Speaking sentences

I didn’t start speaking sentences until I was two. I didn’t have to. I was the second child, so my parents had already been through most of what first-time parents have to deal with. They had some idea of what I needed. So most of the time I could just look at them and they would give me what I wanted.

I grew up thinking people could read my mind.

They eventually realized that this was causing me not to have to speak at all. They stopped second-guessing me and I had to start asking for what I needed. The feeling that people can read my mind and know what was going on in my head has persisted however.

It has even extended into my blog. When I write I express my thoughts. It isn’t exactly like when I was a child – I am communicating. And somehow I think that just because I’ve written something means that everybody has read it. I think these bits of insight and connections that I am sharing are useful to everyone. However, I always get surprised when someone doesn’t do something that I suggested that will help them. Of course, they haven’t read my blog. Maybe only 20 people a day read it, and I don’t see them.

The really frustrating thing comes when I have actually told someone something helpful and they still don’t do it. Of course they have free will. And of course I’m not their manager or their teacher or their parent. They are under no obligation to listen to me. But when they keep making the same mistake over and over again and I have a solution for their problem it would benefit them to listen to me. My solution will save them a lot of trouble. I have already been through it and figured it out. They don’t have to go to the trouble of solving the problem themselves. When they hit the wall again and again and they expect me to feel sorry for them, then I have to draw the line. It is very hard to deal with people who know the answer and refuse to use it.

Do unto others as they do unto you.

Sometimes the rule isn’t “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Sometimes the best way to interact with a person is to imitate how they are interacting with you.

Imagine this – if they are working on the premise of “do unto others…” then how they are interacting with you is exactly how they would like to be treated. So if your way doesn’t work, try their way.

If they stand too close, try standing close to them when you initiate a conversation. If they only talk standing up, try that. It may make you feel uncomfortable, but it may help them feel comfortable. If you keep communicating with them your way and not their way, they may feel like something is wrong. These unwritten rules of social interaction are often what make or break a conversation.

Just like different cultures have different conversational styles, so do different people. To make someone feel comfortable, try doing things their way – not yours. Often, it isn’t what is said, so much as how it is said that makes the conversation work or not.