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caring enough to communicate with care

Communicating with Care. What does that mean? The over-analytical, schedule-orientated, spontaneously inept side of my personality begged, anticipated, and demanded to know what to expect from this three day course that work decided was necessary for me to attend.

Initially I failed to perceive how it was possible to fill three days with content surrounding insight and techniques on improving the quality of communication between peers, colleagues and strangers. Hindsight, like in most instances, is the biggest teacher of all. By the end of day two I can honestly say I have learnt more about human behaviour and interaction than my three year psychology degree ever taught me. A self-confessed intuitive-intellect however, perhaps I thrive on any opportunity to analyse human behaviour and interaction.

At the increasingly horrifying reality-induced age-check of 27 though, having had just one relationship on which to base my opinion, I have realised the importance that successful communication plays in making or breaking a relationship. Having said that, I have also learned that it takes two to tango and one to samba; that is, for a successful tango to ensue, both individuals must cooperate and communicate. Without this, it will always only ever be a solo performance – a samba, or dance designed for one.

It alarms me that we communicate with people on a daily basis from many different walks-of-life and yet there are but a few – if any – at the end of the day who we can honestly say we truly “communicated” with. Why is this so difficult? Sometimes I feel that we are trapped in the Gladiator era, where it would be more socially acceptable to brandish someone with a sword, chariot and hungry lion than a smile and enquiry about their day. I will never understand why strangers or those closest to us are affronted by pleasantries. Even people in general – wary of inquisitions, or confessions of perceived personal weakness. Why is it so difficult to say what you feel or to help another? While I pride myself on being what I hope is a fairly optimistic, open-minded and accepting individual, I can’t help but notice a general social trend to unleash the hounds on any Cheshire-grin wearing, expialidocious-enthusiast with a penchant for introspection.

I am more than happy, even sometimes too enthusiastic to share my greatest insecurities, anxieties and aspirations. I simply don’t understand why others are threatened by this prospect. Does it come down to social conditioning with undertones of “stranger danger”, or, is a more egoic based affliction – borne out of the belief that if others know our weaknesses, then we are a lesser person in this opinion based, survival of the fittest, superficial universe and are therefore vulnerable to being steam-rolled by another, fitter more Hercules type figure.

I don’t know. I will probably never know. What I currently know and appreciate though is that such false encounters and un-pleasantries serve to heighten my appreciation for the individuals whose presence is unrelenting, unconditionally attentive and authentic – warts and all.

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