Today is day one in my healthy communication class (Psyc 604) at Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine. This intensive is one of the most rewarding things I do each year, because I relish the chance to teach these future doctors
Ever had to deal with washy people who don’t follow through? Here’s how it goes. Someone makes you a promise, and you, counting on it, make a promise to someone else that depends on that promise made to you. And then nothing happens. Nothing except that you wind up looking like a flake.
So what to do about negative energy, particularly when it’s directed at you? Well, I agree with those who say that if you find your energy is drained around certain people, it makes no sense to be around them unless you absolutely have to. And in the case of my passive agressive letter writer, I considered that letter in the context of all the feedback I had gotten, instead of giving it more credit for accuracy than it deserved.
In lieu of having shared values with people we seek to work with, lead, manage or persuade, our main vector of approach is through behavioral blending. That’s where we send signals to others that we are on the same side. Since we people are more alike than different anyway, finding common ground ought to be a fairly simple proposition. Yet most people find it incredibly hard to do when their attention is on the differences that divide us one from another. That’s why the idea of blending is to move to common ground as quickly as possible.
Something as seemingly inconsequential as how fast or slow you talk, how loud or quiet you are, how assertive or passive you are, and even whether you’re standing or sitting, can have profoundly powerful effects on people sorting through their differences. They create enough of a connection, enough of a sense of common ground, that you may actually succeed in identifying more meaningful areas of common interest, and even work together for some soon to be agreed upon common good.
Today, I am blogging about need. I don’t actually need to do this. But I want to. Because when it comes to the word need, I have an ironic response to it. I have blogged previously about need as an aspect of communication itself, as it is reflected in the style of a person’s communication. But I also think of a line from the movie Broadcast News, in which Albert Brooke’s character, in a phone call, says to Holly Hunter’s character, “Wouldn’t it be great if desperate and needy were a turn-on?” So when I hear someone telling me about a need, it’s accurate that I experience a bit of inner turning away from it. Turning away is the opposite to my typical response when observing a need, in which case I may feel compelled to respond to it.