Tuesday, June 22, 2010

My communication wrap up

I adore my father in law. He is the nicest guy. We were there for father's day Sunday and I asked my MIL, why don't you make him get a hearing aid? They just put up with his hearing loss. I forgot what she said, but we were discussing it when he asks us what we're talking about. Like he always does. We all yell, 'we're talking about your hearing loss!"

"Oh, no," he laughs, "I only hear what I want to."

He shrugs it off with a hearty denial.

His perception, that he can hear just fine if it is something he wants to hear, overrides reality. He is losing his hearing. He is making a communication choice no to hear, thus not to listen, to others. It is quite a hostile choice. Personally, I'd divorce him.

I am a speaker. I have messages to communicate. Hell, I'm a Gemini who wants to be a writer. I love to communicate. But how free is a speaker who has no listener? Talking to someone who refuses to listen is not satisfying. Yet that is what happens millions of times a day. (not to me, worldwide)

People assume they know what I am about to say. Either based on my looks, my background, my past comments, or the topic; then they stop listening. They think about what they will say next. They interrupt. They one-up me. They try to dominate the conversation by force or manipulation. They react emotionally.

Thus my message becomes tainted. It takes effort and practice to really hear someone's message. And it takes communication skill to acknowledge that message, even with a simple "oh." Seek first to understand others. We need to slow down and listen longer.

The group communication class information could be applied to family groups. I applied the conflict management chapter to my family's communication problems. Now I don't avoid conflicts by being passive. Passive, or what I termed "keeping the peace" only allows conflicts to fester. Now I recognize aggressiveness directed towards me. I respond assertively now. I stick to my message, maintaining respect. It's hard.

The gender class was the most difficult for me. I have always prided myself on my independent thought. To learn that I'm just as much a party to stereotypical thinking as anyone else was not easy! My ego went ouch!

I knew some of the gender myths already. I knew women earned less than men, but what I learned was that social perception is we have achieved pay equity. This explained why I dropped this as a subject many years ago. (Topic avoidance) I thought I was arguing with stupid people. The public is not stupid. But they are stubborn!

We love our "norms" so much, and these norms encompass all the gender stereotypes. To deviate from them upsets people greatly! Light bulb moment! I deviate from norms as a matter of practice. So I create "noise" or in other words, I upset people who want me to conform.

I want to take this information, which is too big to pack into one post, and apply it to a book topic. I want to write a relationship "what not to do" book from the woman's point of view, at the point of the break-up. Then go over all the stories, add my own, and categorize them, adding layers of humor, hindsight and communication insight. My goal is to provide comfort for people who are going through a break up, ever went through a break up, and help people who want to improve the relationship they are in.

To be a contributor, visit my blog to take the survey. Thanks~!

Kim Reyes


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