I don’t like to keep secrets. If I know something valuable, I like to share it, out loud.
And I do know some valuable information about interpersonal effectiveness, because I:
- am a licensed psychotherapist,
- have lived many decades, and
- am an eager observer and student of behaviors.
Shall we begin?
Secret #1: It helps to know your own natural interpersonal style.
If you know and embrace your natural interpersonal style — that which you (1) demonstrated as a child and (2) will likely revert to during times of stress, no matter how old you are — you have more freedom to modulate it, as you choose. This gives you more options to respond effectively, in the moment, to particular people and situations.
My natural interpersonal style is to be transparent. That is, I don’t like secrets, I like to show my thoughts and feelings, and I often explain my motives in the moment.
I’m going to be transparent, right now, about some here-to-fore hidden agendas for the blog post today:
- I wanted to write about a topic that felt important to me and
- I wanted to show you all a bunch of cool photos I took yesterday.
Actually, perhaps those agendas weren’t so hidden, since I pretty much demonstrate the same ones in most of the friggin’ posts I’ve written here, at least over the past year.
I like being transparent. Revealing my motives, thoughts, and feelings frees me up. Keeping my motives, thoughts, and feelings hidden feels exhausting and disconnecting to me.
However, if I don’t appropriately adjust that natural style of mine to the current moment — or if I disown, judge, or am unconscious of that natural style — that style might have too much power over me. I will likely go to extremes, rather than achieving balance. That is, I may alternate between revealing too much, experiencing guilt and shame about that, and then withdrawing into isolation. Also, if I’m not aware of and sensitive to another’s natural (and perhaps very different) style, that will interfere with the connection.
For example, in the (inter)personal world of felines:
Oscar (foreground) likes closeness and Harley (background) prefers space, so my interacting the same way with them would interfere in the connections. And, using a photo from yesterday’s post, here’s a priority, for me:
I might assume that E.M. Forster, whose quote is used so cleverly in that sign, had a similar natural style to me … but who knows?
I’m wondering, at this point, if you know what your natural interpersonal style is. In order to help you with that answer, I should probably give you a list of natural styles. However, I am not aware of the existence of such a list, in the moment, and I want to show you these cool pictures, before I leave for work. So, I hope you can put words on your own natural style, and reveal it here (if you choose).
Ah!a I just used my natural interpersonal style of transparency, there, again. And it felt … good!
Onward to the best I can do, this morning, making up secrets and showing off photos.
Secret #2: Let other people know how you feel, authentically and respectfully.
Secret #3: Honor the past and the future — for yourself and others — but be present as much as you can, with the people who are there for you now.
Secret #4: Leave space and look for for your own and others’ strengths, and for personal growth and creative expression, too.
and closer (up top) …
Secret #5: Be curious and inquisitive, with good intent:
Secret # 6: Leave time and space for yourself and others to just be:
Secret #7: Allow for love, every day, in different ways:
Speaking of love, I would love to tell you more about my friend Jan, who practices as a nurse, where I work. But I need to leave, so I can see Jan and others throughout my day. So I’ll end with this:
Secret #8: Prioritize, as best you can, balancing your needs with others.
Thanks to E.M. Forster, beautiful creatures of every kind, Jan, Sam (from “Under the Gunn“), all those who do their best to connect no matter what their natural interpersonal styles and — of course! — to you, for interacting with me here, today.