“Never be afraid of the conversations you’re having. Be afraid of the conversations you’re not having.” — Susan Scott, Fierce Conversations
Have you ever struggled with saying what’s really on your mind? We all do. When we’re not being fully honest with others, it’s often because we:
However, problems occur when you don’t speak honestly:
A few months ago, I wrote a well-received article about using verbal aikido to avoid stupid arguments. Aikido is a modern Japanese martial art that uses the principles of nonresistance to neutralize an opponent. The philosophy can be applied to resolving differences of opinion without being aggressive or defensive.
Too bad I wasn’t able to apply it when I got into a meltdown with my wife recently.
But I was reminded that, as relationships mature and move through the romantic phase into real life, debris from the past will come up at unexpected times. …
In Italy, you’ll find signs about face masks with 40 words in bureaucratic language. No smoking signs consist of 109 words of legal text, and simple toilet signs can be made up of 122 words. What reasons can we find for this in Italian society?
Among the novelties the Covid-19 pandemic has given us—in addition to face masks and awkward elbow bumps—is a variety of new signs instructing us how to behave. …
We live as if we are fully in control of our life. It’s a normal thing to do until something like the pandemic shows up, which, like anything unexpected, reminds us that we’re not in control as much as we might like to believe.
If Viktor Frankl were still alive, I bet he’d be smiling every time someone quotes him these days.
“Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.” — Viktor Frankl
Since we’ve all been administered the “stimulus,” how…
Here’s an instant personality test. Get your iPhone out and bring up the keyboard. Tap the emoji button and look to see what your most frequently used emoji is. It’s the one at the tippy-top of the list (unless you’re using an Android device, which will show your most recently used emoji, not your most frequently used emoji). This is the emoji you go to time and time again when communicating with others. And this byte-sized blip may say more about you than you think.
Words create our reality. Once we put them out there, we can’t take them back. Expressions like “I didn’t mean to say that” or “I was only kidding” come too late.
So why do couples get into needless arguments? Jeffery S. Smith, MD, writes in Psychology Today:
The cause of arguments and fights is a lack of mutual, empathic understanding. When empathy is not engaged, then people revert to a self-protective mode and become judgmental. The result is a bad feeling on both sides and no happy ending.
People want to be understood, not just heard.
It is not a pleasantry. Even when well intended, the invitation comes with a pause and a breath. Neither one of us is sure we are sufficiently fortified for this to become a conversation.
How many caveats, allowances, and exceptions can one reasonably provide without turning a breezy and blithe throwaway question into an intervention, a rescue, an assurance, or a lifeline? You want to be available but don’t want to be held emotionally hostage. I don’t want to be jilted, ignored, and dismissed… or too vulnerable and exposed.
“How are you?”
Rarely have I imbued an anodyne question with…
I’m an autistic woman in my 30s. I’m introverted and a little awkward, but I do enjoy meeting new people and making new friends. However, I have this recurring experience in social settings that I find off-putting.
When I am in a room with a group of people who are neurotypical (that is, people with “typically developing” brains), I am often told that I don’t fit their image of what autism looks like. I am told that I seem too intelligent or too “high-functioning.” I am too verbal. My eye contact is too good. …
I’m sitting alone in a coffee shop in Manhattan and I’m about to become the most disliked person in the room. First, I’m going to interrupt the man reading quietly near the window and ask for a sip of his latte. Next, I’m going to ask the line of people waiting to pay if I can cut to the front of the queue. And before I do any of this, I am going to lie down on the dusty, coffee-stained floor — eyes open, slowly counting from one to 20 — as the rest of the room looks on in…