saved because of communication.
I wonder how many other times in my life I’ve done the same thing.
I could go on, but I think you see where this is going. Not everything we say is going to be taken 100% perfectly. It is up to us, to be mindful of those times, and be willing to articulate ourselves in a manner that proves we care enough about the listener, to understand that sometimes we might say one thing and it can be perceived in a completely different manner.
I know, there are some who are “brutally honest” all the time, but let’s face it, that’s ofttimes a very thin shield over a bravado or insecure person, who doesn’t want to ever be called out on their shit, but is constantly picking at others to be “better”. I’m not talking about those ones here.
When we remember there are (AT LEAST) two beings in a conversation, even in a heated one, respect is not only going to help keep things calm, it will help establish a level of dignity that sadly gets lost in the moment, when tact falls away and brutal “honesty” grabs the heavyweight belt.
Step back. YOU ARE NOT WEAK for walking away and getting clarity of your thoughts. You do however need to identify with the person you are at that tipping point, and you need to refocus yourself so you don’t say something that is not only hurtful, it can be down right harmful.
I’ll leave you with one of my favourite quotes: Use your words, not your voice; for it is the rain that helps the flowers, not the thunder.