While I share my thoughts on how critical mastering communication skills are for life, I will also take this opportunity to update everyone on my job/career status; the other night the two went hand-in-hand beautifully.
The update from What’s My Story?: I am now training with and soon to be working as a tutor with a well-established national educational-tutoring company helping struggling students in areas of math, reading, writing, and test-preps. This is my evening job and the primary purpose of this post. I am also currently substitute teaching in one Dallas-area school district, and soon to be substituting in a second Dallas-area school district; yes, three separate jobs to make ends meet. Despite the long hours six-days a week, I am grateful to be working again. But that’s not what I want to talk about.
The other night while observing and assisting the short-staffed learning center, one student was originally from China. He was a very bright 16-year old boy who spoke good English and has lived here about ten months. He was being tutored in advanced English writing and literature. One of his vocabulary words for the night was “exciting” and how to use it in various sentences. Of his five words to learn, this one was the most difficult for him. Tchang (as I will call him here) could not understand the difference between the uses of exciting versus excited. If you are an American having spoken English your entire life, how would you explain the differences to Tchang?
Our attempts to differentiate the two words seemed to confuse Tchang just as much as they seemed to help. After several different examples, in the end his perplexed expressions never receded. Why?
If the English language is not your native tongue, then of the world’s many thousand languages to learn, English is perhaps the hardest to speak and write. Unfortunately, Tchang was learning just how hard it can be. Empathizing with his frustration I explained it wasn’t his fault for not understanding but that it was our/my language; a very complex and often redundant language. English words and their uses can sometimes have one or a half-degree of separation, perhaps less. Yet they will indeed describe a slight difference…which leads me to my big-picture point.
Communication isn’t just a skill; it is the linchpin of one’s true identity.
If you do not master the art of communication, then life will often seem an uphill battle. This holds true just as much for those around you; their communication skills can be just as trying on your patience like trying to navigate a circus fun-house maze of meaning.
Let me merely scratch the surface of how profound communication is to life. “The ability to communicate effectively is important in relationships, education, and work.” Following are steps and tips for the development of good communication from WikiHow. After the first two highlights are explained, for the sake of time and space go to the WikiHow link for the remaining detailed explanations.
Understand the Basics
- Know what communication really is. Communication is the process of transferring signals/messages between a sender and a receiver through various methods (i.e. written words, nonverbal cues, spoken words). It is also the mechanism we use to establish and modify relationships.
- Have courage to say what you think/feel. Be confident that you can make worthwhile contributions to conversation. Take time each day (meditate?) to be aware of your opinions and feelings so you can adequately convey them to others. Individuals who are hesitant to speak because they do not feel their input would be worthwhile need not fear. What is important or worthwhile to one person may not be to another and may be more so to someone else.
Engage Your Audience
- Make eye contact constantly.
- Use gestures often.
- Don’t send mixed messages.
- Be aware of what your body is saying.
- Manifest constructive attitudes and beliefs.
- Develop effective listening skills. Think twice, speak once.
Use Your Words to Impact
- Enunciate your words.
- Pronounce your words correctly.
- Use the right words that accurately convey your thoughts and feelings.
- Slow your speech down!
Use Your Voice to Impact
- Develop your voice – A high or whiny voice is not perceived to be one of authority or authenticity.
- Animate your voice.
- Use appropriate volume.
Though some of us might think these steps/tips are well-known or even intuitive, the present history of mankind and womankind speaks to the contrary. On any level of communication, from world powers to individual family or marital relationships, communication is paramount! Perhaps it is safe to say that wherever there has been violence, hatred, or wars, there has been a massive failure of communication. Conversely, wherever there is or has been peace, love, and collaboration, there has been superb communication. Though it is not quite that simple, this generally stands true does it not?
Then there is the wrench of deception; intended or unintended. This is an entirely different matter and deserves a separate discussion, particularly intended deception. For now, I wish to dabble, or languish depending on circumstances, in the art of interpersonal language and communication, or the lack of it. Also, I have observed an unspoken hierarchy present in human interaction of which I have personally broken them down into these six following hierarchies. I’m very curious; how would YOU define them in the context of “authentic” impactful communication?
- Strangers are –
- Acquaintances are –
- Friends are –
- Close-friends, dear friends (platonic?) are –
- Lovers are –
- Soul MateS are –
Expressing one’s self to others requires understanding one’s self accurately. If you do not understand why you feel or think a certain way, or in a context how you’ve come to feel or think a certain way, then how can you accurately express it? Language and words express as much emotion as they do fact, sometimes one more than the other. How well do your words match your emotions? Better yet, how well do they match your actions or behavior? What is meant when people say “Actions speak louder than words”?
There seems to me to be a pure art of communication and language, and that purity is mysteriously hard to find sometimes not just in others, but within ourselves too. I love being around elementary kids because they still have that blatant innocence to express exactly what they think and feel that we sometimes don’t find among adults. In a group of strangers or acquaintances where little children are present, why do the adults so often invest their attention onto the children instead of the adults? I find this social condition…
I am puzzled by this blurry condition of artful candid communication today so to understand…
I wonder if it might be because as we “mature” we become more sensitive to the way others perceive us. In potential romantic relationships – for that matter even certain long-term relationships – do we sacrifice authenticity to be more loved? And if that is the case, then isn’t that living an illusion? Is it because of a fear of rejection that we do not communicate authentically but in diluted forms in order to be served in some way?
I would very much like to hear any and all feedback on the condition of modern communication; modern verbal communication in interpersonal relationships particularly. How do you find the art of interpersonal communication? From the 6 hierarchies above, is it right or wrong to authentically communicate another’s ‘status’ or ‘ranking’ in your heart?
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How are you. I’m trying to figure out what I’d like to communicate to you regarding your post. Your mention of communication being pure art hits it on the head. Just as a person must put in practice time to learn the piano, the same applies for learning communication. I believe a speech class I took years ago was the most important, best class I ever had. In the 10th, 11th, and 12th grade of high school one speech class should be mandatory for every student. As you know, public address comes in second after death on the list of people’s greatest fears. The reason I suggest tenth grade for the mandatory speech course is that if it was 6th you would find every student unable to shut up. By the 10th grade there would be enough developed maturity to minimize gab-fests in classrooms – distractions. I’ll never forget the speech professor before we gave the first speech in front of the class, “this could be pretty grim”. My father was the most quiet man one could ever meet, so I was the same. After that public address class, it was no sweat on speaking out or up or sideways… Probably more of the sideways variety – as you would agree after reading my posts! However, your focus on communication is merited, and perhaps you have connections who can make my suggestion of mandatory 10th grade public address classes a reality. I believe it would be a very good thing for education as a whole, opening and empowering lines of communication in the world.
I always enjoy your insightful comments; they are ladened with wisdom and often empowering. Thank you!
You are so correct about required speech classes, both on a secondary ed-level then more advanced in the undergraduate levels. Sadly, the U.S. for the last decade or more has been deemphasizing the arts, social sciences, and humanities throughout their entire educational systems (private, charter, or public) while placing heavy priority on math and science; neither of which enable a child or young adult to learn superb artful authentic impactful communication! I feel our social “divides” — interpersonally AND communally — reflect this educational abandonment. I am saddened when I mention Walt Whitman, R.W. Emerson, or Oscar Wilde to a high schooler and they give me a blank stare. But they can damn sure tell me or show me how to Twitter or Facebook or use never-ending acronyms & emoticons in texting. Do not get me started about the amount of time they spend on 6-different social medias 18-out-of-24 hours a day on their phones. 😦
And should I discuss the subject of “bullying” in schools as well as in adult workplaces? Is there a lack of artful kind compassionate, yet authentic meaningful communication present in BOTH environments!? Why or why not? Might it be because we’ve educated our generations to be mathematically-scientifically prone, rather than significantly interconnected and artfully communicating!?
