A couple friends shared a graphic in Facebook groups about communication within families.
I ignored it initially, simply uninspired.
But then, my friend Pamela Price (of Red, White and Grew) tagged me in the discussion about the graphic and later noted “I’d love to see a post on how to create an authentic framework tailored to one’s child. I like to think that parents are capable of being empowered to customize speech for their kids.”
Well, I can’t ignore a comment like that!
The graphic, published by TEACH through Love, shows two columns of sentence possibilities called “disconnecting” and “connecting.”
I agree that the list in the left column is unacceptable. And I agree that the list in the right column is… better. However, there’s a lot more that can be done here when it comes to empathic and effective communication.
For me, it’s not about the search for the perfect words, because you can’t guarantee what will be connecting and what won’t. I’m pretty sensitive, and would likely be triggered and upset by a lot of what is intended to be connecting in this chart.
For example, the supposedly connecting words, “I’ve noticed you’re having more and more trouble controlling your reactions”, to my sensitivity, sounds more like judgment than observation.
What would a video camera capture? That is observation.
Moreover, statements like “What’s gotten into you lately?” and “You don’t seem like yourself” both have implied judgments and can contribute to connection or disconnection, depending on the quality of the relationship and the stance and intention of the speaker.
Since people often like (and share) concrete examples found in charts, I extended what I saw to include some additional possibilities in the far right column.
It’s good to have a lot of moves available in the dance of effective communication.
As Pamela noted, “It’s the difference between fast food and a really fine, carefully prepared and nutritious meal. Yeah, you might survive on the first, but you also might feel zapped.”
I love communication with authentic zings that doesn’t zap. I have heard that there are many of these two-column type tables out there, and I want to help people improvise on their feet instead of writing a bunch of third-columns.
And in the comments below, I’d love to hear what you think about my additions to the chart.