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Old 06-20-2010, 08:31 AM   #21
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I was listening to a podcast about add/adhd the other day, and the hosts were talking about social/communication problems we have. I know I can't be the only affected member, so I thought I would go ahead and post them here.

We aren't always aware when we are communicating too much or too little. We can make ourselves a pest when we are communicating too much. We can hurt people's feelings by forgetting about them for long periods of time. Time is experienced very differently for many of us, and we tend to get entirely involved in the thing that is right in front of us. We can have poor impulse control. We forget to close loops in conversation - so we often don't complete a conversation the same way others might. We have trouble categorizing or differentiating "important" details from minutia. We have a lot of trouble with follow-up and follow-through. Our minds don't stay on topic, and we may often veer or pingpong from one topic to another. A third of us display some OCD tendencies, and many of us struggle with depression, anxiety or are bipolar. We can be very inattentive listeners and readers. I myself am a very slow reader and often I will impulsively respond to something half-way through reading it.

We are generally accepting and liking of others, though more formal and rigid rules of friendship are often impossible for us to understand or maintain. Through years of living with add/adhd, many of us have developed a learned helplessness in response to the negative results of our unintended behaviors. We reach overwhelm quickly and many of us carry around shame regarding the results of our neurological differences. Many of us grew up being told we were lazy, that we just needed to apply ourselves, that we should understand how to follow the rules, that we need to listen better, that we need to stop talking or daydreaming and pay attention, that we need to organize our whatevers.

Anyway, I thought I would put this here because it's a neurological difference that leads to different communication approaches and styles, and it's a relatively large amount of people who have it.

Oh, and we often forget things, which can really irritate people too.

One thing I really like about this site is the existence of the reps and thank you buttons an visitor messages. Having a brain that's always telling me to respond respond respond respond, these multiple options give me more access to being able to respond without disrupting or derailing a thread, and the thank you button has especially helped me be a better listener/reader.
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Old 06-20-2010, 09:10 AM   #22
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What I personally find interesting is that I seem to have a different communications style at work than I do in my personal life. At work, I am ham-fisted blunt and I sometimes interrupt people. I mean, to the point where I have written on the back of my hand "shut up and listen" before I go in to a meeting. My job is to steer the communications/public relations image for an entire organization, so when I see people veering off the path I have put us all on that's when I become the interrupting, way too direct prick, I think. And when dealing with certain members of the media, I am the same way. Yet, it seems to work for my boss, who heads up the entire organization, and prefers that I am pro-active and aggressive -- interesting that this is the way she sees it, though, compared to how I view it, right?

In my personal life, I am just the opposite. When I meet someone, they usually tell me how quiet I am.

I'm not ashamed to admit that I have spent the last 4 years in therapy working on communication issues. What I have come to learn is that so much of how we communicate is shaped by experience since birth. I was brought up in a house where shiny, happy children were seen, but not heard. And then given no basis for emotional intelligence as a child, I found myself behind the learning curve as a young adult. While I am still painfully shy, I find it much easier, thanks to therapy, to communicate my needs, desires and to tell people no. "No" is one of the first words we learn, but it is often the most difficult to say. The other big part of communicating, of course, is listening...and I think a lot of people forget that. It's just not about talking, but being an engaged listener as well.

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Old 06-20-2010, 11:29 AM   #23
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Originally Posted by violaine View Post
chancie,

i was responding to the scenario provided. i thought the thread was open to multidimensional discussion dialogue? for people who process things differently/different ideas?medusa wrote "let's talk about it!"

to me, that meant anyone reading the thread who wishes to respond.
Processing! Yes, individual ways of processing information seems so crucial to me. This along with individual backgrounds, age, race, ethnicity, just life experience all combines in each unique communication style.

The only on-line community I have ever been a part of is this one, really and the one thing that I always have to remember is that there is a wealth of differences between and among us.

