Communication Tips #1 Use “I” Instead Of “You”

If You Want To Have An Argument

Or greatly increase your chances of having one, start your sentence off with the word “YOU”! OR you can use these communication tips!

RyanMcGuire / Pixabay

 But if you insist on still using “You”… This can be a problem…  Why you might ask?

Well for starters, feel what it is like when someone starts off a sentence with the word “You”.

You forgot to take out the garbage.

Do we not feel somewhat mildly under attack and off balance, and possibly feel an urge to defend ourselves?

I was busy…. I’ll do it later…. Can’t you give me credit for the things that I do do?

Generally when someone starts a conversation with us by starting off

Guard up
Nemo / Pixabay

with the word “you”, I think that most of us tend to get our guard up.

This tends to lead to a more defensive and less responsive atmosphere in the person receiving our message. They are likely  to feel ready to defend themselves and not feel safe.

Do Something Different

If we want different results, perhaps it might be best if “we” tried or did something different!

How often do we feel frustrated because we are not getting the desired results from our partner, when all along we are continuing to do the exact same thing over and over again?

Get Their Attention First: Is It A Good Time?

Next time you have something to say to your partner or somebody important in your life, try to first get their attention. See if it is a good time to talk to them. 

Most of us get this when considering asking our boss for a raise. If the

DT / Pixabay

boss seems preoccupied or in a bad mood, we generally decide to forego our “asking for a raise” discussion. But a lot of times, not so well with our partner. We often don’t see if it is a good time, or if they are in a good space to hear us. And then we launch obliviously into our “pressing” issue and wonder why we are not well received.

Starting With “I”

Now that we have their attention  (ie: they are not in the middle of their favourite show, dyeing their hair, pulling apart the transmission, performing open heart surgery)

This is a good time to start.

Try starting your sentence off with an “I” instead of a “you”.

Your partner or the person you are communicating with, will hopefully get the feeling that it is something that you are sharing with them that comes from within you. 

Examples of how to start might be as follows:

  • I feel
  • I think
  • I would like to
  • I am concerned about
  • I need to talk to you about something that is bothering me
  • I am really upset about

Each of these examples are providing “information” about how we are feeling, thinking, responding, reacting to a certain situation. The important point is that it is

Coming from within us, and it is something we wish to share with someone. It is not the universal truth of the matter. It is our opinion, our perspective that we are needing to share with this person and would like to discuss it with them.

What To Hope For

A possible good result here, might be that the person you are speaking with:

  • listens to you
  • they are open and receptive
  • non-defensive
  • perceive that it is your opinion that you are sharing
  • they realize that you are needing to share this with them and it is important to you
  • they want to cooperate with you and do what they can to try and help you

What you might get out of the discussion:

  • you may feel heard

    Happy face
    PublicDomainPictures / Pixabay
  • you may feel respected
  • that what you have to say is important to the other person
  • you may feel valued or cherished (romantic relationship)
  • you may feel relieved as the other person listens and offers their help and support
  • you may feel an enhanced sense of connection and bond with this person
  • and you may find yourself wanting to listen and help them out when they are having difficulties
  • AND you may feel less stressed, frustrated and quite possibly a sense of happiness and peace

OR we can continue to do the same things (ie: use “you”), feel frustrated, stressed, aggravated, at our wits end, and continue to wonder why our partner, or the people around us, never respond to us the way we would like them to!

The question is:   Is What You Are Doing Now Giving You The Results You Want?

The more important question might be:  

Who Do We Think Is More Likely To Change First?  

And Who Do We Have Power Over?

Us or Them?

I wish you good luck, but most of all, I wish you different, better and improved results, for your deciding to take a chance and trying something different!

Hope that you find these communication tips helpful to you. Go out and “road test” them, and leave me a comment on how they worked. Feel free to also subscribe to my newsletter, and / or come back again for more communication tips. I hope to make this an ongoing series.

If you are liking these communication tips, I’ve got good news, there’s more, just click here to go on to Communication Tip #2!






Why COOPERATION Could Be MORE Important Than LOVE!

Cooperation: More Important Than Love?

Could cooperation, be the highest attainment that a couple could strive for in a romantic relationship?

