How to talk to people as if they were human

3 tips to improve your interpersonal communications

The problem with being human is that we are pretty much stuck inside our own heads.  From our point of view, the world kind of revolves around us.  All interactions we experience involve us. When people talk to us, we are experiencing only our emotions and how the other person makes us feel. We may be intellectually aware of the other person’s emotions, but what concerns us most, is our own response to what is going on.

This self-centeredness interferes with interpersonal communications and relationships. Why? Because it causes us to misinterpret and misunderstand what the other person is really trying to communicate.  So here are 3 tips to help you improve your interpersonal communications by helping you learn to talk to the other person as if they were actually human.

1) Respect – the other person isn’t you. They are them. Respect their individuality and autonomy.  You don’t know exactly what they are experiencing or why they are experiencing it. If they are emotional, it may be about you, but it may not. Don’t assume you know. They may have had a bad day or gotten bad news. Don’t assume they are reacting to what you are reacting to because they aren’t. They are living in their own little world and if you respect that, you will respect them and you will improve your communications and relationships because people like to be respected. And no, this isn’t something you can fake.

2) Step Back – accept that your understanding of what is going on is flawed. You are experiencing the communication from your point of view. They are experiencing it from their point of view. It is possible to consciously step back from your point of view to actively consider the other person’s point of view. And a rather “magical” thing happens when you do that. You come to understand the other person better and the other person is more likely to feel “heard.” This will again, improve your communications and interpersonal relationships.

3) Compassion – if things are tense, accept that they are. That doesn't mean you have to be tense. In fact, if one person in a conflict de-escalates, it improves the chances that the other person will as well. So, if you find yourself getting angry, have compassion for yourself and remember, it’s OK to be angry. But will that serve you well right now? Probably not. Make a conscious choice to not be the center of the universe for a short period of time and extend your compassion to the other person. This usually helps defuse and de-escalate things, which will work to your advantage. And if it doesn't de-escalate them, because they are so wound up they can’t calm down, you won’t be part of the problem.

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