Jerry, I do what I am able (with a smile) regarding the humanities and social sciences, but the ultimate decisions lie in the private families who vote in our educational board directors — then there is the fast trending movement of home-schooling/private schooling and charter schools not just in Texas, but several U.S. states. Again, a social abandonment or withdrawal if you will, from the wealth of the humanities.
Now, we’ve talked about speech education for our youth, what about for adults as well; especially on the interpersonal levels?
Thanks again Jerry!
Hey Professor. Again, congrats on your new adventure in Dallas. So glad you’ve found some time to post. Yay!
I concur with Jerry about making speech mandatory in public schools. Sadly, though, having an opinion that may be opposite of the ‘norm’ is discouraged in many American public classrooms. People also feel pressured to fit in, so I do think they tend to compromise their authenticity. They might get comfortable speaking in public, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they become effective communicators. Speech class is considered a ‘performance’ course. Certainly one of the benefits of speech class is that one can learn to become a better listener. Politicians take speech courses, but they are ‘ear ticklers’ not communicators.
As for your highlighted question:
To be honest with you, I’m not sure I understand your question.
Mmmm…Victoria, you added much to the conversation with Jerry. Thank you! Excellent points regarding the art of kind spoken uniqueness WITHOUT sacrificing self-identity. Delicious! 🙂
Ahh, the desire to “fit in” or be more loved is an illusive strange mental-emotional ghost! But should never be ignored like the proverbial 100 lbs. gorilla in the room, agreed?
My confusing question(s)… as you are already aware Victoria, I seem to have difficulties/issues with the intensity or significance and frequency (i.e. proactively) with which I communicate to others, particularly on romantic levels with women. After several weeks or 2-3 months, a small handful can manage it. I try my best to manage myself, my passions, without sacrificing my identity and integrity. As we’ve discussed, I am a man of certain principles that to a clear & certain point I will not apologize for. This becomes quite frustrating when I encounter personality types similar to mine(?). LOL That just cracked me up! So…
At what point, and with what level candor should two (or more) people closely connected for an appropriate period of time, verbally inform the other(s) what their ‘ranking’ or ‘status’ is inside the heart? Is doing so right or wrong?
Does that help? 🙂
Actions speaks louder than words. They probably already ‘know’ their ‘ranking’. Does that help? 🙂
LMAO! Touche! Then I have a subsequent question for you:
Is it possible to fluctuate between hierarchies or ‘rankings’ and remain authentic? Oh, and is it right or wrong to communicate that ‘status’ and at what frequency or how often? 😀
Why oh why am I having such a hard time trying to understand your questions? Can you please give me an example?
I will borrow part of my reply to Vix’s comment below here to try and clarify what I’m (clumsily) asking…
“Do you think/feel it is possible for Soul Mates, Lovers, or Close Dear friends to move back-n-forth between these hierarchies? And, having been as far (deep?) as Soul Mates or Lovers, would it be right or wrong to actively (proactively?) communicate to each other authentically where each other has moved in a person’s heart? Are their good healthy appropriate ways to communicate life’s, as well as their own, ever-changing phases?
You see, I do not believe (at the moment?) that once two people reach the Soul MateS stage that you ever again leave it — on metaphysical levels, that intimacy is beyond reproach to anyone else. It is merely a matter of how the Soul MateS manage that relationship, even when they are involved/attached/married to others. Am I a lunatic for believing this? LOL”
And to be even more vulnerable and specific with my own current heart-issues (yikes!), I have reached a point in my past & now current relationships (i.e. #’s 4, 5, and 6 in the above hierarchies) that the old adage “On a Need To Know Basis” is highly risky within important/meaningful interpersonal relationships! Over the last 3-5 years I’ve made a conscious determined effort to NOT hide any past (and present) #4, 5, and 6 relationships to anyone. Is it fair to hold someone accountable for a “past” that can never be changed — only learned from? Should not the openness (raw openness?) be held in VALUE rather than a life-time ball-n-chain?
So I guess my reworded question(s) to you Vic is this… is it REALLY necessary to be demoted in the hierarchies for the sake of a “new” Significant Other? And if so, where does the authenticity go, or EVER go…with all involved? If things get pushed into the proverbial “closet” is that really being authentic with a Significant Other????
Ughhhh…this learning curve for me is so damn obtuse right now! 😦
Goodness, goodness Professor and I thought I was deep and complex. lol
Based on some of the voice conversations we’ve had, I think I now know where you are coming from. I would have to agree with the other Victoria, that there isn’t a right and a wrong. But if I’ve learned one thing in life, it’s that people don’t think like I do, because we all have filters.
I think the ‘ranking’ and “hierarchy” terms got me confused because they are, in most cultures, patriarchal terms. Had you used, “like” “love”, and “in love”, etc, I think I would have better understood your questions.
It could be that the one pushing it into the proverbial closet is hoping that you ‘see’ that they can’t be fully authentic with you for possible fear of hurting you — or perhaps they are stringing you along ‘just in case’ things don’t work out with someone else they are involved with.
As far as soul mates go — I think that is left up to interpretation by the individuals. Having a profoundly deep connection with someone could mean that you see your own reflection in them; or it might mean that you love that person very deeply because of who they are, not because of what they can do or have done for you. Because our brain is so good at tricking us — deluding us due to the fact that we are organic beings, with neurotranmitters affecting our emotions and motive, tells us, or rather, tells me that I must examine why I feel the way I do towards another.
I don’t know. If we saw the patterns of certain behaviors of a significant other but still took the risks, is it not ourselves who should be held accountable and learn about more about ourselves?
Depends on the individual. Some people might want to give their ‘best’ love to just one person, just like religion teaches that a person is to give their ‘best’ love and loyalty to their god.
Hope that helped some. I have really enjoyed this discussion, and I apologize that I had difficulties understanding your questions. Because of your alternative life-style, I think things can tend to get complicated when it comes to interpersonal relationships, as if one-on-one relationships aren’t complicated enough as it is. You brave soul. 😉
This turned out long — I don’t want to proof, so if there are any typos, or if I need to clarify, let me know.
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I am SO FRIGGIN UPSET right now! I just had over 3 paragraphs typed in for this reply…then accidentally clicked OFF the pop-down/pop-out reply box and lost it all. *fuming out the ears!* 😦
Here’s the 2nd version:
Thank you NeuroticProject-Vic for taking the thoughtful time to offer your ideas & perspective! Yes indeed, I am a complex, deep person on certain days/weeks. This is one of them.
I had to give your comment a day or two to consider — it is full of wonderful insight. Regarding my Hierarchies inclusion, I want to add background to them for you & anyone reading all these long comments (lol).
To interpret the Hierarchies as simply titles of status would be insufficient. They would also reflect, I think, a time-value investment, a ROI (Return On Investment) if you will. I think/feel most people would agree that in life, you get out of it what energy, time, value you put into it. That is to say, if you really value something, value too its “potential”, then you will invest a level of time, energy, creating value in the future. Correct? And to recklessly invest that time-value would of course lead eventually to bankruptcy. Yet, on the otherhand, there are inherent risks involved…always. Things, events, people, all change and cannot be comprehensively anticipated/predicted. Therefore, how does one truly REALIZE the potential value of something/someone UNLESS they invest meaningfully? And to further carry this logic, if the “account” or thing you’re investing into sees only your “limited” investment (fear-based investments?), then will they ‘withhold’ as well because you are? And further along that line of logic, if one or both, or all parties are withholding, how complex of an “illusion” is being created?
