Communication For Dummies

I know someone who is very silly. She jumps to conclusions and seizes on half-truths and gets very emotional when you challenge her ideas.

She's so obviously wrong that when she speaks it's like hearing someone claim that 1+1 is 3. So, my response is to insist that 1+1 is 2. That's true, isn't it? That's why I keep saying it over and over again. She's got to realize it sooner or later, doesn't she?

No, she doesn't. She gets upset and ends the conversation, every time. And, I'm as dumb as a bull chasing a red flag for not seeing that. So, I have to do something different. But what?

Michelle Weiner-Davis says that in human relations aggressive disagreement never works. Aggressive complimenting does.

If you want to get through to someone, find things the other person says or does that you like and compliment her for it. People bask in compliments and relax their defences.

You won't be able burden them with too much contradiction. But you might be able to get a few ideas through, as long as you don't present them as criticism.

Now, it's painful to compliment someone you think is an idiot but according to Davis it's absolutely necessary. And, be systematic. Compliment on one thing at a time and then watch patiently to see if your compliments have any effect.

To twist a phrase from the great Steve Finkel: "It's how you train puppies, and it's how you communicate with people".

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