“I can’t connect with this person no matter what I do.”
Everyone has a Communication Challenger
Everyone has someone in their life whom:
- they struggle to communicate with.
- or someone who hasn’t responded to your best efforts to get through to them.
- challenges you repeatedly to connect with them.
What makes it worse is when you need to cooperate with them and you don’t know how to do it. If this sounds familiar to you, read on because you are going to learn how to communicate with absolutely anyone, regardless of their character.
There are Three Ways to Communicate
There are three ways to communicate and Dr. John Demartini captures them with three words: Careless, Careful, and Caring. (See Also The Heart of Love) Let’s take a look at each.
First, “Careless” communication is the best way to breakdown communication between two people. It is also called self-righteousness or euphemistically “my way or the highway.” It is like saying, “My values are right, yours are wrong, we will follow mine.” It is based on the belief that one’s own values are better or more right than another persons values. It is based on disrespect and the foundation for all conflict between humans.
Second, “Careful” communication is the best way to sabotage communication between two people and devalue yourself at the same time. It is called self-wrongeousness (which isn’t even a word). It is like being obliged to walk on egg shells and at the same time, trying not to break any. It’s similar to saying, “My values are wrong and yours are right, so we will follow yours.” It is based on not respecting, or minimizing your own values and over-respecting and exaggerating the other person’ values.
Third, “Caring” communication is the most effective way to enhance communication between two people. It is called caring because it demonstrates mutual respect for the values of both parties simultaneously. It is like saying, “My values are right for me and your are right for you so I am going to put my values inside yours to encourage you to cooperate with me.” Since every relationship is voluntary mutual manipulation, caring communication is seducing the other person with your values while honoring their values.
Examples Demonstrating the Three Forms of Communication
Imagine a stereotypical couple with a man who values his work, tools and sports and a woman who values her children, clothes and friends. One weekend at breakfast they are both reading the morning paper.
The Woman’s Perspective
The woman notices there is a huge sale at the Sears store being advertised and she wants to go check it out because their children need sneakers. She has three ways she can communicate her desire to shop:
“I am going to the Sears sale, the kids need sneakers. See you later!” – ‘Careless’ Communication.
“Honey, if it doesn’t interfere with your day, do you mind if I go to Sears, the kids needs sneakers.” – ‘Careful’ Communication.
“Honey, there is a big sale at Sears, 50% off including the tool department and the shoe department. The kids need some shoes. Do you want to go check it out?” –‘Caring’ Communication.
The Man’s Perspective
If the man notices the Sears Sale, it might go like this:
“I am going to the Sears sale, I need a drill to fix the stairs. See you later!” – ‘Careless’ Communication.
“Honey, if it doesn’t inconvenience you, do you mind if I go to Sears to pick up a drill so I can fix the stairs. I won’t be long.” – ‘Careful’ Communication.
“Honey, there is a big sale at Sears, 50% off, including the shoe department and the tool department. You mentioned the kids need sneakers and I need a drill to fix the stairs. Do you want to go check it out?” – ‘Caring’ Communication.
The Critical Factor in Communication and Cooperation
What makes us human is our ability to consider options and make conscious choices. Using ‘caring’ communication is the only way to get others to cooperate with us. They would most likely cooperate because they feel respected and valued. They don’t have to cooperate but are strongly encouraged to because they feel genuine caring due to how you communicated with them.
Points to Ponder and Remember
1. Start noticing people’s values; they are constantly displaying them by what they say and do.
2. Consciously and genuinely incorporate both your values and theirs in any communication where you seek their cooperation.
3. Be skeptical…that’s healthy, but play with the “Caring Communication,” test it out and let me know if you have any questions about using it.
More Good Resources on the Same Topic
An Evening on Marriage – an enlightening and informative seminar on DVD by Ken Pierce
An Evening on Parenting – DVD – an enlightening and informative seminar on DVD by Ken Pierce
A Valentine Lunch with Grandma a short and insightful article by Ken Pierce
The Heart of Love – a best selling book by Dr. John Demartini