Archive | June, 2011

Misunderstandings are a hassle

29 Jun

Why does miscommunication happen so often even in relationships in which two people know each other very well? I recently got into a verbal altercation with Mr. Kelley in which he said I made him mad because of something I did. When in reality I just annoyed him. One might ask, “How do you know how you made him feel? Wouldn’t he have a better grasp on how you made him feel than you would?” Well, I know because I asked him and he agreed that in the end he wasn’t mad, but annoyed.

This might seem very trivial to those of you reading. It may even seem like a simple syntactical error. However, it wasn’t. At least not to me. I could deal with him being annoyed. I cannot deal with him being mad.  I don’t give him many reasons to be mad, but annoyed? Sure! I talk really fast, slightly bossy, and ask too many questions.  So him being mad was something we needed to discuss. Had he simply stated the correct emotion that he was feeling we could have moved on to other things, but he didn’t. This started a two-day, quasi-silent treatment. (Our whole disagreement was about more than a simple communication error. This was just the last installment.)

This argument made me think of how many times *we actually misunderstand one another, despite saying the same or meaning to say the same thing. Some words have multiple definitions that may mean many things to different people. How do we know we’re actually saying what we mean and, more importantly, that the other person is understanding?

*By “we” I mean people in general, not Mr. Kelley and I.  He’s a man of very few words, so seldom does he give me anything to not understand.

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How to avoid being an a-hole

23 Jun

Can we please take a moment to recognize the importance of tact? One of my biggest pet peeves is blatant rudeness and disregard for common courtesy. I believe tactlessness falls well into this category of pet peeves. Being tactful doesn’t mean constantly biting your tongue nor does it mean saying whatever you want with a smile or a laugh. Tact consists of a regard and filter for the content escaping your mouth. It’s a necessary and beneficial trait for all adults to have in order to sustain satisfying relationships with those around us. It’s important to keep in mind what is being said and how it’s being perceived when building personal and professional relationships.

Just because you’re laughing, doesn’t make it funny.

 Effective communication results in sending a message in a way the receiver understands, so coming off as condescending, tactless, and an all-around asshole really isn’t going to get you far. By choosing to offend the person you’re speaking to your message isn’t only going to not be received, but they’re more than likely going to be on the defense around you and it’s unlikely any message you choose to send, regardless of how it’s said, is going to be received well.

Similarly, intonation and tone of voice should be taken into consideration. How many times have you read a text message and couldn’t really decipher if it’s supposed to be funny, sarcastic, serious, etc.? It’s frustrating not understanding how something is being said, so it’s important to be consciously aware of how you sound and what you’re saying. As mentioned earlier just because you’re laughing, doesn’t make it funny; sometimes it just makes you an asshole.

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Why Cards > Presents

22 Jun

Summer is finally here and there are no words that can describe how ecstatic I am.  My birthday and summer have always gone hand-in-hand, but I love both of these occasions for separate reasons.  Summer brings sunshine, warm weather, longer days, and a really good reason to eat fro-yo (frozen yogurt) all the time. My birthday on the other hand brings birthday cards!  I have always looked forward to cards no matter the occasion, but birthday cards are by far my favorite kind.  I would be lying to say that I don’t love presents (because let’s be honest… what girl doesn’t like presents?), but cards are always the icing on my birthday cake.  I take writing in cards very seriously.  I take time and care when writing in each Hallmark concoction.  Cards have always been special to me.  To me, it’s more than just a necessary attachment to a present.  It’s an opportunity to appreciate the person to whom you’re giving it to.  It’s a chance for the recipient to know exactly how you feel without ever having to say it.  It’s not just a $4 addition to the X amount you paid for the present; it’s a keepsake that in retrospect means more than the actual gift.

Maybe I’m taking it too seriously, but I’ve kept a majority of the cards I’ve received over the past couple years and whenever I need a pick-me-up, that doesn’t involve a pint of Cherry Garcia or a bottle of wine, I know that I’ll feel better after reading my cards.  So the next time you browse the card section of your local grocery store, keep in mind that you might be giving it to a crazy like me who will more than likely read, analyze, and keep it forever.

* You know a card belongs to you when your best friends and boyfriend unknowingly gets you the exact same card… As seen above.

An intro to intros

15 Jun

We’ve all been there.  Whether it’s the first day of class, a meeting, or some other social event where we had to do ice breakers and no matter what ice breaker it is it usually has something to do with your name, what you do and something about yourself.  I never really saw the importance of these activities.  Unless there’s only a handful of people in the room there’s no way anyone is going to remember everyone’s name, place of employment and the tidbit of information about them.  Yet the way I see it, if we’re gonna do these intros I might as well make mine the one people remember.  Here’s how you can make the best of these scenarios:

Speak loud and clear

Oftentimes, I don’t hear half of the intros not because I’m not paying attention, but because I really can’t hear them (I have the hearing and eyesight of a 90-year-old).  When doing any kind of public speaking it’s so important to make sure everyone can hear you because even though you might find yourself interesting others may not, so invade their ear-space and make yourself heard.