It has been my (sometimes painful) experience to be the one quiet willing to invest a little above the traditional “amounts” after say a 3-6 month quality time period. And I do not reach that decision lightly; once I move forward, I don’t look back…OR travel backwards. And THAT is exactly my willing dilemma, my willing risk(s) due to my open-poly lifestyle, because I’ve known in each instance, each investment I’ve deemed (potentially?) valuable that resulted in a disappointing or failed(?) ROI, that I can “recover” just fine. Why “just fine”? Because I ‘leave’ KNOWING I created NO ILLUSIONS and I was “meaningfully authentic”. The latter offers great solace & hope…AND THERAPY sometimes! LOL
In this specific case and time, I just wish the ‘other persons’ saw the same perpetual VALUE in keeping all current and past Close Dear Friends, Lovers, and Soul MateS in either the SAME position or higher as I do…not allowing OTHER “new equation arrivals” to dictate or influence where a previous person resides simply because of their OWN insecurity. Make sense? That NEA (New Equation Arrival) only knows very little of my integrity, my honor, my history — if they know anything at all — due to my Significant Other’s silence or omission, or whatever the hierachal position held may be.
In many ways I don’t like (maybe despise?) the unspoken Hierarchies when only ONE person is traditionally filling certain positions! For me, that is SADLY limiting authentic, meaningful experience & impact; strength in numbers Victoria! Strength in numbers! And even better quality strength if they are all high-meaning, highly authentic, and highly proactively communicating with all! Those are ‘bonds’ that (should?) stand the test of time, and more so stand the test of value…HELD value! 🙂
Now to start on your next comment below. Give me some time on it too please.
Professor, thanks so much for taking the time to respond and the patience in re-posting. I’ve learned the hard way to never respond at any length in the little response box because you can so lose the info. I hope you don’t mind if I’m so blunt here but I’d prefer to be addressed as Victoria as opposed to NeuroticProject-Vic. To you, it may be a term of endearment, but neurotic is representative of neurosis, and neurosis is mental illness. It’s just that we live in a world that stigmatizes mental illness, often mocking it, and sometimes terms like that might play into the stigma. Feel free to edit this part out, but change how you address me to. 🙂
I was having a conversation about this subject with my friend from Denmark, as we both agreed that it takes an enormous amount of time, sacrifice, and commitment to develop relationships on a level that ripens emotional intimacy. I do think you’ve gone the distance, but others were not as willing. It’s probably why many are not drawn to poly lifestyles that involve sex. Sex is like a drug — and studies show that orgasm in males, for example, is like shooting up heroin. Affects the brain the same way. Massive release of dopamine. But with any sexually intimate relationships you are going to have to contend with a soup of neurochemicals. Many people simply don’t understand the push and pull, back and forth, ups and downs that come with sexual intimacy.
Have you noticed a pattern? You can only be and do so much, and sometimes you learn about the person’s authentic commitment when the dopamine and oxytocin is not flowing, such as what happens during everyday mundane life or when trials occur or someone else comes along and kick-starts the neurotransmitters again, much like the Coolidge Effect.In other words, they’re motivated by the thrill of something new — novelty creates lots of dopamine, too. People get hurt in the process when they don’t take into account that they are organic beings.
It’s hard not to do, and I’ve done it for the better part of my life. Compared myself with others, expecting the same investment that I’ve volunteered to give, whether that be with a sexually intimate partner or with friends, employers, parents, siblings, etc. If they don’t hold up their end of the ‘deal’ — in other words, if they’ve told me one thing, but as soon as the feel-good stuff isn’t flowing like they want it too, back off of the same level you are on, it’s not my fault. It’s simply that I had expectations of them to give at the same intensity as they previously had given.
A study was done on the happiest people in the world, as you are fully aware. One of the main things that surfaced in these studies was that people who were the happiest has the lowest expectations.
Oh PLEASE know Victoria that my “address” of you was COMPLETELY endearing & in my/our own special way (perhaps from my ignorant perspective) reminds me of many of our wonderful long in-depth conversations on these type ‘crazy’ human interactions — most definitely my strange(?) way of heightened kindredness. If I caused ANY offense it was unintended. Forgive me! Between two such friends as you & I, I do not pay much (any?) attention to other outsider’s perspective of our friendship. But you are right; I didn’t think of that stigma. However, in the spirit of authenticity (and in my case clumsy error!) I won’t edit out any part of your comment unless you insist. 🙂
Now regarding your further comment, sex was of course involved because we both believe(d) that all aspects of an intimate relationship (i.e. the mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical) are ALL equally important and receive EQUAL amounts, as is possible, of time-energy invested. We both believed and still do believe, when in doing things in life, do them to the fullest and best of your abilities. However, I want to emphasize or rather de-emphasize the fixation on sex. Actually “sex” is not the highest priority in the lifestyle. It is the equal BALANCE of all 4 of the aspects I mentioned. Wanted to clarify that.
Regarding the Coolidge Effect & the novelty of “something new” that is indeed an exciting part of the ‘freedom’ the lifestyle offers, but it should not necessarily imply only negative consequences of “numbers” but numbers not overexposed or excessive. Moderation and responsibility is just as equally important as the ‘freedom’, or more openness, the lifestyle enables. Much like the American economy of free-enterprise or capitalism offers many dynamic incentives to create & maintain revenue, it STILL requires fair practices, discipline, responsibility, ACCOUNTABILITY, and a type of rules or monitoring (i.e. law enforcement, government) due to social predators. Freedom doesn’t mean everything is free and done on a whim. In fact, it has been my experience that when ALL these positive conditions I’ve describe exist…it actually makes the sex, according to members of the lifestyle, much much more intensely satisfying, but not like a drug. That’s not to say poly’s are immune to ‘addiction’; anyone in ANY type of life (style) can become addicted to something or use it/do it excessively to the point of destruction. But there is a more general balance of the 4 aspects of intimate relations. And on that point, yes, it does therefore demand (not always) a “bigger investment.” However, if all involved are good-to-excellent “managers” of these 4 aspects, communicate them all above-average to superbly… imagine the EASE to which the dynamic relations are experienced!!! 😀
Your last paragraph:
“A study was done on the happiest people in the world, as you are fully aware. One of the main things that surfaced in these studies was that people who were the happiest has the lowest expectations.”
I suspect those genetic-DNA types are the “dandelion” types, referencing my DRD4-7R post & topic. That study has at least two interpretations: 1) low risk, low reward…and 2) high risk, high reward. As my/the other Vix mentioned in her comments, “there is no right or wrong” choices in life, just the consequences. The benefits/rewards gained by one person, could easily be the pain/loss of another. For example, all my gone past Lovers, Soul MateS are benefiting their current partner. HAH! So they should be eternally grateful to me! LOL 😉 That’s a TOTAL joke on my part by the way!
There is another aspect of this post & discussion that hasn’t been mentioned.
It has been my lifetime observations of many relationships, whether romantic, marital, familial, or close-friend, that when the parties feel they’re permanent, eternal, or unchanging, one party or more get apathetic or over time take it for granted. Then at some point in the relationship’s long-life, it deteriorates or dies because of neglect, or lack of quality investments. When I remind myself weekly (daily at times) that the authentic, meaningful, valuable investments I put into my bottom (as in deep) three relationships, could be “gone” — temporarily or permanently(?) — it tends to MOTIVATE me to be authentically, meaningfully energized in its growth and health! I don’t get lazy. In other words, I also know and explicitly and implicitly keep open that “birdcage door”, maybe take it off completely. The point is this: what’s really gained in having the rarest most beautiful gift, if it is perpetually covered-up, locked-up or kept close on a tight-leash/chain, never to reach its FULL potential value?