Cooperation, Couple, love
takazart / Pixabay

In fact, love is often considered almost a synonym for relationship! And I too thought that to attain the state of love was the highest attainment in a couple.

I had never considered the ultimate importance of cooperation.

That is …. until I read Ken Keyes Jr’s A Conscious Person’s Guide To Relationships. 

What New Could Keyes Possibly Add?

In this book, Keyes suggests that we ought to have lots of love for lots of people. That ideally we would be coming from a place of love in our interactions with people and the world.

I know, kind of sounded “Hippie-ish” to me too. But then again, if being “Hippie-ish”

Heart, Hippie, Love
OpenClips / Pixabay

means favouring “love” over say “power”, or “control”, or “hate”, then I’d rather count myself amongst the Hippies.

But given my propensity to wear sandals once or twice a year, this probably won’t happen!

Cooperation Greater Than Love?

Keyes talks about “the lift I get by looking at my relationship as a way of cooperating in the great adventure of life. It sets up an energy of fun and enjoyment.”

Fun and enjoyment ?! 

Hey! Just a second there Mr. Keyes! What are you talking about there? That one can be in relationship, love your partner AND the world, AND have fun and enjoyment!!!

Keyes goes on to suggest that in relationships, cooperation is a better basis then love!

He is not saying that love is not important.

He is saying that it may be better if one is coming from a position of love in general, and that one considers “cooperation” as the basis for the foundation of a relationship.

I was struck by the notion that anything could be considered higher than love! But when I sat down and thought about it. A lot of people seem to profess that they love each other, but don’t seem to be able to stand each other!

There seem to be an awful lot of people who “love” each other, but can’t seem to get along with each other to save their lives, much less be happy together!

But I may be assuming a lot to suggest that the purpose of people coming together in relationships is to be happy! Many seem to be terrified of being alone, or don’t think that they can do well for themselves in love, so they settle, or so it seems.

When Cooperation Is Of Importance

But when couples put a desire to cooperate with each other as a priority: then this is where the magic happens!

I believe that when one wants to succeed, and wants to find a way, then the magic of cooperation is unleashed.

OpenClips / Pixabay


  • when one wants to cooperate
  • when one wants to find a way that works for both partners
  • when one decides to place happiness above being self-centered
  • when one considers the happiness of their partner to be of higher value than winning
  • when one can see the value of and benefit of two people’s perspective vs. one

Would You Be Willing To?

 While pondering Keyes’ perspective on cooperation, it suddenly hit me one day, and it was like a thunderbolt out of the sky!

The only reason that anybody ever really does anything is because they want to

We may kid ourselves and say that they have to do it, or think that we can force somebody to do something. But the reality I think is, that anything that our beautiful partners ever do for us is  because they want to. Think about it:  If you didn’t want to do something, would anybody be able to force you to do it? Consider that the next time your partner is going out of their way to spend some of their precious time or energy doing something for you.

And then we may feel a deep sense of gratitude…. but that is another topic!

Big Thanks
geralt / Pixabay


But for now, just know that your partner has decided to cooperate with you. And why not cooperate with them?

You may be surprised what you get back!

If you found this post helpful, please pass it along to somebody that you think might be able to benefit from it.





Why Preferences Are ALWAYS Better Than Demands!

Preferences Are More Fluid

Yes, here at long last is the promised article on preferences! Here goes!

PublicDomainPictures / Pixabay

The benefits of going through life with preferences instead of demands
is that they are more fluid. What do I mean by that?

Well, when you have a demand, there is usually only ONE specific set of
circumstances that will satisfy you or stave off catastrophe. It can make it very difficult if not impossible to be happy in an ever changing world in which we often have little or no control.  Yikes!

Let me give you an example, and then perhaps you will see what I mean

The Example

Suppose you had a big win at work and decided that you wanted to go out

PublicDomainPictures / Pixabay

to celebrate with your partner to you favourite restaurant and order your
favourite meal: Chicken!    ( This is my example after all :)  )

Friday gets here finally! You get to the restaurant with your partner, and you are all settled in and ready to order. The waiter comes over and asks you for your order, and all happy and ready to celebrate you announce:

I’ll have the roast chicken please”

The waiter then says to you, “I’m sorry Sir, but we seem to have run out of the roast chicken earlier”

S I L E N C E !!!

