how to be a better communicator Archives | Life Coach Library

Stop Combo Dating!

Relationships & Family
first date last date

Combo dating: when the first date is so bad it’s also the last date   

What to do and what not to do

Whether you’re looking for Mr./Mrs. RIGHT or Mr./Mrs. RIGHT NOW, nothing can be as much fun yet at the same time nerve-wracking as a first date.   

The internet has profoundly changed the way we meet people and, in many ways, changed the rules of dating.  Whether you’re Tindering, Match.com-ing, or meeting the though your own social networks or by chance, here is some timeless advice to consider when you’re just over combo dating!   All of these are suggestions that may need to be tweaked to fit your lifestyle but keep an open mind, and you’ll understand why the rules became rules, to begin with.  

Time:

Anything after 10:00 is just a booty-call, right?  DO pick a decent hour to meet for a first date. You’re trying to get to know each other, and it makes sense to be both alert and sober when that happens.   It doesn’t matter if you’re a night owl and will be home watching TV with the cat that night, late evenings are for down the road.  

DON’T be late!  Fashionably late is unfashionable when it is at the expense of another person’s time and emotion.   It is disrespectful and sends a message that you are either undependable or inconsiderate of others.  Being on time will tell the other person how much you value the interaction and what they can expect from you as a person. 

There are exceptions.  Your car breaks down, your boss makes you stay late to finish a task, there’s an emergency.  Fine, pick up your phone and call and let the other person know and set their expectations of when you can meet or if you have to reschedule. 

Practice the 15-minute rule.  Always text/call if you will be more than 15 minutes late.  If you’re the one waiting, 15-30 minutes MAX is enough time to give someone.  Your time is precious, and you could be doing a lot of things besides sitting around waiting for someone to show up.    

Games

DON’T play them.   You know what I mean, but if not, don’t play games with people’s affections.   DO be honest about what you’re looking for.It is never a good idea to lead someone on. Whether you are looking for a causal relationship or something more serious, it is better to let the other person know.   This doesn’t have to be a discussion on the very first date, but it should be early on. If you’re getting a vibe that the other person is really out of sync with you (you want commitment, they want to play the field), then do bring it up.   It’s ok to simply ask where they are with it.  Trust your instinct to know if they are being honest and upfront with you or playing you.  Your gut reaction is often spot on if you listen to it.

At the end of the date, there is no need to ghost someone or play the waiting game. We are all adults here, so text or call them and let them know if you want to see them again or not. If you wish to decline the offer, do it politely not to hurt their feelings.

Dress

You don’t have to dress to impress but DO try to present yourself well.  It should go without saying (in my experience it is not), but basic hygiene is super important.  If you’re going to a ball game you can wear your jeans and a t-shirt, but please make sure they and you are clean and for the love of God, brush your teeth or carry breath mints! Even if you’re not smooching, bad breath is such a romance killer.  

If you’re going to dinner, it’s ok to ask your date if you should dress up or dress down.   You don’t want to show up in a suit or dress in a pizza place anymore that you want to be wearing flip-flops at the Ritz.  Whatever the venue is, it’s always nice and appreciated when you make an effort and look good. Not only does it make a good impression, but it will also boost your confidence, which in itself is attractive and sexy. 

Use your best judgement

DO be careful about comments on things such as appearance, social issues, politics, religion, and those types of sensitive topics.  These topics are important, and if it’s absolutely critical for you to know these things up front, then have at it. Still, I’m warning you that the potential for things to get intense and go south quick are far greater than the chance anything positive coming out of it.  If you end up going there, DO keep an open mind and you may delightfully see a new perspective.

It’s best NOT to criticize your date, not even playfully, or if you think you’re being funny.  Chances are you’re not.  Commenting on their hair color, or choice of clothes might be a fun tease later on, but when you meet for the first time, it’s better to be well-mannered and make the other person feel comfortable.  Oh, and weight….DO NOT, and I repeat DO NOT say anything about the other person’s weight!

Remember, this is a DATE, which is supposed to be light and fun and flirty. 

Affection: OK, everyone has their own standards with how physical first dates should be. Here are a few things to ponder.  You don’t really know each other yet, and sex can cloud thoughts.  When I say sex, I mean everything from holding hands to going all the way. Depending on what you’re ultimately looking for, just know that the level of affection you engage in on the first date sets the tone for the relationship.  Not just physically, but also emotionally.  If I may be candid, I am convinced that as evolved as we are in 2019, this primal instinct carries deep psychological implications and should not be taken lightly. My best advice is to be crystal clear on where your boundaries and stay true to yourself.

Those are the big ones, here are a few more.

