Tag Archives: communication

friday ‘finking | insecure me, insecure you

We all have them and they live at a particularly exact address: all over the cerebral cortex, with vacation homes in the frontal lobe and the limbic system.  You’ll often find them there, dancing a dancing plague with Oedipus’ and Electra’s complexes, hand in hand with unrevealed-yet Freudian slips and singing out loud tunes of past depressions.

Fears, insecurities, complexes, call them what you may- they’re a constant and they usually

a) come bundled up (where there’s one, it usually has friends- coocoo needs company, don’t it?);

b) are hard to get rid of- if anything, age and a combination of self-imposed “I finally like who I am now, I did two classes on self-discovery, it’s so great to embrace who I am” + a wide array of repeated self-fulfilling prophecies make them fatter, quicker to fire through our neurons and thirstier for those poisonous chemicals that support the whole thing;

c) affect us all- we ALL have them. Like I said, coocoo does need company.

So we know what they’re about. We try to address them by either confronting them straight up (you know, the classic I’m gonna jump out of a plane for my 30th birthday because I’ve always been afraid of heights. And I’m gonna start a support group for people like me, and I’m gonna write a blog about this experience, and I’m gonna throw a party for it because I-was-so-weak-and-this-was-sooooooo-liberating, haters gonna hate but I defeated the fear monster, ohmygodimsostrongnow) or by building smart, fluid, compensatory mechanisms to hide them from ourselves and others. Which is terribly human, and terribly ok- particularly when the result is self- awareness and acceptance that hey, not all of us mortals are perfect (and if we’re not, maybe others are not, either, so let’s play nice with each other, shall we?).

But when the playing nice does not happen, insecurities become more apparent, and we can’t help but notice them (it’s like staring at an ugly wound- it’s gross, but you can’t take your eyes off that damn pus). So here are a few signs someone in your life might have sensitivities towards you that you, the be-the-better-man should try to mind (if you can, that is. Sometimes knowing he/she is insecure doesn’t make it easier to deal with their grouchy, judgmental, unfriendly ass):

1. They like to take the opposite side (don’t be fooled by an affirmation- anything followed by a “but” is nothing but a contradiction in disguise: “yes, but…”)

2. They unassumingly, discreetly remind you how good they are at something. If you admire a new piece of clothing on a common friend, you’ll probably hear “hey, X, didn’t I help you pick that?”- or something along those lines.

3. They take their time introducing you to their friends or making you part of their outside-the-circle activities.

4. They’re askholes. Masked as someone with great intentions and respect for you and what you have to say, an askhole always asks for your opinion, but never follows your advice.

On the same note, they’ll try hard not to ever be in your debt. Whether that takes the form of them insisting on splitting the bill and paying back a gift with another (often more expensive, more carefully picked one) or by never asking for help (when you know they need it, and they know you would give it in a heartbeat), not owing you anything= power.

5. If you ever are so uninspired as to wrong them and fuck up, breach yourself. Doesn’t matter if your mistake is unintentional, if your dog died and you’re depressed, if you don’t speak the language or if you simply thought it wouldn’t be such a big deal- once they see you slip, they’ll prefer to think it’s because you’re badbadbad and will make it a mission to not only point it out, but find other victims of your destroying behavior and be their savior. Game over.

(Now, all of the above are points to look after in people who are close to you, whom you cherish and who care for you in return. If not, that means these behaviors are a pretty clear sign you’re not on the same page, and maybe you should be worried about whether they even like you… just sayin’.)

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friday ‘finking | 5 rules to com-mu-ni-cate

Communicate much? 

In my short life of living here and there, working here and there, making friends here and there and speaking this or that language, it happened many times to a) not get it, b) not being got and c) make crazy mistakes assuming people really understand not only what I’m trying to say, but also why I say it.

So here are a few things I learned.

1. Say what you mean. Beating it around the bush won’t cut it- people get bored, they get annoyed, and you’ll for ever be the princess who can’t gather the balls to voice their opinion. If you’re like me, crazy in the head and wild in their beliefs, you can choose to not say all that you mean- but better to have a drop of concentrated truth than a sea of blablablahs.

2. Mean what you say. Euphemism, metaphors, epithets are all good if you’re not comfortable delivering a shot of you (straight-up, olives on the side) every time you open your mouth. Use them instead of serving bullshit.

3. When in Rome, do what the Romans do. Try to adapt your discourse to the person in front of you, to the language you’re speaking in, to the local culture. It’s nice to be yourself 100% of the time, but if you’re trying to make yourself understood get it in your head that your collocutor may not have the cognitive tools to process your output accurately. Not because they’re stupid (although it does happen) or because they’re unwilling (although that happens, too)- but because they simply don’t know what to do with you. Like an exotic food they don’t know how to pair with wine.

4. If you’re a Roman, you have it easy- be nice, and meet your conversation partner mid-way. You’re at home, you know the culture and you speak the language- you have all the tools to understand what the other may want to say. Yes, they may be speaking your mother tongue with the grace of a military boot, wrongly conjugating some verb, or moving their hands too much, or misplacing prepositions; yes, they may commit some abhorrent cultural no-nos; and yes, they may take too damn long trying to say something simple- but they’re on your turf, and you’re equipped with everything you need to get it. So roll up your sleeves, work your brain and be patient. Your tolerance and your willingness to get it, I assure you, will be appreciated.

5. Get over yourself. MemememememeIIIIIIIIMineIthinkIwantMyopinionmemememememeIIIII… is straight-up lame. Stop being so me- centric, get out of your zone of fluff and understand that people come from different backgrounds (as solid and as valid as yours) and that a conversation is NOT a series of balanced, equally-spaced, repeated monologues (I said what I had to say, now you can say what you have to say, then step and repeat- how boring is that?!). It’s ok to interrupt, as long as it’s done respectfully and adds to the communication- so don’t take it personally. It’s ok to pause- silence is f-i-n-e. It’s ok to talk over each other, as long as it doesn’t interfere with the purpose of the talk. If the common purpose is com-mu-ni-cate, anything goes.

In my head, a perfect talk looks like a tapestry- well-constructed, intricate, made of different colors and threads. And, if not useful, at least beautiful.

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