April 25, 2015

Best Reasons for Compassion When Communicating

I wrote a post the other day on the importance of not making assumptions. Many people agreed with my theme. It’s true we should gather all pertinent information before we take any action, or make any comment. Some friends pointed out the necessity to ask questions when we’re confused. This is a suitable option, but it’s not always easy.

Negative Reactions to Questions

I propose some individuals do not make gathering facts simple. They make the confused person uncomfortable by their reactions:

Getting angry


Criticizing the individual’s viewpoint

Diminishing the speaker’s mental capacity

I mention in my book, Accept No Trash Talk: Overcoming the Odds, several uncharitable supervisors. I didn’t feel comfortable asking these ladies for more information because they spoke only negatively. The more they downgraded me, the more poorly I performed my duties. Such ineptitude caused them to censure me even more, which continued the vicious cycle. Eventually, unsurprisingly, I was terminated from these positions.

Looking back years later, perhaps the trauma could have been minimized by complete honesty and kindness from the beginning. On the other hand, that may have been difficult. I was too intimidated to be honest, and my bosses weren’t sympathetic enough to give me a forum for frankness.

What is the Solution?

To facilitate a nurturing flow of dialogue, people should be open and caring. In that manner, puzzled people will feel free to ask for clarification. If individuals don’t feel their queries will be accepted, they aren’t going to bother asking. 

My Conclusion

Patience and understanding benefit both speakers and listeners. It’s not fair to look down on people who don’t understand what we say the first time. Our listeners may have a sound reason for not comprehending our meaning. In turn, we might require patience from some people when we feel unsure of certain motivations. The two-way flow of information should be unrestricted and nonjudgmental. That’s the ideal.

Do people feel secure asking you questions?

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