I've always been fascinated by clever wordplay.
Selective word choice can change the meaning of an entire sentence. And change the effect on the recipient! It's as simple as replacing one word with another.
To be able to articulate yourself (in my opinion) shows less intellectual intelligence, and more emotional intelligence.
With emotional intelligence you have a clear idea of your needs. Also, the needs of others.
High emotional intelligence also means that you don't put the needs of yourself onto others.
There's an obvious distinction between high and low emotional intelligence seen in the selective words chosen by a person. Let's look at a few examples...
"But" vs. "And"
"But" contradicts your previous statement, where "and" builds upon it. Replacing "but" with "and" allows you to get your point across without contradiction.
- "I'm very proud of the progress you've made, BUT if you try harder, I know you'll get there!"
- "I'm very proud of the progress you've made, AND if you try harder, I know you'll get there!
See the difference?
Which sentence delivered true words of encouragement? Which projected their expectations onto the other person?
"Try" vs. "Do"
The word "try" insinuates doubt of one's abilities. When you say you are "trying" to accomplish something, you're not committed enough to be successful.
I'm sure I'll be chastised for admitting to not having watched Star Wars, but I'll quote Yoda anyways.
"Do or do not. There is no try".
To set out to "do" something implies definiteness. That you are committed to following through until it's done.
If you try, and try again, and keep trying you'll get stuck in a loop of never getting anything done. Doing it is the only way forward.
So, are you "trying" to work on your goals? Are you "trying" to manage your OCD?
Or are you working on your goals? And managing your OCD?
**I want to make something very clear. Wordplay like this, or as I call it "Manipulative Wordplay" can be done unconsciously. It is often friends and family who unknowingly use wordplay to project their own insecurities and fears, but it can be co-workers, parents, even the front desk attendant at the gym you work-out at.
Once you begin to notice how specific phrasing is being used, you won't be able to unsee it.
Last example for today:
Giving an order vs. Ask a question
While writing How To Win Friends & Influence People, David Carnegie dined with Ida Tarbell. Her recent biography brought her to the office of Owen D. Young, lawyer and diplomat at the Second Reparations Conference in 1929.
Owen indirectly taught Ida a creative lesson regarding "getting along with people".
Giving an order, such as "do this or do that" or "don't do this or don't do that", is the opposite of cooperation. And in my opinion the opposite of opportunity.
Asking a question instead does three things:
- Encourages cooperation instead of rebellion.
- Stimulates creativity in the other person
- Causes accelerated learning
It also allows the other person to make mistakes and then be able to accept criticism. You can help them to be part of the next solution by asking the next question.
It's easy to do, but takes practice for it to come naturally.
You can rephrase any order by inviting them in on the conversation. Instead of giving the order for someone to: "take a shower after work so they can be more relaxed" try asking "What do you think about showing after work to relax".
Then there's the potential for a productive conversation.
Okay, that's all. To summarize, mean what you say & say what you mean. Semantics are important.
Clear communication is the key to a successful support group.