Approx 1 min read
“I hate my friends!”
Well then, you hate yourself. Birds of a feather flock together. That ain’t no smooth rhyming joke; that’s a fact, a truth, a reality. Unlike family you choose your friends. Why then would you choose someone who will antagonise you? Quick answer: you wouldn’t – at least not instinctively.
You don’t like the things your friends do? Here’s a tip, change the way you behave first. You wouldn’t have become friends if there weren’t similarities.
“No, but we’re different.”
Sure you are. We are all fearfully and wonderfully made but even then there are ideas and behaviours that we latch on to. Others who latch on to those become our friends – the people who we look for in a crowd… and unless you’re crazy, you don’t go looking for conflict in a crowd – you go looking for comfort, and one thing that makes comfort comfort is familiarity.
In short – why are you drawn to be friends with the people you are friends with? Because there is a sense of familiarity between them and yourself. A sense of… belonging. Now use that knowledge as you will.
See you tomorrow.
Approx 1 min read
In this, the final chapter of our communication series I would like to discuss something that flies under the radar but is all important. This is the spreading of rumours and the peddling of unfounded information as if it is fact.
I fell into this category for a long time. Because I was gullible (and evidently lazy to actually research and find out the real truth) I would pass on information I had heard as fact, without ever ascertaining if it was so. This came to a head when I was told by someone that the star of ‘My Wife and Kids’, Damon Wayans, had passed away. They said he had cancer, hence the bald head. I believed it – it made sense and that was enough for me. For years I would tell anyone that listened that bit of information as if it was fact. It wasn’t. In fact it was disproven by someone I had brainwashed to believe it, my little sister. She says she found out when someone from her class brought it up and when she checked on the internet – Damon Wayans was alive and well… years after I had claimed he was dead. So, whenever I said something, she would no longer believe it as readily as she used to.
This is the crux of the issue. Never communicate things you do not know to be true, lest you lose trust over spewing falsehoods, unintentionally or otherwise. Do your research – then speak.
Get excited. Tomorrow we start a new series entitled: Friends.
Approx 2 min read
During this communication series one of the major points I have made an effort to emphasize is the importance of the how. That is acknowledging the spirit with which we communicate, with the knowledge that the person on the other end most likely does not have any telepathic superpowers. Ridiculous right? What do I mean by that? Well, the people we interact with can’t read our minds. They can’t scrutinise our hearts… they’re just not built that way. It has got its perks. At the same time it has moments when it sucks especially when we realise that we aren’t built that way either. We aren’t telepaths. (Sorry wannabe Jean Grey, Professor X.) So what’s the big deal? Well there is a big deal. Our intentions are always up in the air to be assumed by the person on the other end of the conversation and this is done based on the way we communicate. Words matter. 100%. Calling someone fat is different from saying they are plus size. Calling someone skinny sounds several times more negative than saying they are slim. Even positive statements like gorgeous and sexy have vastly different connotations, so the words we use matter… but underneath that is the ever important fabric of the how.
To simplify this concept I’ll focus on gifts. Everyone loves gifts. Or at least they should. Gifts are a form of communication. They communicate affection. They express love. However the manner in which the gift is given is often more important than the gift. Think about the gift of a car. A car is a lovely gift. Expensive, easy to show off, practical and often necessary.
Consider this scenario:
“Son – we wanted to do this for you because we know that you are incredibly responsible and trustworthy. You’ve displayed wonderful traits to your younger sibling and we know you’ll always make the right choice. So it is our pleasure to gladly present you with this…”
Voilà. Car keys in a box. Maybe a letter and someone taking photos of your reaction. You’re at your favourite restaurant and it was totally unexpected.
You feel a sharp pain on your forehead. It’s six in the morning. What was that? You look on the floor. There’s a tangle of keys, most which you recognise and one which doesn’t look familiar except it has a popular logo belonging to a certain vehicle manufacturer.
“Don’t lose the keys or eff up the car.”
The gift is the same. Perhaps the joy of the gift remains but significant value is lost in the second way of expression compared to the first.
The way things are done can be the more memorable thing. That’s why “the way he proposed” is so important. The effort and the time taken to understand the person you’re proposing to and to adequately display your affection for her is just as important as the ring… but that’s a story for a different day.
My apologies for the unannounced hiatus. I hope this rams home one of my very recent posts to do with – unannounced hiatuses 😂🙌🏾
See you tomorrow.
Approx 1 min read
You ever been in a group and wonder why everyone listens to that one dude but not you? Well today we’ll find out a simple trick on how to be heard.
“Come here you stupid little idiot you… You good for nothing maggot… You worthless insignificant brat you.”
“I LOVE YOU SO MUCH! YOU’RE SO AMAZING! COME HEAR RIGHT NOW SO I CAN GIVE YOU A KISS!”
There’s something about how we say things that can even alter what others think about what we say. Dogs get this. That’s why the dog in question wagged its tail and was super excited by the first speaker, whose speech was full of evil but delivered with unrivaled gentleness. The same dog ran away from the second speaker. They’re just dogs you may say, they don’t understand language. True, but the fundamental principle doesn’t change. We are attracted to gentle, not abrasive. That’s why we call the places we like to stay “comfort zones”.
