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Posts Tagged ‘communications’

People, I have noticed, seem comfortable to offer their opinions freely whether their input has been solicited or not. Sometimes, I think there should be a automatic five minute delay feature in our brains, allowing us to contemplate what’s about to exit our mouths prior to actually releasing the words from our lips. When I was pregnant with my daughter, my first pregnancy, I naturally had some apprehension about what the actual birth process would be like. Already nervous, other women already through their pregnancies stepped up to fill me in on what to expect. Women, at least I found, were very forthcoming when it came to sharing their birthing experiences, not leaving out even the most graphic of details. Ladies, there truly is such a thing as too much information. Less, as they say, definitely can be more. One lady, as I remember, shared a story about a young pregnant woman who believed she was pregnant but in the end gave birth to a large growth with hair on it and a full set of teeth. This, as you might imagine, was the story choosing to bounce around in my head right after my body registered the first labor pain.

When speaking to my daughter about this topic she said she calls this the “Four Second Rule”. Never heard of it. Looking it up, I discovered this four second rule applies to many situations. Broken down it’s basically, “think for four seconds before saying something you might regret”. Don’t feel you need to open your mouth and spill out whatever exactly is on your mind every minute of the day without filters. Sort of goes back to the old adage, “if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all”. Mark Twain, said it so eloquently, “It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt.” No kidding, I’m right there with you Mark.

Everybody has an opinion. I assume that is why the brain was included in the total package.Without the command center under our skull we wouldn’t be of much use to ourselves. In the absence of any innate logic to guide us,we would be running into walls, or getting up in the morning and not comprehending we needed to swing our feet over the side of the bed and sit up before we stood. We are supposed to think over and ponder on life’s options and quandaries, and then form opinions on them. All I’m saying is it isn’t always mandatory to express every single opinion you have developed. Believe it or not, everyone doesn’t want to hear each and every thought that might originate in your gray matter. Being given the incredible tool of the Internet, has allowed us to say what we feel 24/7 without any buffering. I’m not dissing the Internet. Actually, I love the Internet. It has opened up so many portals for me to learn new things and offers so many available sources of seemingly unlimited information. Also, I like social media, well, to an extent. I’m not tweeting every five minutes nor do I constantly record every minute of my day on Instagram, and I rarely have posted or taken a selfie. That being said, I often spend twenty minutes or so puttering around with friends and acquaintances on Facebook and, for the most part, enjoy my time there. There is little political action or derisive content among my groups. Mainly the groups I follow, post a lot of silly inane pictures of cats behaving badly, beautiful sunsets, pandas doing somersaults and delicious looking creations from cooks all around the globe. I like it that way. There is enough bad news to go around, I prefer to stir a little happy in the pot from time to time to even things out.

This train of thought comes up because I am going this morning to get my first Covid shot. As mentioned in my previous blog, it took me a couple of days to secure an appointment, so I was relieved to get my name on the books. Saturday, I celebrated my Valentine’s Day with my Mom. Suffering from dementia, her mind still functions for sure, but there are a lot of disconnects in her wiring. Always, though, when I walk through the door, she gets a big smile on her face and knows exactly who this face belongs to. I am so thankful for that. Her caregiver, Veronica, does a great job with the five charges she has under her wing. Taking care of one person with memory impairment issues is no walk in the park on the best of days, but taking care of five elderly people with comprehension problems I’m sure can be really taxing. Let me preface by saying she is a lovely woman, but not a woman short of opinions. Whether you have asked for her input, advice, guidance or whatever, she seems compelled to help you find your way down the road. As an aside, it did occur to me that when dealing with people who cannot really hold up their end of a stimulating conversation, it may lead to feeling the need to interject yourself in whatever conversation you find yourself privy to. When discussing my mother getting her vaccination with her, I mentioned I would be getting mine. This opened the floodgates, allowing her to bring me up to speed on the side effects everyone in her sphere of relationships was enjoying ranging in severity from being in bed to two to three days with flu-like symptoms to foaming at the mouth like a rabid dog (not really, but I believe there were locusts mentioned in there somewhere). Thanks, I’m sure I’ll be reliving that conversation as I’m getting jabbed in the arm. My bad, not hers, shouldn’t have mentioned it. Brings to mind what my ex-husband was fond of saying, “information is power”. His premise was, with each piece of personal information you offer up you open up a door to allow people to root around in your life. Now, he is a man. Men, I have to say, are not, at least in my experience, particularly strong in the information gathering area.

