Saturday, January 30, 2010

Honest Communication: That's Better.

In my short time living I've come to really value words spoken in honest, open communication. Crucial Conversations, a book I started reading last year as part of a work assignment but never actually finished, changed my life completely in terms of the quality of relationships I have with people after having an extreme difference of opinion on a subject where pathos was free flowing. Twice last month I found myself in such situations, once at work and once with my best friend (The Best). In one case we were able to achieve honest communication from both parties and the overall goal of the relationship was strengthened. The Best is very honest and open in conversations like these, and since I am too, it was very easy for that conversation to be beneficial: you listen to the other person, they listen to you, you can both gain a clear understanding of where the other person stands. From there you simply figure out where you want the overall situation to end up, and synergize to get there so both parties feel sufficed. Fin.

The other situation, however, has not proven to have been quite so profitable, and in all honesty I blame it on a lack of complete, honest communication. In these types of conversations it is important to remain calm and allow the other person to blow up, because that's what people do. For the most part, our society has done a very good job of teaching each other that we let our emotions control us and do whatever they drive us to do. Self restraint is a rare commodity in people these days, and it has become one consummate dilemma for our country in more facets than simply communication. Just look at our weight, our habits, our marriages, our lust, the seven deadly sins truly are still living among us...

Back to my story though, despite having allowed this person to blow up and voice their differencing of opinion, then delicately stating my position and trying to outline our overall goal for the situation, in the two weeks that have passed since this conversation was held I am still noticing a feeling of bitterness and peeve seeping from her. I can honestly state that I tried MY hardest to help the situation reach a better overall standing, but somehow honest communication was not achieved from both sides, and it has resulted in a less than desirable situation. What do you do.

So, America, let me make this easy for you. State your goal, listen first, then keep your emotions in check while you speak your honest thoughts. Honesty is so critical, and most people honestly don't own up to it.

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