Posts Tagged With: interpersonal effectiveness

Day 533: Secrets to interpersonal effectiveness

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:

  1. I wanted to write about a topic that felt important to me and
  2. 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:

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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:

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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.

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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.

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Secret #4: Leave space and look for for your own and others’ strengths, and for personal  growth and creative expression, too.

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and closer (up top) …

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Secret #5: Be curious and inquisitive, with good intent:

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Secret # 6: Leave time and space for yourself and others to just be:

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Secret #7: Allow for love, every day, in different ways:

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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.

Categories: inspiration, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , | 39 Comments

Day 399: What I wanted for my birthday

Good morning, WordPressers (and people who read this blog without that much awareness of their surroundings)!

It’s time for the Post-Birthday Wrap-up Blog!

It’s going to be short one, so let’s look at the highlights, shall we?

As I wrote a couple of days ago (in this post), I knew there might be disappointments during the anniversary of my birth. Here’s a quote from that post:

As much as I love and look forward to my birthday, I’ve been disappointed, during some birthdays past. I’ve expected too much, and gotten too little. So, perhaps, I’m afraid of a repeat of those disappointments, this year.

And, yes, there was a point during the day when it looked like I was NOT going to get the attention, fuss, excitement, awareness of my birthday that I expected, wanted, yearned for.

So what happened?

I got mad, and I started to talk to myself, as follows:

Arrrghh!  This sucks!  Why do I even get excited about my birthday, anyway? People think I’m doing all sorts of exciting things, but I’m doing NOTHING!  And I’m all ALONE right now!  Where are the people who are SUPPOSED to be here?!?  Geesh! Maybe people are planning a successful surprise party for me, for the first time in my friggin’ six decades?!! AS IF!!! No sirree, people who know me are all just living their lives, assuming that I’m getting what I want on this day … AND I’M NOT!!

Well, sports fans (or observers, in general), what would you say was going on, during that portion of yesterday’s game?

Here’s my analysis:

I was having a  tantrum.

That is, I was focusing on assumptions and expectations of what the day should be like, plus memories of old disappointments, and the result was this: anger, in a child-like way.

Now, I didn’t scream, hit,  break anything, or hold my breath until I turned blue. I didn’t even yell (although that would have been okay). I just allowed myself to feel the feelings. And I did speak my thoughts out loud, including this one:

This is what I want for my birthday. Just to feel my anger and express it, without judgment.

And I felt better.

Soon after that, I was able to contact my son’s father, and arrange to pick up my son.  Since spending time with my son was one of the gifts I was expecting on my birthday, I felt better.

On my way driving there, I still allowed myself to feel all my feelings, including my disappointment and annoyance. And while I didn’t want to be late, I allowed myself to stop and take this photo:

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And  thought, “So what if this makes me a little bit late?!!  Screw them!”

And I felt better.

When I got to my son’s father’s girlfriend’s home, and I was waiting for my son to get ready to go, my ex said something to me that …. pissed me off. I got annoyed and defensive. So I said to him, “You know what?  Today is my birthday, and this is what I want for my birthday: I want to be able to get mad at people and not worry about the result. And I’m mad right now!”

So I said more about that, to my ex. And I had a “tone” — an angry tone (which I’ve caught hell for using, in the past).  But my ex actually seemed okay with that. He just listened.

And I kept going. As a matter of fact, I kind of had a little tantrum — but in an adult way.  What do I mean by that?  Well, I followed some rules, for interpersonal effectiveness, even while I was expressing my anger.

I DID:

  • Use “I” statements whenever possible, describe my personal experience of thoughts and feelings.
  • Explain the context of my reaction.
  • Use adult skills, including logic and self-awareness.

I DID NOT:

  • Call names, make threats of any kind, or appear unduly frightening.
  • Use “You” statements, which put other people on the defensive.

Because I was following these rules, and my ex was just listening, this  actually became a little bit …

…. fun.

So when my ex’s girlfriend came into the room, soon after followed by my son, I informed them what was going on, like so:

It’s my birthday today, and I’ve decided what I want. I want that to be a day when I’m allowed to get angry at anybody I want to. Like now!

And everybody was okay with it, amazingly.

As a result, I felt much better. And there were even smiles and some laughing, in the room.

And from then on, my birthday was great.  Really and truly, one of the best birthdays, ever. Because, not only did I get these gifts:

  • Having my own anger, without consequence, and
  • Spending time with my son and my inamorato 1.

… I got these great gifts, too:

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carol card

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And the last (but not least) gift I’m going to show here ….

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Blogging Slippers!!!!

Thanks to my family, my friends, all those people who can express and/or hear anger in an effective way, and to you — of course!! — for reading today.


  1. Thanks to fellow blogger, babsje, who suggested this title for my boyfriend/studmuffin/honey/sweetheart/whatever-you-want-to-call-him, Michael.
Categories: humor, inspiration, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , | 53 Comments

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