There is a fine line between keeping it real and being support to someone you care about.
So I was having a conversation with a really good friend of mine the other day and I was expressing how I decided to make the decision to be more healthy and to lose some weight. My friends response was, "yes, you shouldn't have eaten that cookie and that half a bag of candy this past weekend. " Really?? As I reflected on that conversation, it made think a lot of things. And yes, I did react in that moment, I was hurt! I wasn't upset about what my friend said, did I agree? Not really, but that is the beauty of opinions right? But, how it made me feel, hurt, neglected and unsupportive, in that moment.
So quick disclaimer!! This message is intended for anyone who wants to improve on their relationship with the people they care about! It all comes down to communication.
COMMUNICATION! COMMUNICATION! COMMUNICATION!
How we communicate with one another is so very important. I can divide the subject of communication alone into many sub categories and today we are going to focus on supportive communication.
I remember years ago my mentor used to tell me to focus on what the person is saying rather than how they were saying it. Later on in life, I learned its was more about the intention of your message and how you deliver the message rather than what you were saying. So now in my journey in mastering effective communication, I believe it is a mixture of both. One must consider what their intention is prior to communicating and to also consider the words they are choosing to use to get across their message. Both play an important role in how effective one is, especially if the topic is sensitive.
Back in the day before I embarked on my journey of learning how to communicate more effectively, I thought I was doing a favor to people by being honest, blunt, and to the point about certain subject matters even when they didn't give me their permission to share my opinion. What I didn't realize was happening, the unintended consequence, I was hurting that inner child that we all have inside of us. I was hurting this child that only wants to be loved, accepted and nurtured. I realized I was hurting the people I care about with my truth and that by no means was my intention. I was coming from a good place because I care about this person. In that moment, that's where I realized no matter what my intention was I was still hurting and/or offending this person rather than being supportive and being true to my perception, opinion and truth. I realized I needed to work on my delivery!
DELIVERY! DELIVERY! DELIVERY!
There are many methods on how to deliver your message effectively. There is the sandwich method, where you say one positive thing, then your feedback, and finish off with another positive thing. That works, until they peep the game and you know are just saying 2 positive things so you can get your true point across. Or the other way around, if you already know the technique and it is being used on you.
I recommend the following techniques on effective delivery,
1) Focus on the situation over the person.
For example if something was said that rubbed you the wrong way, instead of telling that person you are negative or mean, focus on the situation. Let them know what they did or how they said something made you feel a certain emotion. It's not about them as a person or their character but rather that isolated moment.
2) Can it be changed?
Evaluate the situation, can it be changed or is it a controlled variable? For example, if your neighbor just painted their house and you know that that color doesn't last due to it being light and attracts more dirt, well its too late to say anything! What's the point? But, had they asked for your opinion prior to picking out the paint then that would be the optimal time to share your advise.
3)Give specific recommendations.
Instead of telling that person their painting could have be better. Saying something like, consider having a line of perspective, or know your lighting source so the light hits the same place on all the objects.
The most important thing is not to make personal attacks, be positive, be mindful of your intention, and the words you choose!
There is a fine line in being supportive and keeping it 100! And it is different for every person. It will take time to realize that person's communication style and how they receive messages, so it will take effort on both parties to adjust how they speak to one another. It will be tough, there will be moments of contrast, but it will be worth it in the end! To communicate effectively is a learned behavior and once achieved will be one of your greatest assets! Enjoy your journey!
Please let me know if this helps you in your communication moving forward and Share with others, that's the power of knowledge!