To bring all of this full-circle, I am struggling with this “demotion” because of the ADD/HD. It has made and does make for frustration in one of the 4 relational aspects: mental. It has consequently required much patience, understanding, and forgiveness, if forgiveness is necessary with ADD/HD.
Professor, you said:
Yes, or 3) low risk, high reward. Don’t leave that out. 😉
I was not offended that you called me NeuroticProject-Vic, as I think I know your heart by now. Vic has a masculine energy, and I’m about as feminine as they come. LOL — but call me Vic if it floats your boat. 😀
I simply brought the neurotic part up so that others readers who might have mental illness might not be offended. They may not know that you and I have developed a friendship that may have terms of endearment as a part of it. It’s just that you’ve used that on other blogs, so I was just being my authentic self and sharing how it might look to others. I think you might be a little offended if anyone unintentionally mocked people with developmental disabilities, since you word so close with them. I know you didn’t mean to offend.
As I mentioned earlier, I do think it boils down to expectations. You want them to reciprocate at the same intensity as you do — in every season. And because they don’t you feel let down. It’s a harsh reality.
One thing I have learned in my life is that I’ve experienced the fullness, the incredible connection on the deepest level with others without sex being a part of it. Take away the dopamine, and you’d not be interested in sex. That’s a fact.
As far as your friend having AD/ADHD — well, I guess you will simply have to live with the side-effects if you want to continue in this relationship. This individual certainly has a pattern, and you are kinda like the person who likes to rescue. I guess you can blame it on her AD/ADHD or you can move on and not settle for less than you think you deserve. Yes, leave the bird cage open, but please remember that that little birdie who flies in and out is probably going to fly out more often than in, based on past behavior. Are you willing to live with that?
Oh rats, as if the typos weren’t bad enough, I also flubbed up the blockquote tag. Sorry ’bout that.
Correction: ‘had’ the lowest expectations.
Professor, I think I need to clarify that when you posted:
Strangers are –
Acquaintances are –
Friends are –
Close-friends, dear friends (platonic?) are –
Lovers are –
Soul MateS are –
With regard to my confusion about the terms hierarchy and rank, I should mentioned that I read more into your questions than you had intended, I think. When you wrote “are” I wasn’t sure if what you were writing were ‘leading’ phrases, if you get my drift. Then you wrote Soul MatesS with a capital S, I’m assuming it was for emphasis that you have several soul mates, which for many is not common. People are fortunate if they experience one soul mate in their lifetime (depending on the interpretation, of course). I will also say that a soul mate, for me, doesn’t necessarily mean that sexual intimacy is part of the union of souls. Wasn’t sure if you were suggesting they were.
Naturally with due respect Victoria, I think I’ll have to take the role of Devil’s Advocate here.
Then you wrote Soul MatesS with a capital S, I’m assuming it was for emphasis that you have several soul mates, which for many is not common. People are fortunate if they experience one soul mate in their lifetime (depending on the interpretation, of course). I will also say that a soul mate, for me, doesn’t necessarily mean that sexual intimacy is part of the union of souls. Wasn’t sure if you were suggesting they were.
Yes, I consider four people in my life to be Soul MateS, one of which is male (and FYI, I’m very heterosexual), so yes I completely understand & agree that the union of souls isn’t exclusive to sexual intercourse or activities!
So are four Soul MateS uncommon? Two? If they are, then does it HAVE TO BE that way!? I don’t think so; not at all. Why cheat yourself? And if you truly believe you have MUCH to offer others, and it is indeed real/true gifts, then WHY CHEAT THOSE PEOPLE/POTENTIAL PEOPLE? And then I’d like to be ever learning, ever growing in all 4 aspects of relations…because not one will be the same as another.
Don’t get me wrong, this doesn’t mean that the other 5 hierarchies are of any less value. They are what they are…WITH potential always. And as you correctly alluded to, not necessarily involving any sex because it can involve an UNtraditional gender orientation. Spiritual-chemical connections between souls cannot always be clearly defined by mere genitalia. It’s way beyond that.
What puzzles me is WHY choose to limit one’s potential, one’s growth & maturity…like in the field of superb communication. Make it a beautiful art-form that enthralls your listeners, inspires them. Can an artist always make enthralling art with just one color, or many colors? Can a musician make incredibly beautiful music with just one note? Can an orator inspire his audience with just one word, one phrase?
On the flip-side, too much sugar in your lemonade makes for bad lemonade. Way too many vivid colors on a canvas will detract from its simplified beauty. Too many notes and the melody and harmonies are indistinguishable, out of sync, out of tune. But for me I feel too little freedom and full beauty cannot be fully realized. Too much freedom (especially for an unfettered addict) or imbalance and there is the increased risk of multi-dimensioned neglect. Somewhere in between that spectrum lies the “pure art”, the pure quality…and to me, can’t be discovered if not allowed to explore freely and responsibly.
Did I go too much off on a tangent? 😉
As I mentioned in a previous post — ‘soul mate or mates’ are left up to interpretation. Some people think that a soul mate involves sex, others do not.
But my whole point in all this, Professor, and I think I’m having a difficult time conveying this — you have expectations of those you consider soul mates. Some of them are not living up to your expectations, and have a patterned of behavior that you are well aware of. So what are you going to do about it?
What am I going to do about it? Hmmm, the only thing I CAN do about it, have done, and am doing: moving along knowing that the birdcage could stay vacant (of this 1 particular beautiful Soul) but filled with another or many other beautiful Souls…or this one particular Soul will one day return because again, the door remains open. I’ve learned well how to manage constant change, especially “change” I have little control of in the first place! So I smile. 🙂
Good. I love your smile and I hope you’ve found some peace regarding your little free birdie. I truly appreciate that you let us into your world, into your thought processes and gave us an opportunity to share feedback. Great conversations and lots of fuel for thought. 🙂
Very interesting post. Communication is absolutely important, including the non-verbal communication as you mentioned. I think, communication goes beyond the use of sophisticated words as your mentioning of the elementary school children shows. Their use of grammar is not always perfect and as you state their language is honest. Respectful language should be used no matter who you are talking to. This counts for all examples of your hierarchy. The beauty of being close to someone is that you develop your ‘own’ language with words that have a meaning to only you and the person you are close to.
In general, both communicating parties should be willing to understand each other, and should be open to the possibility of misunderstandings. Even the same word can sometimes imply different meanings to different people according to their upbringing. Also, some people might use ‘I think’ in the same way as others use ‘I feel’, showing that one person is more into logical thinking and one is more into emotional thinking. Not realizing this can cause difficulties in their communication.
Thank you again for your post and making me think about the importance of communication.
First, thank you kindly for stopping by and commenting! I truly appreciate your feedback & point-of-view.
Your point(s) about levels of communication are quite valid, yes. Being “respectful” and using respectful language is also critical, always. Thank you. You mentioned:
“The beauty of being close to someone is that you develop your ‘own’ language with words that have a meaning to only you and the person you are close to.”