Diplomacy is the ability to tell someone to go to hell in a way that makes them look forward to the journey.
If that’s not enough; it’s a popular statement that empty vessels make the most noise. To avoid being classified in this group and to have the words you say treated with the utmost respect and attention, try say less with less volume. You’ll be surprised you’ll be heard all the more.
See you tomorrow.
Approx 2.5 min read.
I messed up once – unintentionally.
I once worked with a group of diverse, super talented and amazingly attractive people. So much so that I and my ego both (yes, my ego was a fully developed persona at one point XD) felt a little out place in this space. Still I was very much welcomed and thoroughly enjoyed my time there, mainly because the people I worked with were incredible.
At the time I was single. How dare you say, “Duhhhh!” so definitively? I’ve got perks ok? Screw it, you’re right. I will have them maybe only when I am recreated… ‘Parks and Recreation’ joke. Nailed it! Anyway a new girl popped up and she for a while was the talk of those that thrived on their testosterone-borne energy. Competitive and confident (not), a segment of guys gossiped about how and when they would make their move. She was of Asian lineage. Vietnamese I think. One guy with a similar background said something to the tune of, “Wish me luck guys! I’m going to say hello to the new girl.” I gotta say, in my mind, this dude was perhaps at the apex of masculinity, blessed with tremendous physique and the charm to match. To make matters even more interesting he is very talented in a fun field few people have any expertise in but it’s something most of us have wished we could do. I’m being very vague here to protect identities because I never asked for permission before typing this (shhhhh). Because of my security in my manhood I decided to say this:
Bro. You clearly have an advantage over everyone else. Why wouldn’t she pick you?
Now understand – ego without an inferiority complex and abundant empathy were the hallmarks of my character. I was being genuine. But context and gestures matter. I pointed at him and directed my gaze towards the young lady in question at the time, sort of like how a magician shows off the assistant participating in his gimmick. They were both of an Asian persuasion and that’s how it was interpreted. I was saying his advantage was that he was an adonis-like being – but it was interpreted by the guys around me that I meant his race gave him an edge and they laughed. In hindsight he was clearly blindsided by my comment because that’s not something anyone would expect from me, and that’s true… but because my intentions were so clear to me, I didn’t see that at all. When I did perceive my error it was too late to address it as it would only really be rubbing salt into the old wounds.
Imagine telling someone the only reason they were favourites to be liked by someone is because they were of the same race, completely disregarding character and any other attractive trait they might possess. That’s what I did and it wasn’t my intention.
This leads us to the very simple lesson of the day:
Context and gestures matter.
When communicating, be as unambiguous as possible. That way there will always be clarity in what you say. That way you only ever offend people on purpose.
Approx 1.5 min read
If I had a superpower this would probably be it. For a while I was referred to as “Mr. Jump-To-Conclusions” in my inner circles. I blame my insatiable appetite for novels, especially those in the fantasy genre, for giving me the extraordinary ability to convert a few words into schemes and ideas that had nothing to do with the original intent… Fiction of the highest order. No wonder my communication skills had to develop, and fast! Otherwise I’d have probably jumped to my death (socially and otherwise).
So, since you’re talking to the master, the equivalent of Dr. Stranger’s Ancient One in this subject (lotsa love Tilda Swinton!) you must want to know how to avoid jumping to conclusions.
The first thing you have to master is to mean what you say and say only what you mean. That way those around you will know, “Oh when X (insert your name where X is) says this, that’s exactly what they mean so I should not make any added assumptions.” Don’t get into the habit of changing your mind all the time or having wishy washy principles. All the does is give people leeway to make decisions on your behalf, assuming they’re doing so with your interests at heart. The result is a lot of, “Well I thought… Based on…”
Secondly, one great way to avoid yourself or someone else jumping to conclusions is to provide clarity. When faced with something that leaves room for your imagination to wander I suggest going back to the person and using the phrase, “When you said this, did you mean…?” You’ll be surprised how often you may misinterpret what was originally said. Yes it is a slower means to get things across because it requires feedback from the other side of the conversation – but the clarity that comes with it saves a lot of time and frustration that would result from a misunderstanding, miscommunication or just plain jumping to conclusions.
Less than one minute read
“And also!” Ding ding ding. You’ve just lost. What am I talking about? Your afterthought doesn’t have the impact all the other words you said prior did. This is something I can finally say I’ve practised in my life and seen it work wonders.
As someone who thought a good friendship meant long ass conversations everyday for a long time I feel qualified to let you know. STOP IT! RIGHT NOW!
It’s not the quantity that matters insomuch as it is the quality.
Don’t fall into the trap of confusing the two. Find out why some kids run to that parent when they get home from work yet they don’t run to the person they’ve stayed with the whole time.
There is a time and a place for everything including small talk. Move away from conversations designed to take up time and move towards constructive, challenging conversation that will build both you and the person you’re talking to.
“It’s not easy to come up with something profound to say everyday,” you may whine. That’s good. And it’s also correct. It is hard. There is an antidote for it though.
See you tomorrow!