This week I'm focusing on how I connect with people. I think I usually connect with most people quite well. I think I'm a pretty good listener and I think I'm pretty empathetic to people.
That being said, I have also been told that I can be curt. This curtness can be perceived as unfriendliness. I need to work on this. Fortunately I am blessed to have a good friend willing to walk with me in this process. She is encouraging to speak in a warmer, friendlier, more positive manner.
This is going to be challenging for me. I've been thinking long and hard about WHY this would be a challenge. I'm a nice person. I don't want to hurt people's feelings. I believe I AM friendly. However, I am an introvert. Being around people or talking to people for a extended period of time, sucks the life right out of me. It exhausts me. I draw energy from time spent in the quiet, even solitude. Another personality quirk of mine is that I NEED order in my space. Disorder is very distracting to me. I can't concentrate in disorder.
So, what have I learned to improve the way I connect with people. Well, I learned one huge thing. And I'm going to share it with you, dear reader. Sometimes a person like me, an introvert, needs a phrase to use in situations that can be difficult. For example, when someone says something to me that I may perceive as condescending, I have a tendency to respond in a curt manner. Now I have a phrase I can use to put a positive spin on the conversation. I can say "WOW, that's a GREAT suggestion (or question, or idea)." I have learned that people hear this as validation of their comment or suggestion. This surprised me, because I don't hear this comment quite the same way. My boss says this and I find it patronizing, but there you have it.
I'm going to work very hard at this. My intention is to use this phrase at least once every day. I want this to become a natural part of my everyday banter. Oh yeah, and I put a post-it with a smiley face and the word SMILE underneath it on my computer screen. My old post-it said Don't Cuss. I think I'm moving in the correct direction.