Monday, July 16, 2012

What you said, and what I heard

If there's one thing I've learned over the past couple years, it's that many times when communicating with someone, your mate, children, coworkers, miscommunication can occur when the other person hears something different from what was said. Case in point, I recently posted a comment on another blog I frequent and ended one part of my comment with LOL. Now when I see "LOL", I assume what preceded that was either funny or not so serious. Well I need to work more on my LOLing, because the blog author sent me an email asking me to clarify, which I was happy to do. However, since my comment wasn't posted, that will likely be my last post on that blog since I don't want to risk offending the blog owner again in the future.

Now, when I've even partially offended someone, I'm the first to apologize, so I apologized to the author and have been agonizing every since over how an LOL comment could be construed as anything other than a joke( I HIGHLY admire this blogger, so my feelings were kinda hurt that they would think I would make an angry post on their blog). At any rate, this got me thinking about how often I think people (80% of the time, women) misread me, which says it must be something about my communication style that seems to either set some people off or offend them.

I think I've always found communicating with women challenging starting with my own mother. And I guess if you don't grow up with the best Mom/Daughter relationship, it's a little hard to learn those comminucating with women skills as an adult. As an aside, I got along great with my Mother's mother who didn't get along well with my mother at all. Go figure!

At any rate, I'd really like to be a good communicator with everyone, and not just patients and men. But as I get older, I'm finding myself more and more challenged when communicating with some women, particularly in professional settings. Interestingly, I receive high marks for my people skils in the volunteer breast cancer outreach work I do and the same when I worked in medical clinics. And I'll admit, I'm in compassionate mode when dealing with patients but business mode when I'm handling my work/school related business. But the idea of being " softer" in a business/school settings seems highly contradictory to me. Actually, it's more of a catch 22 that I feel as a Black woman. If I'm soft it will be seen as unprofessional, lacking in confidence, or as incompetent. If I'm too hard, I'm a bee-oytch. So, why can't I just be myself anyway? I think we all know the answer to that.

All that said, I do try to stay aware of how easy it is to have anything I say, written or spoken be misconstrued, because as I've learned the hard way, it doesn't matter what my true intentions are if the person I'm communicating with heard it differently.

So, if anyone out there has any communicating tips, please share!!

PS - The person who coined the phrase "perception is reality" needs to understand that sometimes, perception is delusional!

PSS- Okay, I'll admit to being a little on the hard core side when talking to Black folks about cancer.

PSSS- There was neither anything "bullying" or "snarky" about my comment on that least I don't think so, LOL!!!

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