This lack of information gathering chops has been pretty consistent in the men I have had relationships with throughout the years. Women, when discussing a particular situation, will squeeze every bit of juice out of a conversation. When done, we will know every nuance and finite detail of what happened right down to the color of the drawers worn on the parties involved in the story. As an example of this lack of detail, Dale, my partner in crime, was telling me the other day about a very good friend of his who was giving up red meat. Hearing him out, and being an attentive listener, I asked why. “Why”, he replied?” “Yes, why did he stop eating red meat?” No clue. Really? I would have known why, when, what his new diet choices were, as well as having already looked up chicken and fish recipes to suggest to him if these were to be his new food choices. Sigh. A little while later he got off the phone once again and told me another close friend had been in a motorcycle accident. Both the man and his girlfriend were hurt. OMG, says I, what hospital are they in, are they seriously injured, what happened? Nothing. I’m surprised, frankly, he knew they were on a motorcycle when the crash ensued. Never mind. This to me is like publishing a book, a love story shall we say. When you open to the first page, it reads, “there was a man, who met a woman”. That’s it, brief and to the point. No fat in that story line. Also, no reason to explore beyond the first page.

Update from yesterday. So, I got in line and got shot in the arm yesterday with the Moderna Covid vaccine. Pictures of locusts swarming out both ears cruised through my mind (remind me send a thank you note to Veronica) when they asked me to pull up my sleeve. Because I have had a moderate reaction to flu shots in previous years, I had to cool my heels for thirty minutes to make sure I was okay. CVS was very organized. After checking in, I stood in a socially distanced line for about twenty minutes before my name was called. All in all, I am doing pretty well with the side effects. The main one is exhaustion. Unbelievably tired, but I’m told this passes in 3-4 days. Also my arm has swelled up. Other than that, I am one step closer to however much immunity this provides. Yay. I was given to understand the second shot is a bit harder on the body. I won’t mention either shot to Veronica as I don’t want any gory details before my follow up appointment.

So, I hope this information encourages others to step up and stick their arms out. Perhaps one day if we all do, we will be able to receive and give hugs again and go back to enjoying family and friends at gatherings. Have my fingers crossed. Stay safe, keep those masks on, I believe we will get there.

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Posted @ QUOTEZ.CO

After watching an interaction between a couple in a restaurant this morning my mind got to thinking about how we argue. Truly the “style” of arguing really does vary from one family or one person to the next.  This couple, for example, were what I call silent punishers. First they disagreed about something obvious to all of us seated at the tables adjacent to theirs. Realizing they had an audience they lapsed into an uncomfortable silent suffering mode which lasted throughout what must have been a really long meal. At one point the female of the pair had looked at the ceiling so long I was concerned her neck would remain permanently locked in the “up” position. This is one of my least favorite forms of punishment for as you might note by the wordiness of my blogs, I am a communicator. If I have done something to irritate you I would far prefer you air it as quickly as possible rather then let it stew at a slow simmer leaving me to guess what it might be that is bothering you. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy a good game as much as the next guy, but mind reading is not listed under the skills section of my resume.

Most likely these behaviors are learned from our parents. If your parents were prone to loud angry outbursts odds are you might follow their example. I have friends married for some years who seem to enjoy a good lively argument. During the heat of the dispute they might resort to disparaging comments about one another’s families or each other and take shots at each other I would find difficult to absorb. Just when I think this is to be the shot that will be the last straw before all out combat ensues, I find them laughing or talking to each other as if nothing at all had transpired. I think of this as the “pressure cooker” kind of argument. The steam builds up, the top begins to spin around, and then the pressure is released. Seems to work for them.

