In the Sharing Garden, there gathered people from all around the world. When they felt that they were suffering from the emotional flu some time in their lives, they sought help, complied with proper treatment, changed their thinking style, and exercised physically; they eventually recovered. These people were sitting around the tree and sharing their pathways to the recovery of the flu. Depressed Little Prince joined the discussion, learned the experiences, and gained insights.
Joe Sad had no friends. He had no clue why this would be so. People around him would describe him as
“He thinks he’s the greatest.”
“I feel uncomfortable to talk with him.
“He can only see himself.”
When I need someone to talk with. I’d never choose him.”
“He seems to be unsociable. I’m afraid to get close to him.”
Common Obstacles to Communication
|Criticizing||While positive criticism can help others improve, too much of it would be disregarded as disapproval.|
|Labelling||Labelling can block communication because of the negative connotations such as “intellectual” and “bully.” Sometimes even apparently positive labelling like “dedicated” and “hard working” may prevent you from appreciating others as as a person.|
|Diagnosing||It means trying to assess someone’s personality and analyze for him/her, according to your personal judgement, the reasons behind this person’s speech and/or action. Many people will understandably resent this amateur psychological snooping.|
|Praising||Praises become an obstacle when they are perceived as manipulative or patronizing, even if you were sincere when you said so.|
|Ordering||Essentially declaring that others are inferior to you.|
|Threatening||Physical, emotional, and material threat may give you an illusion of control over others; nonetheless, this is not a result of respect but fear and eventually distrust of others.|
|Moralizing||Preaching about the “should?and “shouldn’t?earns yourself no respect but disdains as you are essentially denying others?right to decide for themselves.|
|Questioning||Excessive questioning can turn out to be an interrogation, especially when the questions are engineered towards answers you expected, rather than what the other person would like to discuss.|
|Closed-end questions||Again, conversations that lead nowhere but to conclusions you wanted to reach; others opinion are rendered irrelevant.|
|Admonishing||Admonishments often imply denial of others?opinions while imposing yours upon them. More likely than not, your insistence would be considered groundless as even the simplest argument concerns factors for which your limited knowledge and experiences are barely sufficient and appropriate.|
|Digressing||Nitpicking insignificant points from others?argument from which you then wander off out of your own interest.|
|Arguing in the name of logic||Focusing on the so-called “facts” while ignoring the others?feelings. In problematic situations, feelings are usually more important.|
|Reassuring||Boiling down to denying the others?feelings in the end, because you do not truly understand why.|
Three Basic Communication Skills
Tell the other person clearly and non-defensively how you feel, or how you think about a particular issue, rather than trying to hide your feelings or misrepresent him/her.
By listening we mean actively trying to listen to what the other person really says, rather than assuming you know what he/she is going to say, or listening to yourself, or interrupting. Obviously, if you don’t hear what the other person actually says, you do not have much chance of communicating well. As if you are a tape recorder, take the conversation in word by word and chew on each word one by one.
Validating means to accept as truth what the other person tells you about his/her feelings, rather than denying his/her feelings, or insisting that he/she ought to feel or think the way you would. Validating is not giving in, nor does it mean, “I understand why you feel the way,” nor “Yes, I would do the same.” The minimum and sufficient validation is just to accept how the other person feels.
Everybody likes You
- Wining or losing isn’t that important; friendship always goes first.
- Be generous to give compliments to others and be grateful to receive compliments from others.
- Actively group up with others; don’t just wait to be asked to join.
- Try to build up a dialogue. When the others get what they want, they would enjoy your company.
- At times of conflict, don’t create enemies.
- You may give suggestions and persuade others, but don’t be the boss.
- When making group decisions, make sure everyone passes the final consensus.
- Respect others?opinions. Everyone has the right to say what he/she wants to say without being put-down.
- Offer to share when you feel that the others would enjoy, but don’t show off.
- Neither reject nor neglect anybody. Instead, invite him/her to join in.
McGrath, H., & Francey, S. (1999). Friendly kids friendly classrooms. Sydney: Longman Pearson.
Montgomery, B. & Evans, L. (1993). (2nd ed.). You and stress. Melbourne: Viking O’Neil.