“What do you mean you don’t have any chicken???  I’ve been looking forward to coming here to celebrate and having some roast chicken ALL week!!!”

PublicDomainPictures / Pixabay

The waiter is stunned and taken aback by your angry outburst ( insert demand) and attempts to apologize. Your partner, who previously was in good spirits may now be mortified. People around you may have stopped to see what the commotion is at that other table.

What was once a planned celebration, has now turned very tense and threatens to
ruin the entire evening, if not get you kicked out of the restaurant if you keep
making a scene!

But one thing is certain. You are not going to get any chicken. Not here anyway, because there is none! And screaming and “demanding“, that someone produce chicken out of thin air because in your dream celebratory dinner, you see yourself
feasting on chicken is not going to make it happen. Not here!

The Solution

There is one, actually two that I can think of.

problem solution
geralt / Pixabay

Suppose we replay the scenario, and get to the place where the waiter innocently announces that there is no more roast chicken left.

We may then respond with one of two alternate responses:

Option #1

We consult our partner, then advise the waiter that we were really looking
forward to having roast chicken, so unfortunately we are going to leave and
go to another restaurant in the hope that they may have roast chicken.

This time it is the waiter who is apologetic, and apologizes profusely and hopes that we will be back again.

OpenClips / Pixabay

We graciously say that we understand, that these things can happen, and the waiter accompanies us to the door all the while apologizing and looking forward to our return, and ends by wishing us a good night. He may even offer us a coupon to be used on our next visit!

Option #2

The waiter informs us that there is no more roast chicken.

We pause for a moment and feel sad. We may look at our partner and say
“jeez! I was really looking forward to celebrating with some roast chicken”.
Our partner may frown and share our sadness, and touch us on the shoulder
as a way of offering support. They may even offer to cook us up some roast
chicken for dinner tomorrow night to make up for it!

You may start to feel better. You may turn to the waiter and raise your eyebrows, let out a sigh and say “Gee! I was really looking forward to your roast chicken!

It’s my favourite!”

The waiter may share a moment with you and frown along with you, offer another apology perhaps. Perhaps then you feel that you’ve had your moment, and then you may have a breakthrough moment and announce:

I was really looking forward to the roast chicken, and would have preferred to have it.


winner #1
OpenClips / Pixabay

But maybe this is an opportunity to try out the vegetarian lasagna that my wife has been
raving about!


 Okay, a die-hard meat-eater suddenly going vegetarian may be a stretch!

But opting for a preference and saving the night’s celebration, instead of sticking with a
rigid demand and spoiling it, is very doable!

The Takeaway

When dealing with uncertain situations, like the world we live in. One might want to consider having preferences in order to  be able to flow more freely and fluidly with life.

It’s like always having a backup plan. The more options we create for ourselves to be happy, the greater are the chances that the Universe will deliver.

smiley happy face
PublicDomainPictures / Pixabay



Why Making Comparisons Can Make You Miserable!

Comparisons: A Formula For Feeling Miserable?

Tumisu / Pixabay

If you want to feel miserable, then I would recommend that you “compare” yourself to somebody or something!

Why would I want to do that?

You probably do already, and would claim that you don’t!

BUT …. if we pay close attention to our thoughts, we probably do IT all the time!


Without even realizing it!

The Origins Of Comparison (One of Them)

It goes deep. It is engraved in us from our early childhood.

Remember back in school, when the teacher put a list on the board
of all the students grades?!

There were those at the top who had gold stars …. those in the middle,
and those at the bottom!

Innocent right?   Just an opportunity to “improve” oneself and get that
coveted “Gold Star”!

Gold Stars
OpenClipartVectors / Pixabay


Modern Life: A Search  For Gold Stars

Life sometimes feels like that. A never-ending chase after the “gold stars” that society seems to put on our path.

And oh what measures and what lengths we go to to get them!

One need only look at the so called Hollywood “stars” to see the dramatic extents that some will go to, and push themselves to gain and retain glory!