LOL... and I am now aware of the post-menopausal structures of my communication process... a new day!
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Old 06-21-2010, 06:08 PM   #24
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I struggle day in and day out with communication. I try very hard to express myself. It is a never-ending battle with me. Words and sentences just are exhausting. Just not my strong suit. I admire those folks who are able to express themselves very well. You are blessed. In school teacher's shamed me for failing tests, and used me as an example to other students. If you don't do this, you will be like so and so.

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Old 07-18-2010, 05:11 AM   #25
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Great thread Medusa. I don't think I saw this noted yet (apologies if someone's already mentioned this), but the Center for Nonviolent Communication (cnvc.org) has an interesting perspective on communication:
"NVC begins by assuming that we are all compassionate by nature and that violent strategies—whether verbal or physical—are learned behaviors taught and supported by the prevailing culture. NVC also assumes that we all share the same, basic human needs, and that each of our actions are a strategy to meet one or more of these needs." The website actually has a list of needs and a list of feelings -- the exercise is to identify the feelings that arise when our needs are being met and the feelings that arise when our needs are not being met. The very first day I skimmed the lists I experienced a shift in perspective that allowed me a greater capacity to hear other people.
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Old 07-18-2010, 07:10 AM   #26
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I must have missed this thread when it was started.

I'm really enjoying reading the posts here.

My communication skills aren't always the best. I can however communicate better online than I can in person. Online I get a chance to digest what I read and post accordingly. In person, I have hearing loss and if I miss part of a conversation, I'm lost unless someone repeats what they said.

I guess I'm going to say it has to do with the difference between hearing and understanding online just as it does in real life. The skills you bring to an online discussion has to do with how you absorb what you read. Kind of like, did you hear me if we were holding a conversation. The key to both is the understanding. So, even though you heard me, you might not have understood me. Lets not jump the gun or get angry because you read it differently than I write it even if I can't convey it the same way if you were in front of me. Now we're at body language and you can't see me behind my computer screen. How to make my online thoughts come to life as I would in a conversation? If you can think it or say it, write it down and reread it. If it looks the same on the screen as you feel it would by coming out of your mouth, post it.

There are days I struggle with words and am thankful for friends that know me and can back me up when I miss a step or two. I'm sure we've all had days like that. Good, bad or ugly, we need to be responsible for our words once we hit the send button for the world to see. Coming back to clarify a post someone has a problem with is imperative. Without it, other posters will start to make assumptions over the post and we all know where that leads. I think if you can't be responsible for your actions, the rest of us need to learn to let go of that post because the poster may have just done what they set out to do. Pit us against each other and kick back and watch.

Lastly, the way you see it, may be different than the way I see it, but it doesn't mean we have to attack each other. A simple, can you expound on that should be suffice without an attack of words. Without the proper tools to communicate, I'd be afraid to post anything or even talk to others.

Notice I didn't use June as an example.......what the hell is wrong with me

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Old 07-18-2010, 10:40 AM   #27
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<snip> Coming back to clarify a post someone has a problem with is imperative. Without it, other posters will start to make assumptions over the post and we all know where that leads. I think if you can't be responsible for your actions, the rest of us need to learn to let go of that post because the poster may have just done what they set out to do. Pit us against each other and kick back and watch.

Lastly, the way you see it, may be different than the way I see it, but it doesn't mean we have to attack each other. A simple, can you expound on that should be suffice without an attack of words. Without the proper tools to communicate, I'd be afraid to post anything or even talk to others.
<snip>
I wonder how different the conversations would be if we ALL asked for clarification when we read a post, and came back to clarify when someone questioned ours? Wow! I wish that could become a habit for the site!
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Old 07-19-2010, 10:12 AM   #28
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I wonder how different the conversations would be if we ALL asked for clarification when we read a post, and came back to clarify when someone questioned ours? Wow! I wish that could become a habit for the site!