Here is where I diverge slightly from the norm — at least here in conservative southwest America (Texas). I am such the humanitarian that I am leaning (almost fallen if you will) into polyamory…and gladly embrace the complex dynamics of such a life-choice. The lifestyle is often misunderstood, at times grossly so and ignorantly misjudged, particularly when it comes to the height poly-amores (plural) place on communicated integrity & respect which has really nothing at all to do with sexual activities. Make sense? And this is a wonderful segway into your last paragraph! 🙂
Every single word and sentence could not be more true! If that a priori condition existed with all human interaction, OH MY STARS OF THE UNIVERSE…wouldn’t it be an incredibly happy peaceful world, huh?
This is such an interesting post, especially on the heels of the recent bloggers meeting I attended. In that scenario, I considered all of the attendees close friends, whether I had read their blogs or not. It was clear from the start that everyone there had shared their true selves in their writing and while there may have been a certain resistance to face-to-face sharing and communication initially; it became clear that trust was not a factor to be concerned about. We all had a very similar perspective and every personality I conversed with exactly matched what I had perceived in their writing.
You mention “modern communication” and while you did not address it directly, I believe the modern communication that is currently embedded in our culture (online, facebook, twitter, text messaging) has greatly influenced the way our language is evolving. I went back to school and finished my bachelor’s degree at age 50 through an online school. One of the biggest concerns that were stressed throughout that process was the way online communication is perceived not only between team members but also between students and facilitators. There were many problems due to perception and deception.
The blogging community that I associate with seem more aware of the limitations of online communication in the form of comments like this one. People strive to be clear with what they say.
Like you, I believe quality communication is key to developing and maintaining all kinds of relationships. I stressed communication with my children as were growing up and with my mother who now lives with my wife and I. These are two vastly different generations that look at communication in very different ways. I had a conversation with my adult daughter just yesterday where I told her that her recent texts to me seemed snippy and passive/aggressive. She claimed to have been “just joking” and whether she was or not isn’t as important as the understanding that facial cues and inflection are absent and words are raw in this venue. On the other side of the generation gap my mother seems to feel that communication shouldn’t be necessary as people in her life should have an innate understanding of her needs/wants/thoughts. Both scenarios require a better approach, more effort.
My ex-wife and I lost the ability (or desire) to communicate and that was essentially the reason for the ultimate reality of divorce.
In my current relationship communication is stressed and I believe we have an understanding of the importance of honesty. I do not feel that we ever sacrifice authenticity to be more loved.
I’ve never thought about the hierarchy you list and I’m not really clear on your question about it. I would say that “family” might be listed as a separate category because often they are none of the other 6 listed.
You have me thinking today.
WOW! What a most excellent comment! Thank you, thank you! So much juicy stuff! 😉
Regarding the blogging community, yes, it is delightfully authentic with a clearer understanding still of the limitations of the internet — which happily FORCES bloggers to write better and with significant impactful authenticity…unlike other internet forums, right?
Oooo, what a concept regarding online education and “One of the biggest concerns that were stressed throughout that process was the way online communication is perceived not only between team members but also between students and facilitators. There were many problems due to perception and deception.” And I sometimes question in my head when listening or reading: is the message unintentionally misleading? Definitely harder to determine when not face-2-face listening and watching body language!
Geeeezzzz! The generation gaps of communication can be stark, no doubt! I often have to thoroughly explain and re-explain to my mother (or family members as you thoughtfully mentioned) what is fact and what is opinion, what is logical and what is emotional. Her generation (for the most part it seems) didn’t realize or think it important to actively or proactively communicate authentically — amazingly “image” to the neighborhood or community was of the utmost priority! Things were kept “in the closets” more in her’s and her parent’s lifetimes…which had numerous consequences for later generations in my humble opinion.
And then your most candid paragraph Red: you and your ex-wife’s communication breakdown. THAT is perhaps the core/heart of the matter because it builds (or undermines?) family dynamics, which in turn effect the next generation! I too am a victim-turned-victor of the same demise. It hits home for me too Red, literally.
As I explained to Victoria (I call her NeuroticProject – wink) of my hastly-prepared final questions: “At what point, and with what level candor should two (or more) people closely connected for an appropriate period of time, verbally inform the other(s) what their ‘ranking’ or ‘status’ is inside the heart? Is doing so right or wrong?”
It has been my experience that confusion, mistakes, and hurt are directly proportionate to the AMOUNT of authentic meaningful communication between peoples. Does that help? 🙂
Ok, I think I may understand the question now. Given that people perceive in many different ways the depth of relationships, and also given the assumption that the ultimate goal is to avoid as much as possible any hurt on another person, wouldn’t each individual relationship govern the timing (or even the necessity) of divulging something as unfixed as a ranking?
In my experience, I’ve known people that I just know I am aligned with. Nothing is forced and the relationship flourishes like a guitar harmonic. They fill me with love and peace and I know they feel it too. I’ve only known a few, but those people would fall into my “soulmate” category. The word “soulmate” may be mentioned but it doesn’t need to be. To me the word is a futile attempt to identify something that can’t be described; like some might describe “faith” or “god” or a “soul”.
I’ve also known people that make me want to flee. People that are so disconnected with my way of thinking that merely being in their presence is a drain on my life.
Those are opposite ends of the relationship spectrum as I see you’ve described them.
Those relationship labels between the two, (to me) are simply words to gauge the extent of emotional investment. They would be necessary if one or more individuals has greater (or lesser) expectations than another and could be hurt finding out otherwise. They would also be necessary if “ground rules” are needed to avoid unwanted expectations in a relationship.
While I have never been involved in a relationship with multiple partners, I would guess that the more personalities involved, the more vigilant participants should be to ensure that everyone understands the level(s) of commitment, especially if different levels of friendships are involved.
I could be way off base here as afr as your question but apparently I had some things to say about this.
Again Professor, thank you for the mental inspiration.
You have answered superbly and you’re not at all “way off base” but instead offer more clarity to the subject(s).
Now if I may, another subsequent question please: do you think/feel it is possible for people to fluctuate between labels/hierarchies for example, from Soul Mate to Acquaintance and back again, and still remain authentic to self and the other? In other words, if the higher-ground, higher-principle is meaningful authenticity, is it right or wrong to unknowingly or knowingly hurt (temporarily) someone’s feelings during the ‘move’?
Not much of a deep simple question is it Red? *wink and evil grin*
You have touched on a subject that I am very familiar with. First, I don’t think you can choose a label/hierarchy. A connection with someone is fragile. Each of us moves through life and grows and changes. Maybe a person you are close to evolves in a parallel direction, maybe they do not. Being authentic in life, to me, means honesty. Suppressing a personal transformation for the sake of keeping things static is unhealthy and dishonest, both to the individual and to everyone else. Any hurt resulting from natural change will only be magnified if that change is suppressed.
I have thought about this and lived it for many years. My first wife and I married when I was 21. In my 21-year-old eyes she was the one; and she was. We had two children and lived the life of parents and loved each other. At some point during our 26 year marriage our paths shifted; our priorities changed. It was a very confusing time for me and no doubt for her as well. This wasn’t a situation where dishonesty and distrust played a factor; there was no stepping out with other people. It was a situation where I knew a massive shift was occurring but all I could do is examine it and wonder how it would play out. It was unfamiliar territory and it was frustrating because I had no idea how to react. The plan I had mapped out in my head and in my heart for my/our future was no longer relevant. Communication began to break down and attempts to shore it up were futile. It took several years for me to find the courage to address what I knew had to happen. It was one of the hardest things I have ever done, and I did it poorly. I think people assume that after a certain amount of time the momentum of a relationship will smooth out any bumps in the road. I think many people live unauthentically and in misery just to avoid disappointing or hurting others. I couldn’t do that. Only with the perspective of several years and much deep thinking about it does it make sense to me. I realize now that any pain I caused could have been reduced by recognizing and addressing the reality of the relationship earlier than I did.
