My friend had a recent break-up, like the other night, and I sat down with him and talked to him about it. I told that he needed a language therapist. As a writer, that was something I could do.
The words we use every day influence how others react to us. I’ve been in the middle of so many family situations that I tend to speak and deal with issues in a neutral, diplomatic manner. I’ve also learned not to take crap. So I gave my friend a few pointers on how not to upset someone with comments that could be inflammatory. I’ll give the example below:
The Ex: Relationships just happen or they don’t.
Friend: That’s ridiculous. You have to work on them.
I told him that what he said was a put-down, and negation of the other person’s feelings and beliefs. When he said “That’s ridiculous,” what is between the lines is: your belief is ridiculous. Instead, I offered him this, “Okay, I believe that relationships must be worked on, and problems ironed out.” This statement is much more neutral (and probably not perfect). The word “okay” is acknowledging what the other person said as a valid feeling, and offers the speaker’s feelings of disagreeing by offering his own point of view.
I’m all for neutral and positive statements. When used in communication, the other party is more likely to respond in a neutral or positive manner. Now, that doesn’t mean neutral statements happen all the time during arguments, but as I have to put out flames all the time, I must say that how we use language is important.
I learned a few months ago the power of a positive statement (which doesn’t imply an optimistic one). For example:
Negative statement: I do not want someone who eats crap food all the time and never works out.
Positive statement: I want someone with a healthy lifestyle.
The first is a negation, a separation. The second is inclusive and a statement of what one is looking for as applied to dating. When reading or hearing a negative statement, often the “not” become invisible and the opposite becomes what is found. With a positive statement, what is desired is found. I’ve been working on incorporating this into my life and into my writing. It makes a difference!
How do you communicate? Would you react positively to neutral or positive statements?
P.S. I have a new class posted on my website www.kandrewturner.com/courses for preparing to write a novel in 30 days. Also check out my regular website at www.kandrewturner.com. Remember to “like” my author page and follow me on twitter @kandrewturner (see the right hand of this page).