What do you do?

I don’t like this question at all.  Mainly because I don’t have a super cool job I can talk about, but also because introductions are supposed to tell you something about a person and simply knowing what someone gets paid to do isn’t really learning much.  When it comes to answer this, I don’t usually address it.  Instead, I focus on what I enjoy doing because I do a lot of things many in which I don’t get a monetary reward for.  I run, drink wine, go to the dog park despite the fact that I don’t have a dog, etc.  I would much rather talk about something I enjoy doing rather than something I get paid to do.  By disclosing information like this others may be able to relate and before you know it you made a friend.

Be different

When it comes to disclosing something about you, I like hearing about things I don’t often hear about.  A lot of people talk about their kids or where they’re from which is great, but that doesn’t really stick out to me.  Might be because of my dislike for children or because about 1/3 of the class is going to talk about the same thing.  Tell them about an experience you had, something that makes you different, or even just a quirky talent.

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Are you pursuing happiness?

14 Jun

Within the Declaration of Independence it says that we, as citizens of the U.S., have certain unalienable rights: Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. So does this mean that we all deserve to be happy? I agree that each person has the right to pursue happiness, but does it automatically mean that everyone deserves happiness simply because they live and breathe? What about those that don’t actively pursue it?  What about those who do nothing to contribute to their own happiness? Do they deserve to be happy as much as those who seek out happiness every day?

Similarly, so many people know what they want out of life, but they fail in doing anything to actually achieving it.  Just because you want something, doesn’t mean you deserve it.  I think this applies in the same way as what’s discussed above. Happiness is as much a right as it is a privilege and I personally don’t feel that everyone deserves it.  Whenever I say this people look at me like I’m completely cold-hearted, but my intention isn’t for only people I like to be happy and everyone else to burn in hell. I simply believe that people work hard for things they truly want and being happy should be no different. 

There are those that constantly complain about life or work or their relationships and sit back and do nothing to change their predicament.  Those people don’t deserve to be miserable, but they sure as hell don’t deserve to be happy simply because they happen to be alive, breathing and living in the States.  The solution isn’t simple or easy, but the concept is basic: if you don’t like your life, change it; if your work is miserable, do something else; and if your relationship sucks, get out of it.  Changes aren’t automatic, but taking little steps and being proactive in your pursuit of happiness will help you eventually get to where you want to be, where you deserve to be. Not just because of where you live, but because you actually earned it. 

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Why apologize?

11 Jun

For a while the two hardest words for me were, “I’m sorry.” For some reason it was like pulling teeth for me to say those words. It made much more sense to me to blame everyone else as opposed to taking the blame and apologizing. “I’m sorry” meant “I’m wrong” it also meant “I messed up and made a mistake” it wasn’t something I wanted to admit, ever. It was always one thing for me to realize I had made a mistake, but issuing an apology meant actually admitting it and making it public so that others were aware as well. In retrospect, that was a very immature and naïve point-of-view.

In using other’s as scapegoats and never accepting blame I was damaging myself and hurting those around me. Saying “I’m sorry” doesn’t signify weakness, it shows recognition and realization of one’s own errors and provides people a chance to correct their mistakes. There really aren’t do over’s in life, but apologizing allows us the opportunity to recognize any faults, fallacies or faux pas we may have made and the opportunity to fix them. We all know the importance of learning from our mistakes, but if we never acknowledge when they occur we don’t allow ourselves the chance to learn and that’s probably the worst part of it all.

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Violation of speech or privacy?

8 Jun

When it comes to free speech I’m sure there’s a general consensus that it’s a good thing.  We all get to say what we want, state our opinions, debate with those who may not agree, but there are those occasional instances when the lines blur and we question whether everyone should have this right.   I bring this up because yesterday I came across this article and became annoyed and slightly confused.  Is Greg Fultz upset because A) he’s against abortions or B) he and his ex-girlfriend disagreed with how she should handle her pregnancy and he lost?   If it’s because of A than ok, voice your opinion and put up your pro-choice/anti-abortion billboard . However, if it’s because of B I can’t help but think, “grow up Greg Fultz”. It’s completely immature of him to take out his frustration and anger in public by airing his ex-girlfriend’s dirty laundry for everyone else to see.

The way I see it, it’s not really a matter of free speech. It’s a matter of privacy.  No one likes not getting their way or wanting something but not getting it, but we get to an age where we can handle these letdowns maturely and not feel the need to involve hundreds of others passing by.  No one actually wants to have an abortion, but for those that do have them it’s a personal choice.   A personal choice that’s really no one’s business, especially those that don’t even know  the predicament she was in.

It’s clear that Greg Fultzs is upset with his ex-girlfriend’s choice and he has every right to express his disdain, but the way he chose to do it makes me question if his childish act really makes him fit to parent the child he wanted.

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