By Tequila Cheatham McCray
Have you ever tried to express yourself to someone, only to feel like you made a mistake and would have been better off keeping it inside? Or, maybe, you are the one who responds to others in a way that makes it hard for people to open up to you. Either way, there is a problem with communication.
Communication is a special art form that society is losing because there is a lack of consideration for the other person. A vital part of communication is listening, and the other is responding. Most of the time people listen simply to respond, and not for the sake of being attentive and understanding. Let’s change that. Here are four simple ways to respond to someone else’s news…
- Be sympathetic. Do not only show your condolence when someone dies or ill, Give them flowers while they are still alive by using phrases such as “I’m sorry that happened to you. Is there anything I can do to help?” This simple phrase lets the other person know that you care, and sometimes, that’s all s/he needs to hear.
- Be empathetic. This is different from being sympathetic. Having empathy means you can identify with what that person feels or is experiencing. You’re simply letting that person know s/he is not alone by using statements such as “I can relate,” “I understand,” and/or, “I hear you.” This planet is filled with close to seven billion people. There is no reason anyone should feel alone.
- Shock. Sometimes, you may be thrown off by some news. That is perfectly normal. You may find yourself saying things such as, “What” “Are you serious” “Really” or even the popular acronym “WTF!” If your initial response is surprise, be sure to follow up with words of empathy and/or sympathy.
- Indifference. Unfortunately, this is the most common way that people respond to each other nowadays. Giving a careless response such as “Suck it up,” Get over it,” “Who cares” “Shut up” or simply just avoid the conversation to talk about oneself, is not constructive communication. As a matter of fact, if you become angry or frustrated when someone expresses his/her thoughts, you are destroying your relationship with that person by shutting down their emotions.
Communication requires a certain level of emotional intelligence and effort. You may not know how to effectively respond to someone’s news simply because you’re used to replying with the same reaction. It is time to be more creative. Instead of reacting right away, take a moment to really digest what is being said, be thoughtful. Master communication and you will notice an improvement in the quality of the relationships around you. Even on social media platforms, you can still be mindful to others even when you disagree. Help change the world one conversation at a time.