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Monday, April 13, 2009

Where Are People Who Are...?

The short answer to this is that great relationships are made and not found. You make relationships that are based on ethical, positive, encouraging and forward-seeking interactions on purpose. There are people around here on this forum who are just like that - you're not SEEING them! There are people around you LIKE THAT, you're not noticing them.

One way to recognize people like that is to talk to anyone you believe is "like that" on the phone using Skype, if you can't find people close to you. Once you have some of Those People to talk with, then you'll get better at recognizing them when you run into them in person. That's what I've been doing lately.

Partly, I recognize people like this because they have other friends and aren't isolated. But sometimes, that's not always true. People who are good at relationships have lots of friends - usually from all walks of life. People who don't have lots of friends sometimes find themselves in that position because they're in a situational bind, have moved house to a new location...or sometimes these are older people who have out-lived their passel of long-time friends. Or sometimes they've gone through a breakup, grief, etc. Interesting to note that one of their characteristics of people like this is that they are not people who put accomplishing things in front of their friendships. Relationships come first, then accomplishments. Of course, there's always a trade-off.

The other thing is that people who are ethical usually had a pretty OK childhood...OR they HAD to put out quite a bit of "inner work" to change the effects of bad conditioning for themselves. Although an interest in "inner change" can outline the gaping, jagged edge of where someone falls short and continues to fall short, sometimes it's at least an indicator of intent. So if you get this agreement from people, you can be on the road together, forgive the shortfall in each other generously, and have fun along the pathway to continuing self-improvement.

I learned quite a bit from books and websites. Whenever I saw someone doing that "Take On Personal Challenge" in real life, I would sidle up to them and get to know them personally. For instance, I met Dennis Rivers at an ongoing David Bohm Dialogue group. Dennis was able to get the group to try things that nobody else could convince them to do because someone would always object - Dennis' ways of communicating could quiet people's objections and defensiveness! What he has to say about this on this website is brilliant: He's also got a free "workbook" to help teach better communication.

But watch for this; lots of people who can write do so as if they have the answers. But they cannot deliver because they are lousy teachers. What they say is the way to learn what they are doing will not work...or won't work for you if you do not have identical point of view compared to theirs. The way to learn from these people is to get in their presence and "soak it up" from them...while disregarding their confusing presentations. Look for those who offer their content from a sense of being on a mission to better the world...sometimes this does NOT include being "market savvy."

The short list of books that helped me recognize people who are forward-thinking and capable of having long-term relationships are:

"Don't Shoot the Dog" by Karen Pryor It's a book on why reinforcement works during training - both positive and negative. It brings together the intellectual ideas of behaviorism with the practical experience of training, which is communication through example and action rather than language.

Check out all the books by William Ury and Fisher that are in the series on negotiation skills, such as "Getting Past No" and "Getting to Yes" , etc. There is a new book I think it was Fisher just wrote about the emotional factor that is brilliant. Here's an article:
These books on negotiation make you realize that you are building tacit agreements when you start any relationship that can become problematic or be a foundation later times it's not possible to "think ahead" when you don't know what you are this is how to re-negotiate tacit agreements before they become problematic enough to require professional intervention.

The area of non-violent communication is also an interesting field...Also is the "Speaking Circles" authenticity work by Lee Glickstein

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