But what has that got to do with “comparing” one might say?

Success Is Relative

And comparison is the benchmark that we use to measure our success.

Success ….. glory ….. fame …… money ……. looks !!!

These things are not so bad to quest after in themselves, but often come as
a result of comparing oneself to others.

The problems with comparing ourselves to others for our success are:

  • It denies us our original and unique birthright and sense of self
  • There are few winners and far too many people coming up short
  • The risk is one starts to lose one’s way and path by comparing oneself to others

And I can’t help but think of how bad it must have felt for all those school kids at the bottom of those “gold star” lists!

How many of these children began their path to low self-esteem, poor self-image, depression and self-hatred, all because some teacher thought it would be a good idea to help “motivate” students to improve by “giving” them an opportunity to get “gold stars!”

Sad child
Sad child

What’s wrong with Gold Stars???   Who wouldn’t want one???

Gold stars ought to be like gum … if you’re going to chew it …. have some for everyone!

 Comparisons: The True Problem!

The true problem with comparison is that it stops you from making
your one TRUE unique contribution to the world!

Because if you stop and “compare” yourself to someone: you will
likely find someone who is:

  • smarter
  • funnier
  • taller
  • prettier / more handsome
  • stronger
  • even kinder!

It never ends!!!!

Think …. The Eagles ……. There’s A New Kid In Town!

What To Do Instead?

  • Own your uniqueness
  • There’s no one like you and never will be!
  • Your contribution is needed
  • Show up!
  • Share the “GOLD” that is “INSIDE” of you!
  • Shine like the “STAR” that you ARE!

There is a reason we are ALL different!

Shine your unique and special light on the world.

And together we can end the darkness by ALL shining bright together!


Big Thanks
geralt / Pixabay




Why I wrote This!

I was going to write an article about another topic, and I decided to
take a look on the net, to see what had been written on the subject.

I ended up totally psyching myself out by “comparing” what I thought
I was going to write with what was out there already!

I thought, what further do “I” have to contribute to this topic?

So and so did a great job on the topic! What more could I say???

The result was that I got stuck, paralyzed for several days and ended up
missing my blog deadline as a result!

It was a good reminder to me of what can happen when one compares
oneself to any one or any thing!


I hope that my brush with “comparing” is of use to someone out there
and helps you to shine “your” light onto the world!

Shine on!





How To Reduce Stress AND Live In The World!


Why We Get Stressed

RyanMcGuire / Pixabay

This is not going to be your typical article on how to reduce stress. If you are hoping to find information on the top 10 or 23 ways to cut down on your stress levels, then this won’t be the article for you. Save yourself some time and go here now.

BUT if you are wanting to dig deeper, and get to the possible underlying causes for some of your stress that you may not even be aware of, then read on!

I am going to probe deeper and go further!

Not focusing on HOW to deal with stress, but WHY we get stressed!

The AIM is to DEFUSE the sources of stress so you won’t be stressed in the first place!

Demands = Stress!

Unwittingly, every day, most of us go through life not realizing the unconscious demands that we place upon ourselves, the people around us, and the world. It may be something as simple as expecting that the local pizza place will make good on it’s “promise” to deliver our

Fast pizza promise
Fast pizza promise

pizza in “30 minutes or it’s free!”

Now this may seem like a silly example to start with. But how often do we find ourselves getting upset, frustrated, or even angry because we “believed” somebody’s promise to us


A promise we probably shouldn’t have believed in the first place!

And we turn that promise into a DEMAND of how we EXPECT the world to work!

If we stop to think about it.  Does the local pizza place have control over traffic patterns, possible accidents, and the weather just to name a few key elements, that would be necessary to deliver on this “promise” every single time?

I have an idea what you might be thinking at this time …..

I don’t really believe that I can get my pizza in a half hour every time, but there is a chance that I could get a free pizza out of it!

Demands Sneak Up On Us!

The possibility of a free pizza would be great once in awhile! But the problem is: don’t we find ourselves getting impatient and “STRESSED” when we find out that we may NOT get our pizza within the “promised” time?

