Communication 101

Written by Thom Rutledge

Do you remember what it’s like to learn to drive a standard shift car? Or to play a musical instrumental? Or ride a bicycle? At firstrepparttar task seems impossible, far too complex to ever be coordinated from your one body and one mind. But with encouragement and lots of clumsy practice, we do begin to learn.

Even with our 20/20 hindsight we cannot identify exactly when we cross that invisible line from practice into knowing. But we do. We learn. And one day we recognize that what once seemed impossible has become natural, even automatic.

Learning communication skills is no different. Keep in mind that as we learn to act and speak differently, we are also learning to think differently. And that is much more difficult than driving a standard shift car.


Mastering new relationship skills is not forrepparttar 131426 faint of heart. Effective communication --- especially in times of conflict --- calls for a focused dedication and repetitious practice. It calls for honest self-evaluation, humility, a sense of fair play, and a willingness to change according torepparttar 131427 needs ofrepparttar 131428 relationship. And it takes (at least) two.

Changing out-dated, ineffective communication patterns involves a great deal of “unlearning,” a much greater challenge than simply filling inrepparttar 131429 blank slate. (Ever try to ditch a bad habit?) In a word, learning effective communication skills calls for commitment --- commitment to yourself, to your partners in communication, and torepparttar 131430 relationship as a whole.


What follows are 7 important tools to help build effective communication. As with any tools,repparttar 131431 first challenge is to learn how and when to use each tool. (A hammer is very important, but I don’t want to use it to repair my eyeglasses.) And keep in mind that this is only a starter set. You will hopefully be adding to this collection of tools forrepparttar 131432 rest of your life.

The Tools:

1. Take Turns. Two separate agendas can seldom be accomplished at once. Establish some ground rules that will insure that you will take enough time for each of you to talk whilerepparttar 131433 other is really listening.

2. Give Information. State your perceptions and your feelings concisely and respectfully. Avoid “selling your side” asrepparttar 131434 gospel truth, even when it feels that way to you. To resolve any conflict, room must be made for at least two different perspectives. And remember that emotions are subjective information, not open for debate (i.e. “you shouldn’t feel guilty,” or “you have no right to be angry”).

3. Gather Information. You have a responsibility in communication to do your share of listening, being receptive to what your partner is saying, without immediately judging and categorizing. Ask questions with curiosity, like a good interviewer. And --- here comesrepparttar 131435 radical part --- listen torepparttar 131436 answers. Too often we ask questions not to gather information, but to make a point.

Choose Ones that Cry

Written by Ruth Marlene Friesen

Do you have a friend who tends to well up with tears very easily? Those tender ones who won't hurt a flea, and whom you sometimes accuse of going overboard with generosity?

Or do you steer clear of them because their tears make you uncomfortable? I know, I know. I've got some friends who avoid me and are embarrassed to death if they see me tear up, and my face gets sort of scrunchy and red. And wet. Mine's awash in tears so quickly. Would I embarrass you?

Let's look atrepparttar ones who always have their emotions in check and never blush or shed a tear. Somewhere, somehow, those people have learned to cover up and hide their feelings. However, with that, givenrepparttar 131424 right circumstances and temptations, comesrepparttar 131425 ability to be deceptive. Such a friend can fake a friendly enthusiasm, but be plotting a revenge on a lower floor in their soul. I used to admire them; now I stop and listen for my intuition to reveal their true motives.

I suggest that you deliberately choose us easy-weepy tender-hearted ones as your best friends. I'll tell you why.

The ones that cry may embarrass you in public, but only as long as you allow yourself to feel marked out. You will always know what they are thinking and feeling, and generally it will be in your favour, rather than their own. These tender ones empathize with and cheerrepparttar 131426 loser, and sometimes you feel like a loser, right?

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