People Skills 

With so much conflict among humans, it seems that getting back to basics would be a great idea. 

Robert Bolton, Ph.D. has written a great book on resolving conflict. “People Skills” is a book that truly explains the art of communication.  

You may have heard that communication is a two-way street. It is listening as well as asserting. It’s about relating to others and respecting them (and ourselves). 

As with the author, communication doesn’t come easily to everyone. Sometimes it takes effort, maybe even continuous effort.  

Start by listening intently. Listen to fully understand, not simply to respond or react. Also, try to avoid allowing your mind to wander when someone is speaking to you. This only accomplishes creating an interpersonal gap. This gap is a communication barrier that can lead to many other problems, such as family problems, vocational dissatisfaction, or psychological stress. 

Assertion can be difficult. But Dr. Bolton provides a very detailed assertion method in “People Skills.” Some of the steps in this method include preparation, sending the assertive message, silence, and reflective listening to the other person’s [possible] defensiveness. Preparation is so important because it allows us to discover exactly how or why another person’s behavior effects our life. He says that when preparing assertive messages, we have an opportunity to learn more about ourselves. 

As someone who has struggled to be assertive for most of my life, I was eager to try this assertion method. It’s been awkward at times but it is a learning process. 

I think most of us can agree that conflict is inevitable. Dr. Bolton also points out that humans may need some conflict to avoid stagnation and stimulate curiosity and creativity. It can be disruptive, but the goal is to keep it from being destructive. We can do this by focusing more on collaborative problem-solving.

Although it may not be easy, changing your communication style is possible. Try to remember that good communication always involves being genuine, empathetic, and non-possessive. Starting from there will make all the difference. 

I wish I understood many of the skills in this book when I was younger. It could have saved heartache and unnecessary drama. We are all on this earth at this point in time to relate to one another, not to avoid or hurt each other. 

Have you struggled with communication or relating to others? Comment below! And as always, thanks for checking out the blog today!

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