It kind of creeps up on us doesn’t it? We know we shouldn’t believe or take in the promise of a pizza ALL the time within a half hour, but right now we are hungry! And we “want”, no we “DEMAND” that they live up to their promise! And there you have it …. a very significant


source of STRESS in our lives: DEMANDS!

Demands creep into our lives in many different ways and under many different contexts. There may be very little difference between a DEMAND and an EXPECTATION.

Buddhists might say: If you want to know if you have any expectations, then notice if you are feeling frustrated, and there you will find them!

Anger is nothing more than an outward expression of hurt, fear and frustration. Dr.Phil

And as Dr. Phil so eloquently points out in the quote above, the problem with frustration is that it leads to anger! And one could easily say that when one is feeling “angry”, then one is most certainly feeling “stressed”.


The Connection

It is as if this chain of causality, and of how things “should” be, start to gather steam inside of us. So instead of merely picking up the phone and ordering a pizza and saving ourselves the time and energy of needing to make supper for the family. Instead we end up with a load of frustration, irritation and possibly anger that ends up ruining our dinner and possibly our night.

Just because we let ourselves be seduced into a promise of a pizza in 30 minutes or it was free!

And we took that promise and turned it into a demand!

Anger Management
Anger Management

An Alternative

What if we just ordered the pizza and we got it when we got it?
And if we didn’t get it within a reasonable time, then we wouldn’t order from them again?

WHAT?  No getting flustered?   No getting stressed? No being worried or consumed if we don’t get our pizza in the promised time? No balling someone out because they didn’t live up to a promise they made to us???

I’m not sure I can live in that type of world you say!

You mean:  A world with less stress?

Is your losing your cool at them, and yelling at them in front of your wife and family going to make anyone feel good, including you?

You seem uncertain for a bit…..

Well…. Are you saying to just let things happen and not to have any expectations whatsoever?

No! I am suggesting that we live in the world as it is.
Learn how things “really” work. And not allow ourselves to lose our precious peace of mind just because somebody made a promise they didn’t have a hope in hell of keeping, just so they could get our business over some other pizza place!

Wouldn’t that make for a better night?

Well, yeah, I guess…. so how do I do it?

Watch your mind. See how it moves and makes connections. See how it forms expectations and then converts them to demands. And then becomes Judge, Jury, and Executioner if those demands are not met!

Okay, it’s worth a try you say. So when should I expect to get my pizza then?

Please come this way.  This is a drawing board.  Yes, I know we’ve been here before. Many times!

How To Know We Are Making Demands?

Basically when you notice that you are starting to feel tense and stressed, and thinking that things “should” be other then they are, that is when you are likely making demands. Any time we are feeling that life, or anybody “should” be other then they are, then we are not flowing with what is, and more importantly, we are at risk of not adapting to what is.

Seeing the connection between our making demands and feeling stressed, is for more then when we periodically order pizza!!!

This approach will hopefully help you in your everyday interactions with your spouse or loved ones, family, friends, co-workers, the people we interact with in the outside world and ourselves.

So in a nutshell, when can we use this?


Here it is…… The following seemingly innocent words often lay behind our deepest and most troubling DEMANDS that we make in life:





Have To


ALL of these words are rigid and inflexible and will likely cause resistance and stress in our daily interactions. Don’t take my word for it!   Try each one out, and see how inflexible, how tense and how stressed you feel while using them! Ultimately, there is a “true” alternative to making and creating DEMANDS in our lives. The answer to making demands in our lives is to opt for having PREFERENCES! I will post an article about the benefits of having preferences over demands in our lives in the near future. Check back later.


If you want to reduce stress in your life, then start looking for the places where you have allowed stressful “demands” to creep into your thoughts and worlds.

Alexas_Fotos / Pixabay


Ask yourself….. Is this something that I am demanding, or preferring?

smiley happy face
Smiley face



And then you may find yourself to not only better deal with stress, but able to significantly reduce stress in your life!

Let me know what you thought of this article, and please feel free to suggest topics that are of interest to you!

Ron :)

Anger Management: THE Word That Sets You Off!

Anger Management

The Fuse!

Is 1/4 of a second long!  

Anger Management

That may be the difference between maintaining your cool and totally losing it!

