You know the saying “plays well with others?”
Well, sometimes I think we should be graded on how well we communicate with others.
Unfortunately, I was born with a curse. This curse happens to be an ever changing countenance (a.k.a. Noooo poker face.) As a result I do a lot of non-verbal communication without even realizing it.
It’s because of this curse that you’ll not have to wonder if I like you or dislike you, if I think you’re smart or unintelligent, if I agree with your statement or disagree, if I like your food or if I think it tastes like the dog made it. In fact, one of my ex-boyfriends (who, conveniently enough, had a major in communication) said that I gave more non-verbal communication than almost anyone he’d ever met. I don’t know if I should have considered that a compliment or a suggestion for improvement.
The point of the rambling is that it’s IMPORTANT to think about how your communicating. We can communicate in more ways than just words. Sometimes we communicate in tones, body language, facial expression, and of course in spoken words. Whatever form of communication you choose, you should understand there are a couple of different steps involved. Here’s a refresher, in case you forgot:
- You (the source) decide there’s a message you want to send out.
- You encode the message (meaning you pick out the words to represent the idea) and channel them to the recipients eardrum.
- The recipient then uses those codes you put together and decodes them to decipher the message.
- The recipient comes to a conclusion about what you intended the message to be and responds.
In order to send a message accurately, one would have to pick words that the recipient could understand. One might even have to pick a tone or feeling that the recipient would find appropriate. If the tone does not match the message a signal is switched and the recipient is unsure if the message would be trustworthy.
I’m convinced this is why men and women just can’t seem to understand each other.
Today, on facebook, I posted this status update:
“Women are like well written books, sometimes there’s a deeper interpretation needed.”
One of my male friends responded with, “… and sometimes they are so well written, they go right over your head!”
Really, it’s no wonder men don’t understand women, because when we’re upset, we’ll say the exact opposite of what we mean.
For example, we might say, “I don’t care about you. I don’t want to see you.”
But what we really meant was, “Aw shoot, I hate caring about you. I wish I didn’t. I’m sad I won’t get to see you. I wish I didn’t even want to see you. I wish I was that strong, and that in control. I’ll say it, so he thinks I am.”
So, here was my advice to my facebook responder today, and I really was impressed with how accurately I stated it..
“My advice – try to catch the feeling behind the words. Then, after you have the feeling, try to understand why she might be feeling that way in the first place and address THAT issue. Not the words that she actually spoke. ;) You do that, and you’ll be seen as a genius!”
I guess the real point of this blog is that I was really smart today and I wanted to share it with you. ;) Hahaha! But seriously, you might think about how you’ve been trying to communicate. It takes a bit of practice, guys, but I’m pretty sure you could figure out a woman if you tried really hard. We just have a few more steps in decoding our messages.
And women, I’m not letting you off the hook. We have a responsibility to:
- Know our emotion
- Accurately state our emotion
- Be truthful about what we want
- Stop assuming things that have not been openly stated. If you are wondering if something is true, you might consider asking directly.
Men have a responsibility as well:
- Care about the emotion
- Validate the emotion (they really should be allowed to have feelings)
- Realize that they might be a little irrational to have drawn to that conclusion based on your action, but however irrational it might be, they still experienced the emotion and will tie that memory to that emotion for the REST OF TIME. So, unless you have a time machine – get over it and address the underlying problem.
Gosh. All this skill, I should be a counselor. Go forth and communicate well with others!