“It’s 2017 for goodness sake!” This and other similar refrains have come to dot our relational and conversational landscapes. They are attempts to “nicely” enlighten their audience, informing them that the world has advanced while they – clearly – have not. Most often, these refrains occur on social media, behind the veil of anonymity and modern paradox of communicating “Face(book) to Face(book)” – with no possibility of ever really meeting their target or audience.
Some people are solving this relational puzzle by “nicely” not speaking at all because it could get awkward…messy…difficult. Sadly, the art of speaking “eye to eye” with someone around a potentially contentious topic is being lost in small increments and is destroying our collective ability to truly connect.
So, where does that leave us? Should we simply throw our hands in the air, succumbing to a “new normal” for communication highlighted by conditioned and intentional antagonism and condescension, acronyms and emojis (for those who do not know, emojis are modern hieroglyphics)?
NO! Together, and in whatever capacity we are leading (work, family, relationships), let us BE KIND TO ONE ANOTHER, encourage others, and build people up. This approach lays a foundation for “speaking the truth in love” and providing feedback in a compassionate, gracious, and empathetic manner.
Need a starting point? Ask these questions:
- Will the person / people receiving this information be helped by / benefit from it?
- How do they best receive information (not how do “I” best receive information)?
- Am I both willing and able to provide them with helpful information in the way they will best receive it?
Be open and honest with your audience, acknowledging that these types of conversations do not come easily. Your vulnerability will create a space that demonstrates humility and will likely be reciprocated with the very graciousness you are attempting to instill in a peaceable, constructive conversation.