But I learned. And in my quest to have as few regrets in life as possible I made a commitment to myself to communicate as clearly and as often as possible.
So I guess the answer as I see it is the earlier communication occurs, the better off everyone will be. Hurt happens because of assumptions and expectations. The reality of every aspect of life is change. The real answer–expect change.
You know, I’ve thought about this for a very long time but I’ve never actually put it down. Thank you for helping me uncover it.
WOW Red! Your reply blows my mind with wisdom! Thank you, thank you!
“So I guess the answer as I see it is the earlier communication occurs, the better off everyone will be. Hurt happens because of assumptions and expectations. The reality of every aspect of life is change. The real answer–expect change.”
In hindsight or from that advantage-point, you speak OOGLES of truth! But…(lol – sorry!)…if we cannot predict the future thoughts, feelings, actions, or reactions of ourself or our Significant Others, then does that NOT further implore us to communicate more actively (proactively) since in life there IS a ‘final curtain’ on relationships? I speak of old age, dementia, and death. LOL
Considering all this and what you have stated Red, I am now MORE energized (and hopeful) to push myself even further to perfect the “pure art” of excellent, authentic, accurate communication straight from who I truly am! With other Significant Others?…umm, not so simple. Hah! But if it is all done in a loving, patient, forgiving environment — because God knows I WILL make blunders — yet courageous intent…what isn’t achievable? Right?
Man, Red…I feel you’ve REALLY helped me here! Thank you. 🙂
Likewise my friend. Thank YOU.
Red, this was such a superb post, and I couldn’t agree more. My first husband passed away, so when I remarried, I married someone who had also lost a spouse. Our circumstances drew us together, and we both needed each other at the time. I had experienced back-to-back trauma, and he offered me companionship and helped me feel alive again.
I, too, offered him companionship and healing, and we had some really good times We were there for each other for a season, and at the time, we both adored each other. There was no questioning that. We even saw each other as soul mates. But as time went on, we realized we didn’t have as much in common as we thought. Tragedy and loneliness brought up together, and we were riding high on the dopamine and oxytocin we were feeling once again. This caused us to feel that the connection we had was meant to be life-long. We were, in fact, neurologically blinded by the fact that we really weren’t compatible. I learned through research that when we ‘fall in love’ a part of the brain associated with critical social assessment deactivates.
Click to access Bartels2004_maternalLove_%5B0%5D.pdf
When I asked him for a divorce 9 years later, I also thanked him for the season we had together. We had the same divorce attorney, and we moved on with our lives. I’m so glad that we were able to communicate honestly without tearing each other apart with feeling rejected.
Thank you sharing that information. That adds another layer of understanding to such a complex process. I’m so glad to hear that you both moved on with understanding and love. This entire discussion has made me realize that many words were left unsaid in my situation that probably should be said. I am a little closer now to knowing exactly what those words are. You are an amazing person.
Thank you for your help,
I totally concur Red! Victoria is a WEALTH of superb intuition, resource, and experience! Use her (lol…appropriately of course *wink*) often and much. I highly recommend her! 🙂
These discussions have all helped me tremendously to gain MORE humble perspective on language and reiterates to me JUST HOW POWERFUL our voices are when ‘connecting’ with others!
Additionally, I am reminded that communicating effectively is one of our greatest responsibilities as human beings.
This discussion has pretty much rocked my world sir.
I can’t thank you enough for initiating it with your insightful post.
As you’ve already mentioned in your recent post with the friends of BI-13, I’m simply want to improve my “art of communication” not only to better understand myself, PUSH myself, but more importantly understand those who “speak” their art/heart, embracing their humanity in the process.
I have found at times that I am a ‘child’ in language around some, and at other times that I am the Teacher with others. Knowing what role I am is much of the deciphering/battle. My brain and heart get excited or exhausted…but nonetheless stronger. 🙂
Professor, you made me blush, then giggle and giggle and giggle some more. hahah. Thank you for the dopamine fix. Have fun tonight.
Red, my new friend — I was completely caught off guard by your thoughtful and generous words of kindness. I hope you have a great weekend, and I look forward to future discourse with you — truly I do.
This post, and Red’s comments, triggered remembrance of a John Prine song: Angel From Montgomery-
“But how the hell can a person
Go on to work in the morning
To come home in the evening
And have nothing to say”
I think good communication, communication which conveys exactly the intended message, received without the receiver’s own filters mangling the true message, IS an art form. I also tend to think that effective communication would entail an somewhat intimate understanding of the whole person, with whom you’re communicating with. As you mention with you’re student, the subtle and minute differences of the same word, making a huge impact on what is trying to be conveyed.
There is much more than words & mutual definitions/understandings to the art of communication. Consider all the physical senses as well, contributing to what is being communicated, and how it is being received.
So, a basic understanding of human behaviour and psychology helps, along with knowledge of personal history. And then, factor in, how much does one desire to be understood?
“Out of the mouth of babes.” Children speak freely, and authentically, because as adults we have learned what is ‘acceptable’, and what is not. “Filters”. The definition of the idiom, however, suggests it is when children say something “very intelligent, or wise”. My understanding is the former.
This is alone intriguing: “Then there is the wrench of deception; intended or unintended.” When combined with the measure and place value of your interpersonal “hierarchies”. If I understand correctly, it might depend upon an agenda? Or, the value placed upon the current relationship, and the perceived future of a relationship?
Unintended Deception? How does that work?
I’m more adept at questions, than answers.
Mmm, your points are great; thank you so much for taking the time to share them! 🙂
Another reason I shared this post and asked about the hierarchies is because I’m dealing with a very dear friend (and former Lover) and truly a Soul Mate, and who is ADD/HD. We sometimes have differences in “necessary or appropriate” proactive communication while our “hearts” are very much ‘involved’.
Now, the secondary questions that I’ve posed to Victoria (NeuroticProject as I fondly nicked-named her) and Red is this…and sorry these questions are long and involved:
Do you think/feel it is possible for Soul Mates, Lovers, or Close Dear friends to move back-n-forth between these hierarchies? And, having been as far (deep?) as Soul Mates or Lovers, would it be right or wrong to actively (proactively?) communicate to each other authentically where each other has moved in a person’s heart? Are their good healthy appropriate ways to communicate life’s, as well as their own, ever-changing phases?
You see, I do not believe (at the moment?) that once two people reach the Soul MateS stage that you ever again leave it — on metaphysical levels, that intimacy is beyond reproach to anyone else. It is merely a matter of how the Soul MateS manage that relationship, even when they are involved/attached/married to others. Am I a lunatic for believing this? LOL
Unintended deception — I have met people that only see themselves through “their own eyes” rather than in part through a community of friends, or circle of close dear friends/family — less subjectively, more objectively. In other words, I have been guilty a number of times in my life (hopefully no longer) of wanting to fit in, to be accepted, and behave a certain way or say certain things to accomplish that acceptance. On the surface good intentions. But later, I realized I was to certain extents denying my true feelings, thoughts, or identity…but didn’t realize it fully until later. Unintended deception, or perhaps innocent deception? I guess it is linked to time passed and what has been learned/revealed. Am I making sense? LOL
If you can’t already tell, I am wading through this intellectual-emotional muck rather clumsily. Apologies! 😦
No apologies! Two things for you, and then I’m off for the weekend. (Will be giving this some meditative thought, and conversation with one of my women besties this weekend.) You’ve given me a good amount to ponder & elaborate on. Not clumsy at all, btw; in fact, I raise my glass to you for even wading through. Too many people wouldn’t even consider doing the work. 😉
Ram Dass (I adore him) says this about Soul Mates
and this (read the book ages ago, and it’s definitely time to read it again!)
