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Apr 21, 2004 7:15 am re: re: We just want to be liked!
steve chichester

Gee Rebecca and Ken, I just think its great that you two are of such oneness of mind that two can write over one signature. Perhaps someday I'll find a relationship like that!

To get back on purpose; I think that the only way to learn to convey your feelings in writing is writing to express your thoughts and feelings. Naturally it takes work and practice to be good at expressing positively, and also to be good at receiving positively. In my experience the more one is able to recieve positively, the more one is able to express positively. Defensiveness oddly causes the response in one self of expecting negativity, which in an open exploratory conversation would be destructive if practiced regullarly.

I find it more productive to assume mutual good will. If I'm mistaken, I have only once to feel the dissillusionment, rather start with the anxious feeling of hand on sword, and carry it through the conversation. Was it Teddy Roosevelt atributed to the saying, "Walk softly and carry a big stick.?" Or was it speak softly?

I don't think one can very well hide the stick. So if you bring it with you to the engagement, the discussion, the exchange of information, it's likely the other guy will see it, and arm themself.

The more one writes and communicates, the better oneself will be able to understand the agenda and interests of the other guy. The more onself writes, the clearer one will be with their own exression. Then when a "heated moment" comes up, one has programed onself with what needs to be said. Then one can ask questions to clarify. Or walk away. At least it can be done it on a thought out foundation. Steve Chichester

> Scott Allen wrote: > Rebecca & Ken Aspinwall wrote:
>> Before we go any further, I want to tell you how difficult it is to use the written word to convey our feelings. It is too easy for misconceptions to happen when we cannot hear voice tones that may or may not indicate invective. >

>Ken, et al.: >

>It can be difficult to use the written word to convey feelings. Isn't it also extremely difficult to even identify your true feelings in the heat of a face-to-face conversation? And even more difficult to articulate them clearly and accurately?

>It has been my experience, and there is a great deal of supporting research, that with a little training, online communication can actually be a far more effective medium for discussing emotionally volatile issues. But you have to know and practice some ground rules. >

>You are never backed into a corner online. Face-to-face, you can end up stumped for an answer, feeling like you have to fill an awkward pause. This frequently causes people to lie or simply to say things that aren't indicative of their true feelings. How many times in the real world have you wished you could take back what you said? There's no Backspace key in the real world. >

>You don't have to answer immediately! I turn off my automatic send/receive in my e-mail, and whenever I'm writing a potentially volatile, sensitive, or just length post on Ryze or elsewhere, I compose it off-line, save it, and reflect on it before sending. After you write something that's emotionally charged, let it sit for at least 10-15 minutes. Cool yourself down, get centered, and read what you've written in a calmer state of mind. 9 times out of 10, you'll completely re-write it (and that's a good thing). >

>Assume good intent. I know that's easier said than done, but it's easier done online than in person. If something you read upsets you, don't start writing!. Remind yourself, "assume good intent". Re-read it, thinking what the best possible thing was they could have been thinking/intending when they wrote what they wrote. You can't do that in person. ("Excuse me, could you please repeat that? What you said really pissed me off, and I'd like to hear it again and see if I can make it not piss me off.")

>Give context. Context creates meaning. All too often, we just write short little bursts without framing them. Make no assumptions about what the other person knows about where you're coming from. If it's important conversation, it doesn't have to be super-short. It's a dialog, not an executive report! ;-) If you give people context ("When I was growing up, my mother taught me...", "My last boss always used to...", etc.) This will help people not only understand what you're thinking, but why. And we are all more understanding/empathetic/compassionate when we know why the other person is thinking what they're thinking.

Of course, there are dozens more tips for dealing with emotionally charged topics that are not unique to online communications. I won't go into them here, but I will leave you with one additional thought (adapted from the prayer of St. Francis):

"Seek not so much to be understood as to understand."
Thank you, Ken, for being so open about all of this. I hope it triggers a great learning experience for all who read it.

- Scott -

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