Kindness in Communication
Communication guides many aspects of kindness.
Kindness Communication Locally
Empathy Tent at Eugene Saturday Market – Come on by and get some empathy, and/or volunteer to be a “Listener.”
Nonviolent Communication (NVC), also known as Compassionate Communication, is a process developed by Dr. Marshall Rosenberg based on a vision of the world in which everyone’s needs are met peacefully through relationships guided by compassion. NVC can be used to:
- Cultivate a kinder, more authentic connection with yourself and others
- Re-establish trust and honesty in intimate relationships
- Improve communication among family members of all ages
- Create productive & cooperative ways of working among employees, staff & managers
- Translate wants & desires into requests that are clear, compassionate, direct & doable.
The Center for Nonviolent Communication provides information and resources.
The Oregon Network for Compassionate Communication (ORNCC) offers talks, trainings, practice groups and events.
Resources for Kindness in Communication
Why Kindness is Key When You Communicate
From Clear Thinking Communications and Susan Parker
The author identifies three concrete ways to be kind and, in the process, become a better communicator:
- Look for the best ideas in someone ‘s point of view: Good communications starts with openness to people’s ideas and new ways of thinking.
- Include people: When you bring new people into your circle, there’s a good chance that you’ll learn something new.
- Learn someone else’s “language:” When you take the time to learn someone else’s language (i.e., the words they use) you are showing them respect and kindness.
Kindness is the Best Way to Communicate
The author identifies a number of ways in which you can reach out to people through kindness:
- Act through love and kindness
- Praise someone who needs to know their worth
- Help an elderly person
- Stop being jealous or complaining
- Be the person who begins a conversation
- Write thank you notes
The Kind Habit of Constructive Communication:
Responding from a Place of Vulnerability and Interest
Doug Carnine, How Love Wins: The Power of Mindful Kindness
One way to prevent the unmindful-unkind cycle is to build a habit of constructive communication (verbal and non-verbal) based on vulnerability, respect, and interest in the other person. An important way to show interest in another person is to be curious about them and ask questions in a respectful manner. A different type of communication skill is asking questions to verify your beliefs.
Meta-Emotion: How You Feel About Feelings
As Dr. John Gottman explains in What Makes Love Last? and How to be a Great Listener, “If you can’t get beyond the belief that negative emotions are a waste of time and even dangerous, you will not be able to attune your partner enough to succeed.”
What Gottman means by “attune” is increasing your understanding of your partner and expressing acceptance and support. Dr. Gottman provides an easy path to attunement called the art of intimate conversation. The intimate conversation has the following steps:
- Put your feelings into words
- Ask open-ended questions
- Follow up with statements that deepen connection
- Express compassion and empathy
To understand the difference between happy and unhappy couples, Dr. Gottman and Robert Levenson began doing longitudinal studies of couples in the 1970s. They asked couples to solve a conflict in their relationship in 15 minutes, then sat back and watched. After carefully reviewing the tapes and following up with them nine years later, they were able to predict which couples would stay together and which would divorce with over 90% accuracy. Their discovery was simple.
The difference between happy and unhappy couples is the balance between positive and negative interactions during conflict. There is a very specific ratio that makes love last. That “magic ratio” is 5 to 1. This means that for every negative interaction during conflict, a stable and happy marriage has five (or more) positive interactions.