You Talkin’ To Me? “We need to talk” is probably one of the most dreaded statements anybody, in any language, wants to hear. It comes in all forms, whether it is the boss at work, the disgruntled family member, or the dreaded, “gee I thought this was going great,” six months into it,” relationship partner. Conversation, in itself, is difficult enough but now with all the alternate ways that people communicate, face to face being the most archaic, it becomes even more important to understand the art of conversation.
Wait, Wait, That’s Not What I Meant Saying what you mean and meaning what you say is often a misnomer. How many times have you sent a text that you thought was quite hilarious, but the recipient, yeah, well, he or she did not have the same reaction and meaning was lost in cyber translation. These days much of our communication is electronic and therefore stripped of the body language that is imperative when making an important point, or even when the mood is jovial. Stating something in an imitation voice with some over the top gestures will definitely get your sarcastic take on the situation, across in person, however some typed words all alone on a screen…well, let’s just say that on the receiving end it doesn’t always sound as good as it does in your head when you are gleefully typing away.
A 4-letter Word That Means Intercourse and Ends With The Letter K. TALK- You got it unless you are amongst the 99% of the population that decided on the acronym for Fornication Under Consent of the King. Either way, talking or f#*&ing is communication of the highest form and even the most difficult in either case, should bring about some change. Sometimes the most challenging and uncomfortable conversations, can in fact be the catalyst for some much needed important changes in your life. Now don’t get me wrong, we all avoid these conversations as if they had a “stranger danger” sign wrapped around them, but the reality is that these conversations can lead to true transformation in both personal and professional arenas. Avoidance Will Kill Your Buzz. Putting it off does not make it go away. Instead it festers like a boil. The anger and resentment that builds will eventually erupt into a pus filled volcano. Visually disgusting I hope, but hey, that’s the reality and it won’t be pretty. Find your courage. Start the conversation. Preparation is Key. Just make sure you are not showing up with a laundry list of complaints. Emphasize concerns, not petty annoyances. Write down the most crucial points so that you can see for yourself what it is that you really need to discuss. You may find after looking at your list, that some things are just not that important. A little bit of time and analysis can save you a great deal of heartache. What Do You Want From Me? You better actually know the answer to this question before you start the conversation. All human behavior is motivated by needs-know what your need is and you will be well on your way to knowing what outcome you hope you see. If you don’t know what you hope to see happen by the end of the conversation, then perhaps it is not the right time to start one. Know what you need, understand the change you want to see happen, and you will be on your way to having a conversation that might be difficult at first, but successful by the end.
Silence and Rage-Hhhhhhmmmm One of my favorite movies, Midnight Run, with Charles Grodin and Robert DeNiro, has one of my favorite lines. “You know what your problem is? You have two forms of communication, silence and rage.” To which DeNiro responds, “Fuck You” or something to that affect. Whatever the case, Grodin hits the nail on the head when referring to DeNiro’s character’s inability to communicate his emotions in any healthy manner. Remain Silent Too Long – Yeah You Get Rage
Difficult Conversations Are… Well Difficult Don’t run away from them though. Keep telling yourself that once it is over, you will feel better. Don’t hide from the issues. Face them head on. It will be tough, but be assured that your relationships will benefit greatly when you learn to handle these conversations with grace and dignity. Steer clear of DeNiro’s response and you might actually get somewhere, that somewhere being the other side of what you thought would be impossible to say, “face to face.”
Check yourself. Someone says “hey your hair looks great.” What’s your first response? “Really, no, it’s actually dirty and I really need to get it cut.” Or do you simply say “thank you.” If you are the latter then you can stop reading now. Compliments can make you feel good about yourself, or they can make you squirm. Why Compliments Are So Difficult To Take I have a dear friend, who no matter when or how I complicate her, she turns it into the negative. I have learned to make her stop and take stock of what is coming out of her mouth. It has almost become routine at this point but I am convinced that one of these days she is just going to say, “thank you.” But why are compliments so difficult for us to take? I know that for me, it has taken most of my life before I have finally arrived at that place where I can just say thank you. It’s not easy. We are programmed to feel like we are bragging. How could saying thank you be bragging? I have found though, that the more women I work with, the more it is ingrained in the female psyche that accepting compliments is synonymous with being vain. I’m pretty sure Carly Simon was talking about a man when she penned that song. Practice Giving Them Now don’t get me wrong. Don’t leave your house with a backpack of bullshit compliments that you are going to hurl at the first dozen people you come across in the day. If you stop for gas, don’t feel the need to compliment the person across the pump on the cool color of his or her car and certainly don’t feel the need to let the drive-thru Dunkin Donuts gal think that “she has a voice for radio.” I mean if she genuinely does than go for it. If not just pay, tip and go. Genuine complimenting, however, is not only good for the recipient, it is good for you as well. Giving compliments is one of the most effective ways to become more skillful at accepting them yourself. Use these strategies to give praise like a pro: Be genuine. Authenticity matters most.. If your intentions are honorable, people will usually welcome your sincerity and it doesn’t have to be about appearances. Pick something specific. Sure it’s nice to hear, “hey I think that color suits you” but how about, “You are one of those people who look amazing, no matter what.” Wow, talk about making someone’s day. Think creatively. Your spouse might appreciate your compliments on a dinner, but how about getting nutty and comment on the fact that he/she goes out of the way to combine healthy with yummy. Now that’s appreciation and an awesome compliment. Write it down. Kindness and praise last longer when you put it in writing. An unexpected card can often times be just what someone needs at that moment. Never underestimate that power Assess your self-esteem. If you would rather have a root canal than a compliment(god forbid in front of others) than it is time to check your self esteem. Remind yourself that you are worthy of love and respect. Make sure to surround yourself with people who are on your side and want the best for you. Focus on the other person. If you are having trouble being gracious, think about the person complimenting you. That takes the pressure off. Let them know that you appreciate the fact that he or she would take the time to be so kind. Whew, you did it! Relax your body. You might be one of those people who are hardwired to repel anything that makes you feel good about yourself. You may actually feel a physical discomfort. Work through it. Make your face smile, whether you want to or not. Don’t cringe. Look the person straight in the eye and say thank you. The more you practice, the more it becomes habit. Compliments and small gestures of kindness do wonders for the soul. Brighten your own day, by complimenting someone. It just feels good!