Saturday, August 15, 2009

The Art of Communication

We all communicate all the time, using words, intonation, hand movements, body postures, facial expressions, etc. We do it in person, by e-mail, on the phone, by snail mail, in books and journals.

Communication is an Art. Just like some people are excellent Artists, and some just plain suck, the same happens with communication. Some people are very good at it, and some, well, not as talented.

So, what happens if someone decides that communication is overrated, and start assuming or interpreting? It is when the shit hits the fan, because it is so error prone. That is why I generally try to ask what is going on, and it makes that I sometimes only after some time come to the conclusion that I actually agree or disagree with what happened in a specific situation.

In the context, I think I can safely say that if you really want to piss me off, assume that I do things for a specific reason without asking me. Because most of the time, you are wrong. I especially get really pissed when someone assumes that I have very negative emotions. I most of the time do not have them, and even when I do have them, it is generally short lived.

And if you really want to know, use an assumption of how I feel as a reason to for example end a friendship or business relationship. If you really cannot say why YOU want to do that, do not invent reasons that I supposedly have. It really pisses me off.

And now that we are talking about pet peeves, never ever ignore when I respond to your unsubstantiated claims about how I feel.....

Communication is an Art, and if used properly, it can help resolve many many issues. Most issues start with poor communication. When a situation has gone bad, resolution often starts with recognizing that the feelings of the other are valid. Your own feelings are always valid. So are those from your opponent. One thing I find fascinating in the US is that many discussions I have seen will escalate as they become black and white. I have encountered that much less in the Netherlands. I think that is because everything in this country at a political level is split down the middle, due to a two party system. In a multi-party system, you are forced to find common ground all the time with other parties, because hardly ever will one party have an absolute majority. But I digress....

When two people (or groups) fight and one retreats to their own little island of (perceived) righteousness, there will be only losers. And that is sad. Unfortunately, it takes two to tango....

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