Last night I was trying to catch up on some of my studying that I have been neglecting lately. My advanced management course (don’t ask how I ended up in that one...it is a long story) deals primarily with various forms of communication, effectiveness of communication, barriers to effective communication, and the like. This course isn’t rocket science, but it has highlighted some useful information on what can happen to a message between when it is sent and when it is received by its intended audience. I thought I’d share some of that information here. (I know, I know… how exciting, right? Just read it…okay? It won’t hurt you to think for five minutes. )
In life, there are people who just ‘get’ you. They are on the same mental path and speak the same language you do. When you start to explain something…they understand right where you are going with the explanation and how you made certain connections to come up with a particular conclusion. Communication flows easily both ways... unhampered by failures in understanding. You know what I mean, don’t you?
Of course, on the other hand, there are also those who don’t, can’t, and never will ‘get’ you. I think when this situation arises, there is often times a tendency to blame the other person for the breakdown in communication. I’m not saying that in some cases blame isn’t warranted... but it seems to me that one should at least consider the possibility that the communication problem lies in large part with the way each person conceptualizes ideas, and how each person is built personality wise.
To me, being able to communicate well is critical within a relationship. Because of my own personality traits and the way I come to understand things, there has hardly ever been a time where I could just accept things at face value, or gracefully accede to something that I do not understand. I have to understand things on a gut level or there is no peace... not for me and not for anyone else around me.
For the most part, the people that I have been closely involved with in my life with have understood this about me, and in the things that mattered, have permitted me to ask questions when things were unclear to me, to reach a point of understanding. Once I reach a point of understanding something on a gut level, I "know" it. It becomes a part of me. I can answer all kinds of questions about it, and know what to do with it in any circumstance to which it relates. I will never have to "learn" it again. It is the difference between having abstract book knowledge of how to build a house, and the ability to actually go build a house. I have a NEED to understand and wrap my mind around things.
Keeping in mind the above, any way you look at it, I'm just not going to be an easy or peaceful person to be around for anyone who is not on the same wavelength, because just as they do not get me, I do not get them, either. There are lots of things you can change with regard to a person’s actions, but it’s probably not a good idea to start tampering with a person’s personality. Therefore, there comes a time when you have to accept that “some men you just can’t reach.” Sometimes, you just have to accept that communication is not going to take place…forgive yourself and the other person... and move on.
Of course, sometimes people really are too busy coming up with something to refute the other person rather than listening in an attempt to understand the other side. This is not the type of situation I am writing about. Rather, I am referring to a genuine difference in the way two people interpret things…a situation in which neither side is attempting to frustrate or annoy the other or simply want to be “right”.
Quote and title to this post taken from Guns N’ Roses. “Civil War"
The time has come, as inevitably it does, to discover which of you who claim to be my friends actually mean it. In that vein...today, my BFF
If any of you get a collect call from any correctional facility in New York State...we just need bail money. We promise to pay you back!
"A good friend will come and bail you out of jail...but, a true friend will be sitting next to you saying, 'Damn...that was fun!'" -Unknown
I am in the process of moving content over from another blog, so if you see posts that appear new but read outdated...good for you! You have excellent observation skills! =)
If you approach me with a problem, it is in my nature to try to find a solution. I am a solution-oriented person. I don’t view problems as being negative… I see them as puzzles to be solved by finding a resolution that most closely achieves a desired outcome.
Now…I may have mentioned a time or two that I’m not people-oriented. I would interact with others more, but I don’t want to. Unfortunately, this has resulted in some unforeseen consequences in that my co-workers and family seem to have found a way to use my nature against me as a means of socializing with me. (Either that, or they are profoundly helpless, lazy and/or just plain stupid.)
By way of example, sometime near the end of August, I purchased a Kindle for my mom’s birthday. I had given one to my dad for his birthday, but he wouldn’t let her touch it. In order to even the playing field between them, I thought she deserved her own. In retrospect, maybe I should have just sent flowers.