Research reported on by Daniel Goleman in his landmark book Emotional Intelligence found that it could take as little as 1/4 of a second for the amygdala to trigger a full blown anger response.

This adds credence to this whole business about when you are angry to count to 10! To put it in perspective. If you felt that you were about to lose your cool and have a total meltdown, then counting to 10 would be the equivalent of 40 Times the amount of time needed to lose it!

 The Tragedy

The sad part about being unable to practice proper anger management, is
that on a daily basis people are ruining their relationships and careers by
being unable to keep it together. A hard won promotion or a loving long term
relationship, may come to a screeching and tragic end by ONE moment of being
unable to effectively deal with anger.

One may find out in a moment of horrendous discovery that saying “sorry” is
not going to mend the heart of a loved one this time. That they are tired of
being hurt over and over, and can’t face living life with a person who seems
more like a ticking time bomb then a loving life partner. And your boss may
decide that your total meltdowns are no longer worth the price of mopup

You don’t have to go down this path and be this person!

 Feeling Anger Is Normal

Anger is an emotion just like all of the rest of them!

One of the great tragedies that a lot of us have experienced growing up
is to be taught to ignore or deny our anger.

So instead of learning how to deal with anger, something that occurs in most
of our lives, we are left to our own devices and try to deal with it and bottle
it up until it often explodes!

Sadly we learn more about grammar and geography then we do about how
to deal with anger growing up. And no wonder we experience chaotic results
in our lives and relationships. The point though is not to blame one’s parents.
They more then likely taught us what they received.

 Time For A New Look On Anger

My view on anger, and all of the other emotions, is that the emotions serve

Running on empty
Running on empty

to let us know what is going on inside of us, much like the gauges on our car dashboards tell us about the status of our vehicle. Anger just like all of the other emotions let us know when something needs our attention.



The key is to recognize the emotion and to know HOW to express it effectively!
Recognizing that one is angry, and being able to express it before it gets out of hand, helps us to use our emotions as GUIDES in our daily lives. One might even go so far as to expect that anger will crop up in our lives at some point and then to make a plan to better deal with it is perhaps a better plan in the long run then to deny it and hope that it never comes around again.

It’s kind of like in-laws!  They exist and will likely visit us from time to time. Much better to plan for it and get along with them, and in the case of anger, with ourself and others!


As promised, here it is, THE WORD that I see most often related to people who have serious anger issues!


Are you wondering what it could be ???

The word is:   S H O U L D !!! 

Most clients with deeply ingrained anger management issues often use the word “should” repeatedly. What often comes as a surprise to them is that they are not even aware of how often they are saying it, or even thinking it! The other word that is often spoken or thought of is “shouldn’t“.

The Problem With “Shoulds”

Is that “shoulds” or “shouldn’ts” keep us detached from reality!
And when we are detached from reality we are often not able to deal
with it, much less cope with it.

What do I mean by detached from reality?

Let’s say you are a counsellor and happen to get a parking ticket.
Might as well go with a real life example here …..
Telling oneself that one “shouldn’t” have gotten a parking ticket, and
that the parking signs on this street “should” be more clearly indicated
does not help one deal with the situation.

The reality is:  I was in a hurry and failed to pay attention. I assumed the
parking limit was 2 hours instead of the “actual” 1 hour written on the sign!
What “should” be in my world of parking regulations is not going to help
me deal with this ticket, and will certainly not help me to prevent myself
from getting another ticket in the future.

What will help, is ACCEPTING the reality of the situation, and not CREATING
one of my own. Also acknowledging my feelings and finding a way to deal
with them constructively. Yes I was upset about the whole situation, but
I didn’t let it build to full on anger. I can also tell you, that I look a LOT closer
now for parking signs!!!

The Takeaway

I would suggest that we consider the utility to ourselves, and to others in our life,
of demanding that the world work the way we think it ought to ( ie: should).
The world IS. If we don’t like it, perhaps we can find a way to change it. But
until then, it might be better to go with “reality” and deal with it as it is, and
then change it.

BTW ….. Should and shouldn’ts have related cousins. You may also want to
watch out for the following words that are also very rigid and inflexible: must,
have to, never, and always to name a few.

