Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by DilboFlaggins, Aug 7, 2012.
Say Only What Can Be Heard
No, I don't remember who said that. One of these days, I'll remember, and than I'll have to go find dozens of posts all over the Web and add the attribution.
I read a formula once for happiness that went something like this: "do only what can be easily experienced; be willing to experience anything."
When you are entirely comfortable in your own skin, it's funny how other people are comfortable around you.
When you are able to accept the person in front of you, it's funny how that can frame your own acceptance by him.
When I was in my early twenties, I took a communications course. No, not in a college or university, but from a private outfit that lived and died based on actual results. Did you know that one of the hardest things to do when establishing communication with someone else is to simply be there, in the same space with that someone? Yeah. Just being there.
It's simply amazing how much flak is thrown up by your own emotional framework and how much your own baggage drives that.
Takes work to overcome that. Some of the most uncomfortable moments of my life. The rewards, on the other hand, have been outstanding. Like, for example, my face-to-face interviewing performance has been consistently successful ever since.
Now, you can insert all kinds of stuff from your personal baggage into a conversation, even when no words are being exchanged. Posture. Glances. Expressions.
Of course, you also have other ways of "sending messages," like what you wear, how many days of stubble you have on your chin, whether (and where) you have tattoos. Wrist watch? Shorts or slacks. Shoes or boots (or sandals). Hair or not. Long or short. Dyed or not. And then there's smell. Ah, yes. And so on.
What do you know about the person you are about to meet?
Do you know, going in, that he's a relaxed kinda guy who is willing to experience anything? Is he a person who's completely comfortable in his own skin? Is he a guy who has learned how to set aside his own baggage?
If you don't know those things, perhaps it is well to learn how to say only what can be heard.
It will help if you learn how to "read people" and determine if the impression you're making is the one you mean to make.
You have the right to be there.
He has the right to be there.
Good. We got the "rights" part out of the way.
And now we enter the "interesting" part: how well do you communicate? How well does he communicate? What is it that you can say that "will be heard?"
A little personal anecdote. I worked with a guy named Chris. Chris died a couple of years ago, quite suddenly and unexpectedly, when he fell into a diabetic coma from which he did not recover.
Chris and I started with the same company about a month apart.
We were office mates. I had been in my office a few weeks when Chris was assigned to the empty desk that had kept me company up to that point.
Chris was a musician and a drummer. Hard rock/heavy metal. He was also one of the smartest and most able programmers with whom it has been my pleasure to work. Chris had tattoos -- some pretty adventurous ones, too. Chris wore his hair in a long ponytail. Chris wore t-shirts and jeans, sometimes shorts. Chris was a snarky smart ass. Chris was a self-declared liberal/libertarian. Chris was smarter than I am, and better at the language we used at work.
I fell into all his conservo/righty stereotypes. I don't have tattoos. I wear sneakers and cargo pants, with a (usually long-sleeved) button-up shirt. I have short hair. Really short.
Chris and I would have these conversations, where he would throw out some provocative barb and see how I responded.
After a couple of weeks of sharing an office with him, he remarked, "you know, you're just so unexpected; nothing flaps you, and you believe the weirdest combination of things."
And we got along famously after that. Well, he was a shotgun guy, and I was more of a rifle guy, but we didn't let that come between us.
We ate dissimilar diets. We had very dissimilar tastes in music. Well, sort of, and that was one of his surprises. "Wait, you actually like that?"
He was a good and decent man. Under normal circumstances, we would have nothing in common. But he had a code of honor to which he adhered, and he appreciated that I, too, held to such a code.
I still miss him.
Oh, your skin is a different color from mine? Really. Cool. How does that affect how you tan? I don't tan worth a damn. Even the top of my head sunburns.
Actually, I care more about whether you keep your promises.
Yeah, I get that your skin is a cooler color than mine, just don't rub it in, okay?
And can we get back to that "keeping your promises" thing?
I realize that a Confederate flag might mean something different to different people, especially Southerners. I live in the far Northwest corner of the country, though, and around here it's generally meant as a display of racism. Also, not long before that, there had been problems with skinheads in the same town (large skinhead, drunk and waving a Confederate flag, tries to beat up a little Vietnamese-American guy for no reason, Vietnamese-American guy has a knife, skinhead dies, jury finds Vietnamese-American justified) so I was more concerned than usual.
And as far as the nightclub thing: of course my reaction was irrational. That's my point, though. Even if there's no reason for it, being a minority feels different.
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