Mom received the package from Amazon in a timely fashion and I was thanked profusely. Of course, once again I had to listen to the exact same speech I hear every year about how I shouldn’t spend my money on them. On the heels of that lecture, she asked if it would hurt my feelings if she exchanged it for the Nook. I assured her that it would not (the first of many mistakes to come), and that she should get exactly what she wanted. In retrospect, I should have told her that if she didn’t keep that Kindle, it would devastate me past any hope for recovery.
9/7/11 from Mom: Changed my mind. I really like the Kindle. Will keep it.
9/7/11 from L: Well please only keep it if that is what YOU want to do. I would much rather you have what you would really like. It doesn't matter to me if it is the Kindle or Nook or something else.
9/8/11 from Mom: As for the Kindle, I hate to ask but what did you pay for mine? I think the Nook is about the same but not sure. I have 30 days to change it without losing anything on it.
9/8/11 from L: I don't remember what I paid…you can look at Amazon and see. It was the one with 3G.
9/9/11 from Mom: Where is my return label to send my Kindle back to Amazon?
9/9/11 from L: Mommy, I told you... You need to log into your amazon account and click on return a gift.
9/9/11 from Mom: Oh, honey! I am so sorry. I did not read that part of your email! I will take care of it.
9/10/11 from Mom: My printer at home is not working and neither is the one at the office! Now what can I do? It should be fixed in day or two.
9/10/11 from L: I will mail you the return label today.
9/15/11 from Mom: I’m sending out the box to return the Kindle to Amazon in the morning. I would like to get this Nook: Best e-ink reader –CNET, 06/01/2011 * Incredibly easy–just touch and read * Ultra-light, thin and the longest battery life * Most advanced E Ink® 6" display w/ crisp fonts * Expert recommendations and fun social features
9/15/11 from L: Okay… I’ll go ahead and order it.
9/16/11 from Mom: Well don’t order it just yet. I think I may want the color Nook after all.
9/16/11 from L: I already ordered it! Okay, you will just need to return it when it arrives.
9/17/11 from Mom: Did you say that I could exchange the Nook for the colored one after I receive it and send it back? When do you think it will come? How should I send it back when i do receive it?
9/18/11 from L: It should be there by Wednesday. You can either call (number omitted) for return authorization or take it to a B and N store. There is one located at (address omitted).
9/19/11 from Mom: But will they ask for your order number or anything?
9/19/11 from L: Just take the box. Everything you need will be in there. Tell them you want to exchange it.
9/20/11 from Mom: Well, it is just so far to drive to the store to exchange it. Can’t I just send it back to Amazon?
9/20/11 from L: Mommy, you are not listening! I bought it from B and N. You can’t return it to Amazon because I did not buy it from Amazon. Please… just send everything to me. When my credit card is credited from Amazon and from B and N, I will order you the color Nook.
9/20/11 from Mom: Okay. I will pay you the difference.
9/21/11 from Mom: I received the Nook today. Your daddy took it over to the store and exchanged it for the color Nook. I just love it.
It was the above interaction that made me realize that I had been had. My mother is one of the most intelligent people I know. There is NO WAY she needed my help with any of this. She just wanted my attention because I go months without calling and only email in response to her emails. Next year… she is getting a check.
I think too much and always have… if one is to believe folks like parents, teachers, employers, friends, and lovers, that is. I don’t even have a problem admitting to it. So what? Despite over analyzing most things in my life and frequently giving the impression of having an overly serious nature, there is a part of me that is completely and wholly irreverent. I have just never really taken myself all that seriously. Not for very long, at least and not in small part because I have learned that when I have been tempted to do so, whatever alternate universe is responsible for keeping me humble has systematically set me up as a source of great entertainment.
The way I see it, analyzing everything under the sun tends to keeps my mind busy. As a rule, a busy mind is a good thing because usually it keeps me out of trouble, although there certainly are exceptions. You see, I’ve got this little…quirk (for lack of a better word). It is a bit difficult to explain, but I shall try. There are just times in life when situations become ridiculously serious… far beyond what the circumstances call for. In such instances, I have been known to do things…things so totally inappropriate and uncalled for that frequently the reactions of others run towards “WTF?” (As in “what the fuck is wrong with you????”)