For me, I don’t like to argue. However, expecting two people to cohabit together under the same roof and get along twenty-four hours a day seems unlikely. The first few years of a relationship in many cases is a “honeymoon period”. Everything is new and fresh. It’s like when you get new car. No one can eat in it, you wash it religiously every weekend, and keep a trash bag handy inside for any debris that might come along. After a few years leaves pile up on the floor boards, someone is writing “Wash Me” in the dust on your back window, and empty McDonald’s bags are tucked in the door pockets. During the honeymoon period children most likely have not entered the picture yet, both parties are still dressing to impress, and physical interactions are still at the peak of the exciting stage. I can remember when I first got married I would set the alarm a half an hour early so I could sneak out of bed and put my makeup on and do my hair before my husband got up for work. That, I guarantee, did not last past the arrival of the first baby.

Some people have civilized arguments where neither party raises their voice. I do not necessarily think you need to raise your voice during an altercation but sometimes when the subject is heated it is easy to find it going up. Once I participated in a couples class focusing on communication. The moderators broke us up into couples each pair facing one another. In each pair one person was given the word “no” and the other “yes”.  They instructed us to begin in what mother’s today might refer to as their inside voice and slowly accelerate until they were yelling while simply repeating the one word assigned to them. Amazing how much quicker my heart began to beat as I went from no to NO. By the end of the exercise I found I was actually angry and had no idea why. The idea, as I’m sure you’ve surmised, is that yelling while in the middle of a disagreement will obviously raise the level of agitation considerably.

Communication whether arguing or simply discussing your feelings is not always easy. I know when I have something to say to someone who’s opinion matters to me that I know might be uncomfortable I dance around it like a jumping spider looking for a mate. Being honest without hurting someone’s feelings is like walking through a minefield in snowshoes. Difficult and quite possibly hurtful. If you are honest with yourself I believe you must also honor the other person by being honest with them.

Also in this communications class they discussed saying the right words with the wrong tone. For instance you ask someone if they’d like to go to the movies. They reply with no enthusiasm whatsoever, “Yes, that would be nice”. They’ve said the right words with the wrong intonation. This, as the receiver of the answer can be very confusing. This doesn’t suggest that you never join a friend or partner in an activity perhaps not your first choice.  Sometimes we bend to do what others enjoy and hopefully they respond in kind. Relationships after all are full of give and take if you’re to make them work. Just if you do sign up for something they want to do, approach it with enthusiasm or be honest and don’t to do it at all. Haven’t you ever taken someone somewhere with you who agreed to go (Obviously you did not drug them and throw them in the trunk if they are standing next to you and if you did that’s a whole other blog.) and the whole time they are there they are looking at their phone or yawning. I know I have. I would prefer they had said no or brought a good attitude with their yes. I’m just sayin.

There’s also non-verbal communication. Shrugging your shoulders, raising an eyebrow, displaying only your middle finger, or rolling your eyes can send a clear message without ever opening your mouth. Rick, when alive, got particularly annoyed with people who rolled their eyes when he was trying to make a point. In my case if you laugh at me when I’m angry it is like waving a red flag in front of a bull. If I was on a three on a gauge running 1-10, it will send me flying up to a six.

Over the weekend I was in Reno. Haven’t been there in years. Hasn’t change much since last I visited. Still a scruffy desert town with a lot of casinos but went with a friend celebrating a birthday and had a blast. He is one of those human beings who has never met a person he didn’t make a friend. When approaching someone to ask a question or interact with them he first always asks their name and then offers his, and in this case mine as well. I have watched many times in amazement as taking this extra step to personalize his exchange seems to open these people up to be more helpful and certainly more friendly.  Several times we had individuals we hadn’t seen before guiding us to restaurants or telling us secrets about where to drop your money in the casino. If you follow horoscopes at all, according to what I read about scorpios, which is my birth sign, we tend to be more guarded and secretive preferring to size people up a bit before going in. Perhaps he is in my life to teach me a little bit more about letting my guard down.

Listening is essential when having a difference of opinion. Just because you may not agree with the what the other person has to say doesn’t mean it’s okay to tune them out until it’s your turn to respond or interrupt because you can’t wait for them to stop talking. What is it Judge Judy is fond of saying, “you have two ears and one mouth for a reason”.

Communication is humans way of bonding but often we do it clumsily or with the wrong intent. With all the missed chances in our world of late to work together and listen as well as talk, talk, talk this would be a great time to find ways to compromise and if not grasp another person’s point of view at least acknowledge their right to have it.

On that note, have a great day. Yes, or no?

 

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