I hope that you found the above article useful to you in your daily life. The
proof is in the pudding I would say. Try it out and observe what you are
saying and thinking and you just may find yourself very surprised at the
number of “shoulds” that creep in!

I welcome any comments or feedback that you may have, as well as possible
article suggestions for the future.



Communication 101: Part 2

What Can Computers Teach Humans About Communication?

Communication in a perfect world might look something like this:

Humans might take it upon themselves, to borrow from the information transmission system employed by computers. Imagine that the example below mimics the process that two computers would go through to exchange ONE piece of information!

  • Person A feels a need to communicate something to Person B
  • Person A encodes his thoughts, emotions and impulses into words that they think Person B is likely to understand
  • Person A opens up a channel of communication with Person B by getting their attention, and checking in to see if they are receptive to receiving A’s message.
  • Person A then speaks his words sending them in the direction of Person B.
  • Person B is attentive and tuned into Person A, wishing and wanting to receive A’s message as best as they are able to. Person B may also block out any unwanted sensory information so as to be able to better receive A’s message.
  • Person B receives (hears) every word and non-verbal signal and interprets their meaning exactly the way A wishes them to be understood.
  • Person B makes a concise and relevant summary of what he received (heard) and interpreted from Person A and repeats it for confirmation.
  • Person A responds and validates that the information received is exactly what had been transmitted, and was interpreted exactly as A had wished.
  • There is a pause, Person A is deciding whether to transmit more information while observing whether Person B is about to speak or is in listening mode.

Possible Theoretical Exchange
(Husband To Wife)

– I want to tell her that I’m hungry……
– “Excuse me, but I have something that I would like to share with you”
– “I’m hungry!”  (including raised tone of voice and arms waving in air)

– The other turns their full attention to the first person. Other turns off TV
and asks children to be quiet as their father is making a major pronouncement.
– The other believes that they have heard the first person say “I’m hungry” and
has also recorded an elevated tone of voice and gesticulations with arms.

– The other then summarizes what they heard and speaks it back to him ensuring
that she has his attention. “I heard you say that you are hungry! Is that correct?”
(Please note addition of exclamation mark to denote that the urgency or
importance of the message was properly received with emotional signals
registered as well as the accompanying non-verbal gestures to add emphasis)

– The first person then replies back, while possibly smiling, “yes that is exactly what I said!”(Please note additional exclamation mark indicating first person’s pleasure at having had
his message successfully received)

– There is a pause while the second person attempts to figure out why the first person is
informing them of their hungered state. Second person may begin to wonder whether
the first person is incapable or knowing what to do to address said state. Or they may even assume that the first person is informing them of their hungered state so that they may

remedy the situation for them.

Second goes through many possible interpretations and reasons for why the first might have provided this information at this exact time during their favourite television program. Second person checks in with their emotional guidance system and finds the subroutine for annoyance running. Second person overrides helpfulness routine in favour or annoyance subroutine and replies.

– “Do I look like your mother? You know where the fridge is! I’m in the middle of my
favourite show here!”

– First person terminates wishing- to- share- a- part- of- myself- with- my- beloved routine
and begins to choose among the following candidates: frustration, self-righteousness,
anger as well as guilting subroutines.

–  Dinner is served much later to the sound of accompanying silence.

 The Alternative

Hopefully your interactions aren’t like this fictitious one! But the point is that there
is a LOT to sharing a piece of ourselves with our partners in the hope of being well
received. Transmitting our messages accurately, and in a manner that they will be
well received and not falsely interpreted can be at times nerve-wracking when stress is high and many things consume us in our daily lives.

This is a very small snippet of communication, much less a “conversation”. Although because of possible lack of awareness of message receptivity levels amongst many other factors, what could have been a conversation stopped with a screeching halt. The example is small and insignificant and largely unlikely in most home discussions, however I believe that the utility of it goes to show a small slice of the possible iceberg that may be underlying our conversations on a day to day basis.

Assess for message receptivity before starting off. Not just a willingness to listen, but draw upon past experiences and interactions and knowledge of our partners to determine an approach that has a greater likelihood of success for both parties.

