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Old 05-12-2009, 10:03 PM
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River River is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: NM, USA
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More food for thought on communication -- this time specifically directed at polyamorous situations:

http://www.xeromag.com/fvpolycommunication.html


Quote from that:
Wow. Okay, so now I've got it licked...

Not quite. There's still the "Blue fish tuba" effect.

The who what? That makes no sense!

Precisely.

Each of those words individually has a simple meaning, but put together in that order, they make no sense. Often, that's what it seems like to someone who does not share your conceptual worldview. Communication on the one hand is quite robust, but on the other hand is very fragile; it's robust in the sense that language is quite resilient, but it's fragile in the sense that when you are talking to someone whose philosophical worldview is vastly different from yours, then when you try to explain a difficult concept, your words end up sounding like "blue fish tuba." It's the concept that's difficult; if the concept itself is foreign to your listener, then the words stop making sense.

For example, take a person whose idea of relationships is "commitment means exclusivity." If you tell such a person "It is possible to be committed to more than one person at a time," your words sound like "blue fish tuba," because the concept of commitment inherently implies exclusivity to that person--saying "commitment to two people" is about like saying "the tuba was so huge it was tiny."

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What about "I-statements"? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I-statement

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From: http://www.polyamorysociety.org/tools.html:
7. Communicate. If you want a healthy relationship, strong communication skills are a necessity, not a luxury. Trouble usually starts when talking stops. Things come up all the time that have to be worked through patiently and lovingly, even when you're having a bad day. It gets easier over time, but it takes work and a willingness to break up scar tissue and tear down walls. Communication skills are what make a person a good lover.

Arguing skills are not communication skills. Arguing better than someone doesn't make you right, it just makes you better at arguing. Sometimes people strive to `win' an argument at the cost of their own relationship. Negotiate a way for everyone to win.

Listening is more important than talking. Listen actively and don't just hear. Make eye contact. Be here now, don't wander. Paraphrase their words to see if you heard them right. Notice your own words and feelings, ask why they are what they are. Listen to unhappy feelings (yours and those of others) without needing to fix them. Listen to disagreements without taking sides. Listen to non-verbal communication, which usually speaks more clearly than words. Be aware of how the people in your life are loving you.

Some talk is not communication. If you get lost in the woods and pass the same landmark several times, you are making the same mistake over and over. Raising your voice or speaking harshly makes you harder to understand, not easier. Use "I" statements instead of "you" statements. "I think you're wrong" is easier to accept than "you are wrong." Directness works better than manipulation.

Clearly express yourself; people can't read your mind. Tear down the wall between your feelings and your words. Set limits and boundaries and communicate them. Make sure everyone knows what they are getting into. Learn how to defuse arguments. If necessary, learn how and when to say goodbye. Actions communicate better than words. Show people that you love them. Share kindness and affection and laughter. When in doubt, rub their feet.

Last edited by River; 05-12-2009 at 10:29 PM.
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