“Sometimes the one who is running from the Life / Death / Life nature insists on thinking of love as a boon only. Yet love in its fullest form is a series of deaths and rebirths. We let go of one phase, one aspect of love, and enter another. Passion dies and is brought back. Pain is chased away and surfaces another time. To love means to embrace and at the same time to withstand many endings, and many many beginnings – all in the same relationship.”
– Clarissa Pinkola
Women Who Run With the Wolves: Myths and Stories
of the Wild Woman Archetype
oh, 3 things. I don’t believe in ‘right & wrong’, only consequences & outcomes.
Enjoy your weekend!
Wow! Thank you Vix for the Ram Dass link! Just finished reading it then rereading it. POWERFUL!
I’ve always subscribed to Edgar Cayce’s version of Soul MateS and the two are very similar (identical?). I’ve recently over the last 2-3 years begun to embrace and live in my interpersonal relationships as if the others were a mirror — like Dass speaks about — as Sophy also mentions in communication between souls. Yet, our souls are part of ONE. *mind slightly blown*
And then I realize that vision/sight is exactly how we communicate! Does this listener/receiver understand(?), mirror what I’m conveying. As many times as they might, they/we do not comprehend — and THAT is the good work. 🙂
Thank you so much for the link & comments Vix!
Whoops! Also forgot to mention/comment on your quote:
“Yet love in its fullest form is a series of deaths and rebirths. We let go of one phase, one aspect of love, and enter another. Passion dies and is brought back. Pain is chased away and surfaces another time. To love means to embrace and at the same time to withstand many endings, and many many beginnings – all in the same relationship.”
That fits nicely & PERFECTLY into my concept of my birdcage with a permanently open door; or no door at all. Sometimes wonderfully filled, other times vacant — it is all deaths & rebirths of new phases and I’m learning how to authentically embrace them all. A deeper understanding of those cycles really truly helps! LOL
First of all, thank you for a very interesting post. The questions you pose are similar to those that I myself have been debating in my head lately.
I do think that you have a point when you say that adults are more self conscious in communication, compared to children. We have had more training in explicitly and implicitly acknowledge other people’s feelings. I don’t really see this as being more or less authentic, just our neurons telling us that we have to co-exist with others and that we want to understand them. This behavior is completely unintentional, just programmed into our brains like other types of behaviours.
But all that is just biology, and I’m guessing that you’re in for a more philosophical perspective on this. You bring up several issues in this post, but the issue of authenticity seems to be what you’re most preoccupied with. Personally, I think that authenticity is fluent. I don’t believe in core essences, and I therefore don’t believe that there are just one authentic perspective in people. Because people are multifaceted. One shows different aspects of oneself under different circumstances. The way I see it, communication are means to provide information in order to base a truth in that given situation. This truth varies if the variables changes. Thus, I don’t see that we sacrifice anything in terms of authenticity or honesty if one chooses to speak one’s mind in the given situation. This does not always happen, of course, which somewhat changes the variables, but then you are fooling yourself more than you are fooling anyone else.
There are, of course, other aspects to communication than this, but I felt that the subject was heading in this direction.
Sorry for the rambling. English is hard.
You totally cracked me up with your “English is hard”! An excellent (rambling 😉 )confirmation from a person whose native language is not English! Thank you for your comment that was not rambling!
I am thinking you meant to use the word “fluid” instead of fluent – because authenticity, in the context you’re using, is indeed fluid when you are in unfamiliar circumstances. Now, FAMILIAR circumstances? When strong emotions, neurons, and “dopamine” as Victoria (NeuroNotes) mentions, are involved…are choices, are the proactive articulations of one’s self and one’s perception of another partner(s)/SO still fluid? Perhaps less, but I am thinking/feeling that with the apparent fluidity MUCH proactive communication should be taking place and taking place with earnest!
I understand the need to allow things to settle, i.e. letting the more objective mind rebalance the unbalancing truthful emotions, but for how long? I know of many people who simply want to quit, give up, and go back to searching for the new/next romantic fairy-tale, expecting it to be more perfect rather than embracing the ‘work’ needed (raw proactive communication) to turn the “bud” into a beautifully strong, adapted, experienced, wiser flower.
If human connection is indeed fluid, then why can’t things change from difficult to easiest just as much as they can change from difficult to impossible? And I’ve replied with all of these questions ASSUMING you meant the word fluid! Hah! If you didn’t mean fluid, then I’ve wasted all this brain activity, huh? 😉
Indeed I did mean to use that word. I blame the error on late night coffee OD, but as I seem to have got my point across anyhow, I think it’s fair enough.
In social interaction, no matter if the circumstances are familiar or unfamiliar, we base our communication on mirror neurons and culture. If the mirror neurons work as they should, they aid communication via body language and gestures. I think this is very important in all communication, because if we can’t mirror the other person easily, communication is harder to achieve. Culture is equally important, though, and in this case I must blame the culture of the Western society. Our culture’s fundamental assumption that we are different types of people (men-women, working class/high society etc) who can automatically understand each other is essential to this discussion. In communication, we have learned that we always work against the grain. During my years as a communication student, I was taught that we have to define target groups and find means of appealing to that group’s social codes. Implicitly, this means that we can’t establish communication before we know how to adapt our message to the specific group. This sounds reasonable enough, I suppose, but it also means that we eliminate the complexity in favor for simplicity. We can still try to explain our core values and purpose for communicating, but the words we use and the approach we have is entirely dependent on the receiver.
The point I’m trying to make is that our culture tells us that we cannot understand each other unless we adapt ourselves to others. This works fine in communication with strangers, or on a professional level, but when it comes to personal relationships, it gets more complicated. In a relationship, one cannot always compromise the social context to the other partner(s), because it would mean that one would have to alter one’s complex personality to a more simplistic one. But we are not prepared for this type of communication, so we interpret the friction as something that cannot be improved. So we give up. We hope that the next one is going to be better than the one we have. And sometimes it does, because you evolve and gain new insights to one’s personality all the time. But it is still much harder to adapt the intimate communication between partners than to adapt the general communication to social context.
Ultimately, I think that this type of friction causes one to feel inadequate and lacking the necessary skill to make things work. Feeling inadequate is hard, and a bit shameful. So it’s much easier to just give up than to dig into the problem and work through it. We want to take the path of least resistance, imagining that it’s the ideal.
More rambling, I’m sorry.
Holy Shit Batman! Sophy, no not rambling! Wow! Your English has greatly improved since the coffee OD. 😉
Must go to work, but that is good because I’ll need time to read and reread your great 2nd comment! Thank you!
Haha, thank you! I guess writing intelligent responses to interesting blog posts at 4 a.m isn’t the best idea.
Please do, I’m looking forward to hear your thoughts. Have a nice day!
Alright; had to read & reread this 3-4 times Sophy because your 2nd comment was LOADED. Thank you! 🙂
You have added much to this post & ironically to another post of mine: Oversimplification 2012… which is part 1 of a multi-part series on social classes & inequality. You hit on some of the exact points I’ve expressed in those posts. Hence, I REALLY agree with you more now:
“the culture of Western society assumes we [i.e. all humans] are all different.”
