Who Can You Really Talk To?

When you have a problem, or need an ear, how do you decide on who to talk to?

This blog has two parts:

  1. The who you can talk to part, and
  2. Is it someone you can trust with what you need to say part.

Sometimes a friend can listen well, but she might not be trustworthy with your personal stuff. How do you know?

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7 Tips to Improve Your Communication Skills

It would seem that communication should be easy and simple, but of course it’s not. It’s often quite complex due to the many layers of messaging that are present when someone speaks. Even a single sentence can be complicated.

The first layer is the obvious one. The words. You have a thought or feeling you want to get across, and you choose the words to do that. If the subject is pretty concrete, meaning it’s about something that isn’t ambiguous or up for interpretation, then the communication’s probably quite clear.

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The “Yes, But” Syndrome

A friend asks you for advice about a problem she’s having, and every suggestion or idea you offer is met with “Yes, but that won’t work for me because . . .”

You’ve had the experience? I’m sure you have. I think we all have. Sometimes it happens in a one on one situation with a friend or colleague, and sometimes in a bigger arena like at a meeting at work where there is a brainstorming session to help solve a problem, and the suggestions are shut down as fast as they come up.

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How to Deal with Quicksand Conversations

Have you ever been in a conversation where each new statement that’s uttered leaves you feeling like you’re sinking further and further into quicksand?

As you say something, the other person responds in a way that seems to totally miss the boat, and the more you say and the more they respond, the more chaotic the conversation becomes.

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How to Deal With an Angry Person

Can you guess what the worst thing is to say to someone who’s angry?

CALM DOWN!

Unfortunately, that’s everyone’s first instinct and often is exactly what’s said. The intention is good. You know that if the angry person can calm down, then it’s possible to talk about the what’s upsetting them and maybe resolve it. The problem is that when you say “calm down”, it just makes them angrier.

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Listen Up!

One of the biggest complaints that comes up in counseling with couples is the listen vs. fix-it conflict.

Actually, it doesn’t just apply to couples, but to any interaction where one person is venting about something and the other person is listening.

I say listening loosely here, because in many instances, the person on the receiving end is not really listening, but is trying to fix the situation.

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To Give Advice . . . or Not!

Giving advice is a tricky proposition.

Given for the right reasons under the right circumstances, advice is very beneficial and can help someone to solve a problem. Good advice is a tremendous aid to getting unstuck.

It allows us to gain knowledge we don’t have from someone who’s in the know. It can widen our view of a problem and lift us out of tunnel vision. It can broaden our perspective, and conversely help us narrow in on the real issues to address.

Advice can be wonderful!

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The Antidote to Being Defensive

Are You Defensive?

So who among us hasn’t been defensive? Don’t fudge! We all have.

Certainly there’s a time to defend ourselves, but for the most part, we engage in being defensive when it really doesn’t help our cause.

True defense is different from defensiveness. Being defensive implies that we really don’t feel secure in our own thoughts, actions, beliefs or whatever the challenge may be.

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Always and Never

You probably know what I’m going to say from reading the title before I even begin. I say that because I think we’re all familiar with using the words “always” and “never” to describe something, and especially when we’re describing someone else’s behavior.

“You always leave your clothes on the floor in your room. You never admit that you’re wrong. NEVER! She always dresses impeccably. He never eats meat.”

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