ATTACK!!! Or it really is how you say it!

First off, I need to apologize to my friend, J. I am as human as everyone else and I lost my temper yesterday. Which while understandable given the circumstances, it did cause some hurt feelings, which is never my intention. Please forgive me.

Today’s blog is about language. And how the choices we make can make or break a conversation or cause upset when it was never the intention.

The conversation I had yesterday is as follows:

(via text)

Me: Can’t call right now. Just wanted to say remember that you are so much more than you know. Be well.

J: What the Fuck?

M: I have had 3 deaths in 5 days and am on death watch for a 4th. I am sending out thoughts to people I care about. Would you rather I call you crying?

J: No. But you know that affirmations bug me and would prefer you take me off you bulk affirmation list.

J: Sorry you are going through this. Death is depressing and scary. Hope things get better soon.

This has been a rough week for me. I have not exactly been sleeping well or or taking care of myself as well as I should. So from the onset of his response, I was unprepared to handle it and felt attacked. While I doubt that this his intention, the choice of words is generally seen as incredulous or angry, especially in the written forum. The conversation then proceeded to what was perceived as a chastisement, which left me unable to hear his words of support.

We are frequently confused about what happened in conversations where become people so completely upset with us that they react in opposition of what we intend, sometimes to the extent that they choose not to speak to us again for a while. Many times this is because a truth has been spoken which was unpalatable of was spoken in such a way which made it almost impossible to hear. And sometimes it is simply a delivery system which is incompatible with our intentions.

We tend to hear in sound bites. The most important ones are the ones in the first sentences and the energy which the words are said on. People are more likely to hear all of what you have to say if you speak in a way which addresses what they are actually focused on first, what is actually going on with them, and then anything else which needs to be addressed. Because it allows them to feel as if they have been heard, which is one of the most basic of human needs, especially in a time of stress. Speaking in a well modulated voice with sincerity behind it also helps.

Let’s revisit the conversation. A few small adjustment would have worked.

(via text)

Me: Can’t call right now. Just wanted to say remember that you are so much more than you know. Be well.

J: Whats going on?

M: I have had 3 deaths in 5 days and am on death watch for a 4th. I am sending out thoughts to people I care about.

J: Sorry you are going through this. Death is depressing and scary. Hope things get better soon.

J: By the way, you know that affirmations bug me. Please don’t send them to me. Just call me or check in.

See the difference?

Now, I fully acknowledge that this may never happen. Also that I chose to shut down my ability to hear everything through my feelings of being attacked (I checked with some other language experts. They agree that the choice of language was probably inflammatory, even if that was not the intention.) I had the choice not to engage, and frankly had I not been under the stress I was under, I like to think I would have handled the situation much differently. That I would have been able to hear what he was saying on multiple levels. But I am human, which I realize my admitting that makes many people very happy!

So the challenge I have for you is this: take a look at your language. Where are you coming from? Does the language you are choosing reflect who you are? What you are tying to become? The real ideals which you are trying to convey? Or does it get in the way, trip you up and cause confusion? What one thing can you change, one phrase, attitude, underlying believe can you let go of which will impact the outcome and allow clarity? Improve things?

Things to think about. Until next time.

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