The world is my communication science lab.
This will be a very boring blog today – I’d stop reading here if I were you. Basically, I am not at liberty to share the details of my experience due to a confidentiality agreement I have. I sat here tonight and tried to think of creative ways to present the experience today with out leaking Mr. Sanders secret recipe. It is an important lesson in here.. I just am unsure how to present it,
Having failed, I will say this:
If you are lucky enough in you life, to have a person tell you that you have hurt their feelings, think of the following ideas before you respond. Now, I say “lucky enough” because a person who tells you that their feelings are hurt is basically saying to you that they care enough about the relationship to navigate some discomfort with you. This is a gift.
If someone tells you their feelings are hurt, here is a surefire list of things that will destroy the relationship:
1) Tell them they are being defensive. The moment we accuse a person of being defensive, they really have no choice but to stop talking. We accuse people of defensiveness to take the heat off of ourselves. When we sense someone is “defensive” we can ask questions to help them navigate out of that place. There is not a human on the planet who will be less defensive when we accuse them of being so.
2) Accuse them of something else. “You are seeing this in a negative view,” or “you are too sensitive” or “No one else feels this way” When we do this, we basically are telling them that not only do their feelings not matter- they do not matter.
3) Ignore them. This is a good one. Just pretend you didn’t hear it or get the e-mail. This is a very powerful statement of ‘you don’t matter to me.’
4) Talk about the situation with out them in the room. Now, ladies and gentlemen, this is so healthy. (Said as sarcastically as I can muster.) The moment we discuss a situation with out the person in the room, with a few other people, we become fanatics for our ‘side’. That is the side of ‘what the hell is wrong with you, there is no reason for you to feel upset.’ Get 3 people in a room talking about something and forget ever trying to change their collective mind. To add even more power to this idea, tell the person the next time you are all together that all you did when they were gone was talk about this issue. “I called Joe when I heard about it.” (Not, I care enough to call YOU and see if you are okay.)
5) Remain silent. If you have privately let them know you agree with them, do not say anything when the group is together. If you do say something, totally water it down so it doesn’t really seem like you agree. This helps the group feel the person is a lunatic – and makes teams so much stronger. The person will likely forget you ever agreed with them so don’t worry about it.
6) Never, ever say you are sorry. It is their problem and it is your job to convince them it is their problem. If someone has their feelings hurt, do not express concern or sadness that you may have inadvertently hurt their feelings, instead, do your best to drive your agenda and make sure they know they are wrong. This is super good for relationships and will earn you the National Medal of I Wasn’t Wrong. Wear it proudly.
7) Raise your voice. or. Soften your voice and tell the person you are afraid to say anything because you might hurt their feelings again. This will make the person feel safe and loving toward you. Don’t worry, it isn’t transparent at all.
OK. So I sound like a pissy bitch. Here is a better program for improving relationships through communication. When conflict happens, it is the time for us to create the foundation for future trust.
If someone tells you their feelings are hurt:
1) Be sorry. Truly and emotionally. Even if you have NO IDEA what you did, at least, if you care about the person, feel sorry that they are hurt. Express this. Often this is enough for the person to feel safe again. They at least know you care. “The last thing I wanted to do is make you feel bad. What can I do?”
2) Ask them to explain to you what happen. Listen with out agenda. Do not talk over them. Let them talk. Often folks will end their talk with.. you know it wasn’t that big a deal. We have ALL felt hurt. When we felt hurt, yes, sometimes we are reactionary and seeing things out of perspective. It doesn’t help us when someone points that out. If ya really care about the person, take the risk that they can convince you that you were an ass and maybe you are not perfect. Take the risk that they are right.
3) Let them be right. I have learned this recently. In the middle of a conversation lately, I just said to a group of people, okay, you must be right. Who cares if they are right. Why is this so important. ?
4) Listen for where you made a mistake. Actually quest for this knowledge. This can only make you a better person, to know when you are being a butt. Why we are so afraid of this, I do not know. (I am guilty for it)
5) If you are in a group, do not allow people to process without the person present. You will be a hero if you just stand up for anyone who is not in the room.
6) Speak their side. Truly try to see things from their perspective.
Relationships are fragile. Think of what is going on in our world right now. Times are tough, wars are going on, people do not trust …. why add to it by having to be so damn right all the time.
The world is my communication science lab.