“Honey, I know you’re deep into your program, but would you let me take you out to that new Italian place that you’ve been wanting to try?”

TV is turned off. Wife grabs coat and is waiting for husband to get going by the door.

For more articles on Communication, click here for Communication Tip #1!

Communication 101: When A Tree Isn’t What It Seems!?

Is Poor Communication A Problem?

Butting heads

On some level, a long term relationship can be equated to one very long conversation between two people. Communication is of the essence. One goes into relationship hoping for the best, but all too often the “conversation” that we experience is fraught with static and disconnection.

What happens to our good intentions? Why is it so hard to be understood and to understand our partners on an ongoing and consistent basis? Why is it instead of creating a beautiful harmonious “conversation”, our relationships sometimes look more like some broken down game of telephone that we used to play as kids?

There are probably a lot of reasons, too many to number here, but one of them might be in front of our mutual noses. A Marketing professor once told our class something that has stayed with me. He said “Perception is all!

Three words that someone might gloss over quickly. But I believe they lie at the heart of our disconnecting, and can lead to so much unnecessary pain and suffering if not properly understood. Combine this with our sometimes unconscious desire to try and prove that we are “right”, and that God help our loving partners but they are “wrong”, and we set in motion the beginnings of a tidal wave of misunderstandings, judgments,  and frustrating arguments. And we ourselves may be dismayed at how our partners could be anything but grateful for our attempts to enlighten them and show them the error of their ways!

{ Insert sound of balloon popping here ………. }

Instead what usually happens is an argument, and a distancing while each partner argues their case. What a moment ago was a loving relationship, now seems like a court of law, if not a battlefield with both parties taking no prisoners!

There is another way!

And it involves making a shift towards sharing perceptions with each other instead of trying to prove what’s right or wrong. I remember a scientist commenting on how difficult it is to prove the “absolute” proof of something. And I suspect that the great majority of us are not anywhere near up to the task of proving absolute truth. A little humility may end up serving us all well in the end.

“But I’m right!  I know I’m right!”   Shall we continue?

We come to our relationships each with our own set of beliefs, values and experiences that colour how we see, think and feel. How else could two sane intelligent people argue in favour of a glass being half “full” of water, while their beloved argues that the same glass is really half “empty”. All of our combined experiences have led us to reach our individual perceptions and conclusions on the status of the glass of water. The glass in itself just is. But as Shakespeare said so well many years ago, “There is nothing either good or bad, but  thinking makes it so“.

Now this is where I think that differences in perception, cause all kinds of problems and misunderstandings in relationships.

The Experiment!

Here is a fun and quick little experiment that you can try out with your partner.

Ask them is they would be willing to play a game with you. Then say that you would like both of you to imagine a “tree” in your mind. Also tell them to keep the type of tree and it’s characteristics secret until you are ready.

Once you both have a “tree” in your mind, then take turns telling each other what type of “tree” that you imagined. If you both name the same type of “tree” ( and this will be very unlikely from my experience ), then ask questions about the characteristics of each other’s “tree”. (e.g. how tall is it?  does it have leaves? what colour are they?).

The Results And What Does It Mean?

The chances are great that from the beginning both of you will likely be thinking of a totally different type of “tree”!

Now why is this important???

Because each day in conversation we use 100’s and 1,000’s of words with each other and presume that we are not only on the same page, but that we are thinking and imagining the same thing! Now most of us would not be overly concerned about a discrepancy in the type of tree that our partner was referring to ….. unless of course it were the one where they had buried the lottery winnings under!

Relevance To Everyday Life And Our Dreams / Visions

Sending and receiving image of tree

However we use words together that are a LOT more complicated than “tree”! We use words like “Love”, “Honesty”, “Trust”, “Commitment” which are many times more complicated and likely to have us thinking different things than our partner is thinking.

Instead of defending our views as the “truth”, imagine what things could be like if you could allow that you were both coming from your “own individual perspectives“!


Might we then adopt a perspective of curiosity and inquiry, as we seek to understand where our partner is coming from, instead of trying to prove each other wrong or ourselves right?

What does your “Tree” look like?

 To read Part 2 of this article on Communication 101, click here!