Not infrequently, the recipient or observer of my actions is left standing there in stunned disbelief and horror, torn between filing a PINS (person in need of supervision) petition with the Court and giving me a lecture for my behavior. While they are left grasping for an appropriate reaction to my inappropriate action, I am often collapsed in a fit of laughter marveling once again at how ridiculous we humans can be in our pompous self-righteousness. I’m human, like everyone else, and I find myself to be a great source of amusement… with all of my character flaws, my needs, my desires, my vanity and my imperfections. Get over it already.
The truth is, every person who takes himself seriously would like to be taken seriously by others. However, whether or not one achieves this desired result necessarily remains uncertain and ambiguous.
“With purpose to be dress’d in an opinion
Of wisdom, gravity, profound conceit,
As who should say ‘I am Sir Oracle,
And when I ope my lips let no dog bark!’" - Merchant of Venice.
Even if the canine audience were to fall silent, the human reception of the Oracle would likely range along a spectrum from reverential awe to hysterical derision.
As for me, I’m going to take a pass on worrying where along the spectrum I am viewed and instead view myself as a sum of parts. I’ve answered to “silly girl” more than once in my lifetime, and will do so again.
So you see it isn’t about you at all. Sometimes it really is all about me. Some of you just aren’t getting that.
I am not a person who has a great deal of free time. Now some of you are probably looking at me with a raised eyebrow, and thinking to yourself...hmmm..well, for someone with so little free time, you sure spend a great deal of time online. Well, yes. I do spend a great deal of time online. My life primarily consists of working full time and going to school full time, both of which mandate my being tied to my laptop during most of my waking hours. In complete defiance of everything I need to accomplish in a day’s time, however, I do take my one hour during lunch to do something for me.
More often than not, that something is reading...and also more often than not, it means reading books that require so little thought or concentration that one could easily calculate patterns of inheritance for autosomal recessive disease in their head at same time.* Despite the simplicity of most of the books I read at lunchtime, every so often I’ll stumble across something the writer has said that triggers a fascination with the words and/or concept being conveyed. The following is one such passage:
“Unlike the rest of you, I cheerfully admit to my own utter selfishness. I am self-made, self-absorbed, self-serving, self-referential, even self-deprecating, in a charming sort of way. In short, I am all the selfs except selfless. Yet every so often, I run across a force of nature that shakes my sublime self-centeredness to its very roots. Something that tears through the landscape like a tornado, leaving nothing but ruin and reexamination in its wake. Something like...Bob.” – Victor Carl
(Lashner, William. Falls the Shadow. New York: HarperCollins Publishers, Inc., 2005.)
It occurred to me upon reading those words that I have a great deal in common with the fictitious Mr. Carl. Being an INTP personality, (based upon the genuine Myer-Briggs, for those who believe in that sort of thing) I am quite wrapped up in my own mind much of the time, and certainly more than I am comfortable in admitting to you. While I won’t go so far as to say that I am not selfless (because I can be), it is true that it often takes a figurative “fist in the hair” to yank me out of the comfort and enjoyment I find in my own little world.
Fortunately for me, every so often an elusive “Bob” will come along and will “tear through the landscape [of my mind] like a tornado, leaving nothing but ruin and reexamination in [his] wake.” You see, “Bob” has this gift of making one crave the pain of the destruction. He makes you see what has never before been seen. You begin to look forward to the discomfort of the reexamination, and to develop a curiosity about what will ultimately emerge from the ashes. Suddenly before you is something so consuming that you know, instantly you know: Nothing will ever be exactly the same again.
Do you know what I mean? Have you ever met “Bob”?
* Basic Genetics fulfilled the science requirement for a previous bachelor's degree. Since the particular calculation mentioned above is the only thing I retained from the course, don’t be asking me about hypertrichosis or nutrigenomics. Your guess will be as good as mine....probably better.