This week I decided to explore human relationships, starting with the topic of communication. In particular, I was wondering: what does the comfort in communication between people depend on?
Does it depend on your interlocutor and other “external circumstances” (what is his/her personality, what he/she thinks about you, etc.) or on your personal internal characteristics (self-esteem, character, etc.)? Or maybe it’s a mutual process that depends on both sides (how well people fit together, the chemistry between them, energy, etc.).
Let’s reflect on this.
What is comfort about?
It is quite clear that when we think and talk about comfort in general, we most often associate it with household amenities or smart devices. In other words, we link comfort with the things that surround us.
Obviously, we are moving in a flow, in a regular rut, repeating our usual actions from day to day. Sometimes we bring new bright events to our day, from time to time arrange a holiday, and rarely look at our day and ourselves from the outside.
Imagine an ordinary day of an ordinary person – a chain of actions, repetitive events. Here our hero woke up, took a shower, brushed his teeth, ate his usual breakfast and drank a cup of coffee.
We create comfort for ourselves from things – convenient, useful and simply pleasant. But if you look with a fresh eye, you can see that, in fact, the state of comfort depends much less on things, because a person gets used to it very quickly, and can feel comfortable in a wide variety of conditions.
To a much greater extent, our state of comfort depends on the people around us.
For example, a woman is annoyed by men’s socks scattered around the house. It would seem – things. But it is clear that this is not what is annoying. Probably, behind the socks lying on the floor, there is a whole chain of moments concerning the relationship with the person who throws these socks.
In other words, it’s not the things that are annoying, but the attitude. Thoughts such as “he is inattentive,” “he doesn’t care,” “he doesn’t want to do anything,” “he doesn’t appreciate,” etc, come to mind when we are faced with a similar situation.
Bringing comfort to communication
So, for most “social beings”, the keys to comfort and peace of mind lie in the area of human communication and relationships. If we look at comfort from this point of view, then by bringing comfort to communication, we can change a lot in the space that surrounds us.
Indeed, as soon as communication with people becomes comfortable, then … voila! There are less stress, more pleasant moments in life, your house turns into a more comfortable place, work becomes less tiring, people around stop bothering you and change into pleasant people.
So how can we change our usual style of interaction and make communication with people truly comfortable? Comfortable both for ourselves and for others (well, not necessarily for everyone – there are always exceptions, you can simply not communicate with someone).
Let’s dive deeper.
At first glance, it seems that our comfort depends on external circumstances, for example, on other people or certain events that, you think, you can’t influence.
In fact, this is one of the greatest human delusions. Because one thing is a circumstance, and quite another thing is our response to it! And if we can’t always control the circumstances, our reaction is entirely in our power!
For example, your no longer little son came home late. You were waiting for him, you worried, and when he finally appeared, you scolded him with indignation. As a result, you both have a spoiled mood. But the funny thing is that after a while the situation repeats itself again.
If we look at this situation with an open mind, from the outside, without resentment and reasoning about what is right and what is wrong, we can conclude that in fact the strategy of “expressing everything to him with indignation” doesn’t work.
After all, this doesn’t bring about a change in behaviour, and as a result, all participants get only discomfort. If we want to make a difference, we need to change our strategy. In other words, modify our reaction.
Obviously, in familiar situations, the “circumstance – reaction” relationship works like a vicious circle. This circle has been formed over the years, and sometimes it seems that it is simply impossible to change it.
However, everything is much simpler. In order to feel comfortable in dealing with people, we can change our habitual reactions, replacing them with new, more suitable ones. Actually, by bringing awareness to this process, we are already changing a lot.
Practicing a new reaction
In order to understand how this works in practice, let’s try a simple exercise.
Choose from your experience a situation, reacting to which you feel uncomfortable. For instance, after communication with some person, you can notice that you are either irritated, feel guilty, or have any other unpleasant emotion.
Detach yourself from this situation and look at it as if watching from the box of the theatre the actions taking place on the stage. What’s happening? How do you react?
Now come up with a new scenario for your reaction and replay it in your mind several times. And set yourself up the next time this situation arises, to react consciously, in a new way.
It seems that the comfort in communicating with people does not depend on other people and external circumstances but on your reaction. However, not everything is as simple as it might seem at first glance. Next time, we’ll look at other aspects of human communication, such as how your personal characteristics can affect the quality of communication and make it more comfortable.