Some of actually do ask
And usually it's before the can of Whoop Ass comes out, lol
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Old 07-19-2010, 10:27 AM   #29
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Some of actually do ask
And usually it's before the can of Whoop Ass comes out, lol
Yeah. I'm on a diet though. I can only handle Whoop Ass Lite.
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Old 12-02-2010, 12:40 PM   #30
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A question for folks:

Is understanding the responsibility of the person wanting to be heard or the responsibility of the person listening?

Thoughts?
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Old 12-02-2010, 12:50 PM   #31
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Originally Posted by Medusa View Post
A question for folks:

Is understanding the responsibility of the person wanting to be heard or the responsibility of the person listening?

Thoughts?

Personally, I think it's a two way street
We are each responsible for our own actions
If I'm truly listening and I can't understand I should ask more questions
The same goes for the person wanting to be heard, if I'm that person,
I want to answer all your questions until you get me even if we're never on the same page over the discussion
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Old 12-02-2010, 12:56 PM   #32
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Originally Posted by WolfyOne View Post
Personally, I think it's a two way street
We are each responsible for our own actions
If I'm truly listening and I can't understand I should ask more questions
The same goes for the person wanting to be heard, if I'm that person,
I want to answer all your questions until you get me even if we're never on the same page over the discussion
I'm with Wolfy on this one...
Too often I think misunderstandings/conflicts happen because each side of a discussion is so fixated on their point of view and how they want to express it that they aren't flexible or patient.
Sometimes it takes people a few tries to make their point, or to understand something they haven't considered, or potentially to change their point of view after hearing and considering new input.
I think both sides need to be willing to keep trying - without being aggressive or defensive or judgmental, etc. Just stay open and keep communicating....and be willing to keep asking questions, keep trying different ways to express what you think, and keep listening as well.
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Old 12-02-2010, 02:13 PM   #33
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A question for folks:

Is understanding the responsibility of the person wanting to be heard or the responsibility of the person listening?

Thoughts?

Both.

I think sometimes people will say something accidentally in the wrong way, then someone will call them out on it, and then when they come back and try to explain what they really meant, the other person doesn't want to hear it, and they will keep hammering away.

And also, this notion that we have to agree in order to get along is STILL so frustrating to me.

Once I state an opinion, I will listen to responses and clarify if necessary, what I will not do is engage in a circular argument trying to defend why I feel the way I do.

Conversely, if someone says something that makes me see a topic in a different way, I will acknowlege that. But if it doesn't, then it has to be okay.

I think some folks have a deep seated need to be *right* about everything, and will not rest until everyone else sees it their way. That's tiresome to me, and unecessary if the topic is subjective and based on lived behavior and personal narrative.

Example:

"I think Arizona is a racist state, and here's why"
"I don't think Arizona is a racist state, and here's why"

On topics such as this, it is unlikely that someone is going to all of a sudden change their minds because it is based on what they believe are facts, whether they have done any actual research or not. Combine that with a lack of critical thinking skills and stubborness, then you've got a circular argument that's never going anywhere but downhill.

I am seeing a lot of folks doing "Selective Hearing" and it's worriesome to me. I don't know if it's because we are distracted by the holidays, or feeling tense about the economy or what.

If you don't take time to read someones post in full and understand it, then why are you responding to it? That's not really listening, that's reactive behavior based on assumptions.
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Old 12-02-2010, 02:43 PM   #34
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To extend June's example:

"I think Arizona is a racist state, and here's why"
"I don't think Arizona is a racist state, and here's why"

People saying, "I think Arizona is a racist state, and here's why."
They give their reasons and then people come in and say they are accusing every Arizonian of being a racist. To many of us this is not at all the case. People can either read the reasons why people feel that isn't the case or continue going round and round and saying yes you are accusing us of being racist.

My example:

I believe the United States is a racist country.

When I say that I am not saying every single American is a racist or that every single American supports everything that makes the country racist. I don't support racist policies, racist people, racist thoughts, culture, action, etc. However, unfortunately they do exist and unfortunately as a white person I do in many ways benefit from this being a racist country. I do feel I need to acknowledge this and do what I can to speak out and work against this rather than crying "don't call my country racist and it's not my fault anyway."
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Old 12-02-2010, 02:49 PM   #35
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Originally Posted by Medusa View Post
A question for folks:

Is understanding the responsibility of the person wanting to be heard or the responsibility of the person listening?