Naturally, this cannot be true. Recent decades of incredible DNA/Genetic research & discoveries has clearly shown that we are SO MUCH alike that there is only barely, and I emphasize BARELY, a 1% difference between any of us anywhere in the world! In fact, the research & discoveries show we have a less-than 10% (I think it’s around 5 or 4% actually) genetic difference from chimpanzees! The point is with so LITTLE difference on the level of the most basic ‘building blocks of life,’ there is practically NO DIFFERENCE!!! Yet, as you point out Sophy, the differences arise in “culture”.
Before getting into culture, I wanted to say that your description of communication within the industry of Marketing & Communication was very good. With Strangers, Coworkers, and perhaps Acquaintances too, most everyone adapts — or manipulates? — their messages to fit social groups and codes. Indeed, the “receiver” of those messages has then a VERY DIFFICULT task. They must then begin deciphering between authenticity versus the illusion of appeal! Holy F**k is that not easy or what!?
Then you bring up a fantastic point/question…how well do we change gears from social “Complexity-to-Simplicity” language in the professional/business world to the “Simplistic-to-Complex” interpersonal/relationship world? I think usually NOT good at all — unless a ‘transmitter and receiver’ are WELL educated, trained, and experienced in the art. Don’t you think Sophy?
Ahh, yes. The often used and abused “Path of Least Resistance”. What a less understood social concept; particularly on an intimate relational level.
Excellent stuff Sophy! Thank you so much for taking the time to participate in this discussion. I am thoroughly enjoying it! 🙂
Ah, communication. Not the easiest subject to take on, so leave it to you to do so…and stir up very interesting perspectives.
As I read your post, several things jumped out at me.
The first is that ESL is still one of the most difficult subjects to teach. Having grown up around many people with whom English was not the first language, I witnessed first hand the way that the brain would read in English, translate to the native tongue, then try to respond in English.
Second, true communication can be tough…and not everyone is perceptive enough to realize when someone is only sharing factoids. So often I’d be told how open I was and how brave. As you know, there was a lot of turmoil and tragedy in my early childhood. It wasn’t until much later that a close friend called me out. She looked at me one day and said, “Everyone thinks you’re so open about your life. But you’re not, really. How did I not notice it before. They assume that because you talk about the tragedies that have happened in your life that you’re letting them in, but you’re not! You talk about the facts. No problem. But I don’t think I’ve ever heard you talk about how you FELT about them or when it happened.”
She was right. I gave the illusion of communicating openly and honestly, but I held the biggest parts of myself back. Very few (including my teachers) were perceptive enough to even notice. I was talking, but not truly communicating. Of course, they were hearing, but not really listening. 😉
Thank you for coming by with your busy schedule too! I really appreciate it! 🙂
Matching raw emotions with the correct words and language is indeed an art form, a craft that MUST be practiced, perfected, and then perfected again, ad infinitum, because hearing, listening, understanding the implicit and the explicit and why the two may be different, is truly a craft/art-form that is NOT to be taken for granted or lightly…ever!
So, is prolonged silence ever the correct path?
Only when nothing but hateful, hurtful, toxic words are the only words you care to share. 😉
Couldn’t agree more Kitt. Next question – did you think you’d get away that soon!? 😉
What if those types of words and language are temporary?
Well, that depends on the person.
If the words are temporary, wait till the urge passes or do something physical that removes the urge (go running, hit a punching bag). Then move forward. If the reaction was caused by someone else’s actions, now you’re in a better place to discuss whatever the issue was in a non-hurtful way and move on.
My anger, once it hits that boiling point (and it takes forever to get there), usually takes a very long time to go away. Unfortunately I’m also pretty adept at weaponizing words, so I tend to stay away until I’ve got my anger back under control. In the past, that’s meant that I went longer than a year before I could speak to my mom again (and you know how much I adore her and that we’re close). Since then I’ve learned to disengage when I sense the direction she’s trying to push me to, before I allow myself to “debate” or show her my point. It’s simply not worth our relationship and I don’t have the short, hot flare ups like her that are gone almost as quickly as they started.
Then there are the toxic people who truly are filled with nothing but hate… For themselves, for their world, for life. The best explanation I’ve heard for these kinds of people comes from the movie Tombstone when Wyatt Earp asks Doc Holliday what makes Johnny Ringo tick (after Ringo challenged him to a gun fight).
And since this conversation somehow led me to one of my favorite movies, I thought I’d share one of my other all time favorite scenes with you. You’ll understand why very quickly. 😉
Great movie clips Kitt! Thank you! They are both appropriate to this discussion. Like them both. 🙂
Glad you liked them! There are actually a lot of cleverly written scenes and subtle studies of human nature throughout it. I think THAT’s what drew me in.
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Congrats on your new jobs. Indeed, communication is a complex subject. Given our reliance on social media today, my hope is that my teenagers will learn the art of face-to-face communication!
Lisa! Thank you for coming by & commenting. We have busy lives & I know it isn’t easy sometimes to take a few moments to read my long “involved” posts. I greatly appreciate it.
Social media today. Yes, I think it might just be the beginning-of-the-end for the “pure art” & beauty, eloquence, and impact of language; particularly the form of the Victorian Post-Impressionist era (if I can borrow the similarities) of expression. That time in literature (communication) & art has to be one of mankind’s greatest achievements to life. I fear the youthful age of Social Media “gurus” might render it useless & geriatric. I hope not.
Great post! I love what you wrote: “wherever there is or has been peace, love, and collaboration, there has been superb communication… “. So true. I think in a struggle to be heard, we refuse to listen, which creates all sorts of miscommunication, assumptions and judgement.
Part of good communication is listening to others as well as ourselves. I love how you said that to be able to speak up, you have to know how you feel… To go in and listen to ourselves. I think that’s why I like writing so much…it helps me hear my own self.
Thanks for sharing!
You point out well the multiple flows of communication between people; listening and listening to the speaker as well as the listener (ourselves) are all equally critical. Do we not only understand the speaker’s person, background, methods, feelings, and values as well as our own…and the languages/vocabulary/context of those expressions?
I couldn’t agree with you more Lindsey about writing/blogging. I love to take communication, literature, speeches from the heart, my own as well as others, and regurgitate it into my own language; not only for accuracy’s sake, but my own learning too.
Thank you so much for taking the time to read and comment Lindsey! I do appreciate it. 🙂
Hands down, my favourite post of yours. I have always maintained that intelligence, knowledge or experience are important and might get you a job but first-class communication skills are what will get you ahead in life. It masters every facet of our lives, both personal and professional.
Sound tips by the way. I manage my team’s training programme and a central part of the job involves steering large sector-led committee meetings. Golden tip I impart to all my trainees is to slow down their speech. This will result in three wonderful things: (a) increased eloquence, (b) confidence, (c) and interestingly, a deeper voice, which lends more authority to the speaker and reenforces (a) and (b).
How I wish we could discuss this over a drink sometime!
You pay me a high compliment which I am not sure I deserve, but nevertheless am very grateful to accept. I consider you, your writing, and I’m certain too your verbal expression to be the “pure art” that I spoke about here. As I’m sure you’ve been told, you are an exceptional writer.
I too would enjoy immensely discussing this over a drink or two with you. Perhaps one day our wishes will come true. Thank you for your comment and taking the time to stop by in your busy world.
Miss you as well. Do not be a stranger.
I think I’ll pass on this one. So many thoughts so many views. What could a mere ‘Communications Manager’ (one of many jobs) add to this?
Except to say, everyone *knows* it is important, and everyone is an *expert*. Yeah. Right. I’m not referring to your commenters btw, merely people I’ve worked with who seemed to think they were in a position to tell ME how to do my job.
How many people are really good at communication?
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*gives a thumbs up* Well, thanks for reading it. ❤
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