so yesterday we covered the evils of Facebook and texting when it comes to communication break down. today we’re going for the jugular on phone calls and email.
whaaaaaa? you say like a cartoon character.
yes. phone calls and email. most of the time they use their power for good, but in the hand of an evil mastermind or a pissed off girlfriend, they can be used for much, much bad.
i used the numbers 1 & 2 yesterday, so let’s go with 3 & 4 today.
3. phone calls – there is nothing innately wrong with communicating by phone. it’s probably one of the single greatest inventions since fire. but when you use it as a weapon, your smart phone becomes a relationship hand grenade. while face to face is always better, if a phone call is the only option, follow a couple basic rules and you should make it out alive…
- timing – pick a time that is convenient for both of you. you are shooting for optimal head space to resolve an issue. blindsiding someone while he’s at work and demanding all of his attention right that second or it’s over? so not reasonable. that is selfish and bratty. calling her when you know she’s in the middle of a baby shower and launching into a diatribe? makes you a jerk and a bully. make sure you are both calm, alert (no exhausted middle of the night calls) and well fed, we don’t want low blood sugar to end you.
- stay reasonable – knowing she can’t see your face doesn’t mean you can roll your eyes and make yapping motions with your hands. it’s disrespectful when she’s looking at you and it’s disrespectful when she’s not. those types of things color your response whether you can see each other or not. no hanging up. that is childish and petty. if the person on the other end is losing it and being verbally abusive, if only for your own peace of mind, say, “i’m going to hang up now. call me back when you’re calm and are ready to talk.” then go ahead and move on to greener pastures if you’re dating someone that nuts.
4. email – once upon a time, everyone knew how to write. it was a life skill, not a bonus. the written word was the only way to communicate over distance and even those who were considered not well educated knew how to get their point across with the correct emotion. not so anymore. people no longer understand they are writing for a specific audience of 1 and the crafting of the words needs to be more external than internal.
- know you’re audience – write to that person. do not use words and phrases you know they will be offended by or bring up old history to put them off balance. keep it kind, clear and concise.
use as much alliteration as possible.
- don’t write when you’re angry – cut yourself a break. write what you need to write when you are in a relatively good mood. wonder objective powers, activate! being in a good head space will make you more objective about what you need to own that has contributed to the problem. make sure you include that.
- stay on topic – i once received an email that outlined every offense i had committed against a friend for the previous 3 years. it was all news to me. the point was get me to apologize for every infraction. i think there was somewhere around 30. i simply hit delete. keep the issue/s current and relevant to the solution. let go of any minor things that can be let go of and focus on what is really hurting you.
- don’t be a coward – do not hide behind your ability to write well. the person you are trying to communicate with may not have the same skill and feel at a disadvantage. if you can get face to face, do that. email can seem like an ambush unless there is no other way to get it done.
what have i missed? how is technology making things harder on relationships? how is it making things easier?