Thoughts?
I think this is a really compelling question. I think my answer is, "both and neither" and, "it depends."

I think it's human nature to want to be heard/understood by others - especially if one is invested in relationship with said others - and even more so if the non-understanding party is actively harming or promoting the harm of the party wanting to be understood.

I think it's also human nature to be more receptive when one feels heard, understood, accepted, respected and not too stressed out. Even under those circumstances, few people want to feel like they are being preached at or condescended to.

The burden of being understood is so great when it comes to populations outside of overculture expectations. I do think the privileged party in any circumstance has a greater responsibility to attempt to understand the dynamics of inequality, because the burden to teach and see understanding is too high for those who do not share a privilege. And ignorance when it comes to issues of equality leads directly to perpetuation of said inequality. Sometimes I think one of the biggest problems - in the U.S.? in the world? In humanity? - is that ignorance benefits the privileged while harming those who do not share the privilege. Because there is no apparent and strong loopback for most people's harmful behaviors associated with classism, racism, heterosexism, sexism, etc. - there is little to no incentive for most people to learn or change behaviors.

There's a saying: "When the student is ready, the master will come." We all have times in our lives when we have the opportunity to teach or to inform and we all have times in our lives when we have the opportunity to listen and learn. Often within a single conversation, all parties experience both roles. If you put the information out there, those who are ready and willing to receive it will do so, and those who aren't ready are not likely to be able to hear it at all.

If a person feels they have relevant information to share, I think the responsibility of that person is to share that information in a way that does not demean the intended audience. I don't think it does all that much good to repeat and repeat and repeat the same bit of information in the same way and expect the intended audience to become more receptive to it. Ideally, one could act as a sort of midwife to the intended audience's understanding - because new understanding really has to gestate within the person - but I think that takes more skill than most of us have.

As for the responsibility to listen: In this day and age, we are all bombarded with so much information that none of us can take it all in. I think it's a choice whether one has the time and inclination to hear another person, though if there are indications that one's actions or inactions are causing another person or group of people *harm*, there is a greater responsibility to learn or self-examine. If one is invested in the relationship, part of that investment is the willingness to do one's best to *hear* the other's perspective and to accept the limitations another person has to hearing.

People have to be in the right place to share information in a way where it has the best chance of being received, and people have to be in the right place to be receptive to hearing and/or understanding. *Even when all parties try their best, I think it's to be expected that much of that effort will inevitably fall into a sort of black hole. In fact, I think an effort-black-hole exists in every relationship - where a certain amount of effort is never recognized by the other party. It's like a tax for being in that relationship.

(My use of the word "relationship" in this post is not referring to romantic relationships, but to any relationship between two or more people - up to and including an entire community).

Outside of all that, there's also basic learning theories to consider. When a person is first exposed to new information, it's helpful if it's related to information they already know. People can't go from zero to sixty when learning, so if a person really wants to be heard and their intended audience is not *getting it*, I think it's unreasonable to become too frustrated with the intended audience. If you are really invested in having another person understand you, you have to be willing to meet them where they are, be willing to spell it out and be receptive to learning from them as well as sharing information with them.

Easier said than done, all that.
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Old 12-02-2010, 02:54 PM   #36
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Yes, Bulldog --

It is overpersonalization (If that's a word!)

"Oregon is full of potsmoking foodcart junkies"

If someone said that, I would think, "Huh, I haven't been to a foodcart in months and I haven't smoked any pot this year"

So I might go in and say:

"Actually, while we do have an inordinate number of foodcarts and pot smokers, I don't think that represents the general population, and here's why"

If I was lazy, I might say --

"You take that back! I live in Oregon and I can assure you I am not a potsmoking foodcart junky!"

No one said I was. They were making a broad generalized statement based on their own assumptions and "research". My experience tells me something different, so it behooves me to respond in a thoughtful way and provide facts, not add to the assumptions.

And for the record, I do think the policies of Arizona are racist, and I think there must be a lot of racists there in order to enact those policies, but I don't think ALL Arizona residents are racist. I love Oregon, but we've got racists here too, we just don't have any laws that make it okay to stop someone DWB - Doesn't mean it doesn't happen.
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Old 12-02-2010, 02:58 PM   #37
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I don't think anybody on this site said all arizonans were racist or even that the state is full of racists. Did somebody say that?
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Old 12-02-2010, 03:04 PM   #38
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Aside from the Arizona issue, because I'm speaking generally here, do we (the people on this site, the people we encounter, the humans on this earth) tend to ignore folks who say things like "ALL x, y, z group of people are X, Y, Z" when we are out in the real world more than when it happens on the Internet? Why or why not?
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Old 12-02-2010, 03:04 PM   #39
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Both.

To me:

conversation is not pontification (ie AZ is evil and I have the moral (NOT ethical) obligation to point out to you exactly how they are evil and I am true and right.)

conversation is not sweeping declarations (AZ passed this law therefore all AZians whether they agree or disagree are part of the evil empire.)

conversation containing no is not a bad thing (AZ people who do not agree should move to Canada. No, I dun want to move to CA.)

conversation is an openess to listen and acknowledge understanding, not to necessarily agree (While I hear that AZ has laws that, to me, are abhorrent, you do not have to agree with me that we should boycott the state.)

Communication and conversation can be:

conveying information

small talk that bonds people to one another, but information exchange is not the priority

be bantering that includes inside jokes between people, humor that is personal and may seem at first inappropriate but banter is usually between people who know one another well

one way to communicate, but not the only way and in this forum we rarely aware of body language, or emotional language.

The other thing I always try to be aware of is that communication is cultural, effected by classism or country of origin or mental/emotional capabilities, etc. Autism, speech impediments, brain damage, menopause all effect how I communicate. For example, I am very aware that I have friends who do not understand or get sarcasm, so they just see it as hurtful or truth.

Like all things, being aware of how my words are "perceived" is important. Self awareness is important, too. I know my "firepoints" and while I don't ignore what sets me off, I am aware, as a grown up, that I may have bias, that I have a responsibility to THINK first and that I have the ethical (not moral) responsibility to communicate aware of my bias/prejudices and when I don't particularly like some one. Yes, liking or disliking people is a reality of life. Knowing that Papa Chris (just an example, giggle) pisses me off regularly, as an adult, I THINK through how I discuss differences or disagreements with him. Duh. Communication does take some common sense!

I think one of the things I work constantly to be aware of is that communication is "objective" impossible. In fact, I don't believe human beings can be impartial or objective at all. Everyone's ability to communicate is subjective to their experience, their emotional state, their physical or mental state and individual prejudices.

It is amazing, sometimes, with the all our differences that respectful discourse and communication is possible at all! Lol
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Old 12-02-2010, 03:10 PM   #40
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nat View Post
I don't think anybody on this site said all arizonans were racist or even that the state is full of racists. Did somebody say that?
No, but people acted like someone did. It's not the only example of "overpersonalization".

Arizona is not a person, it is land with borders where people live. Some of those people are racist, some of them are not. The state has put into effect racist policies, some people will disagree with that or try to defend those policies based on their own personal narrative or "research".

At the end of the day, for me, I know that if I drive over the border into Arizona and get stopped for a tailight infraction, that's the ONLY thing I have to worry about. If I were a person of color, that would not be my only fear. To me, that is a racist policy. I am not sure how anyone could see it otherwise, but I know there are a few people on this site who disagree with me. I am unlikely to change their views, regardless of what I say.

It seems pretty cut and dried for me that it's wrong. And I don't mean to drag Arizona in here, but I think it's a really great example of people not listening to each other and overpersonalizing (tm).
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