DO show interest: You might have had a long day at work, but a date is no time check out or be self-absorbed.   You are not there talk all about yourself for the entire night nor to be the designated listener.  Show some interest in the other person, ask them questions, and get to know them.  People love a meaningful interaction, and the better the communication, the better your date will be. This is the time to get out of your cocoon – ask questions about their work, their family, their life aspirations, and you might be in for a treat. Listen to them and engage in the conversation. 

DON’T drink too much: This goes for both men and women! No one wants to go on a date and end up taking care of a drunk person. Drinking changes people, and if you’re looking to get to know the real person, that doesn’t happen when either of you is polluted.  You’re on a date, not at a frat or sorority party. 

DO give compliments: Do not be shy when it comes to giving compliments but DO make them sincere compliments. If you think she looks fantastic in that black dress, let her know! If you love the way he smells, tell him. Don’t hold back – these subtle flirtatious moments will help to make the night even more special. DO be respectful. Call me old fashioned, but this is just everyday manners.  

DON’T be a big-shot by showing off your education or wealth or any status in a cocky and arrogant way.  You can be confident yet kinds and humble.

Dating can be an enjoyable experience or an excruciating disaster.  The key ingredients for lasting relationships boil down to compatibility and chemistry.  Dating is the process of discovering if those critical components exist. In this technological age, remember the human.  We all seek good company and a loving friend. Be confident, have fun, and go with the flow!

If you’ve been out of the dating scene for a while and are unsure how to get back in, or if you’re looking for more out of your relationships, consider working with a Relationship Coach.   They are experienced helping people just like you reach your relationship goals.  Whether your goals are romantic or you want to increase business and social possibilities by learning better communication skills, a coach can help you get there faster than you will on your own.

At Life Coach Library its easy to find a coach.  Just register and fill out a survey.  We will match you with up to three coaches who are exactly what you are looking for, and they will all give you a free consultation. The best part…our service is completely FREE.    

Sources:  

https://www.scienceofpeople.com/first-date-tips/

http://www.psychology.com/articles/?p=392

How To Be a Better Communicator

Career & Business, Relationships & Family

 Seven ways to help you express yourself and be a better communicator

The Importance of Communication Skills

1. Be a proactive listener: What’s the difference between listening and proactively listening? You can be in a conversation with someone and say that you’re listening, you’re there physically, hearing them speak, but you still aren’t proactively listening to them.    

Proactively listening means you are present, conscious, and concerned with what the person is telling you. You’re not just physically present but also mentally and emotionally engaged. Proactive listening doesn’t mean you have to have answers or solutions to another person’s problems. Still, you do have a genuine concern and interest in understanding what they are feeling and trying to express.  It is vital to building trust in professional relationships and intimacy in social ones.  

How can you be a proactive listener? 

How can you be a proactive listener? To some people, active listening comes naturally.  It is an innate skill they seem to have been born with. Others must learn how to be more engaged, but it is something you can learn.   

First, be physically present. Being physically present means sitting in appropriate proximity with them, making proper eye contact as they speak.   What is considered proper space and eye contact can vary in different cultures, so be aware of these when communicating with people from different backgrounds. 

Secondly, listen with the intent to understand. Listen without judgment. Ask questions, show emotion, and interest.  Try paraphrasing what you just heard to show that you’re present in the moment with them. 

Third, try and support them without jumping in and offering advice if it wasn’t asked for.  Sometimes people aren’t looking for answers; they want to vent.  If you choose to talk about yourself, relate it to something the person was saying.    

2. Build trust by showing empathy 

For effective communication, it is essential to be able to show compassion. Empathy is recognizing and acknowledging another person’s emotions. It is validating that what they are feeling is valued and of significance. If we’re not able to show empathy, people tend to think that what they’re expressing is not important or isn’t appreciated. In addition to listening proactively, being empathetic requires ignoring distractions and acknowledging what another person is saying. 

How to be more empathetic 

First, here’s what you DON’T do.  The worst thing you can do is tell them “not to feel that way” or try to make them feel better by “one-upping” them. (this is when someone says something like, “you think that’s bad, something even worse happened to me”)  

As the listener, put yourself in their shoes for a moment. Try to feel what they feel, and then you will understand what it is they’re trying to say. Let them know it’s okay to feel whatever it is and that you support them (even if you don’t agree with their feelings, you can still show support of them as a person of value).  When you’re able to express empathy, there will be active, more in-depth communication. 

3. Improve non-verbal communication/body language  

Why is it essential to master non-verbal communication skills?  Studies show that 55% of all communication is non-verbal.  Non-verbal cues show attitude and emotion.  They send signals to the listener that are read both consciously and unconsciously.  Verbal and non-verbal communication work together.  While we use words to say what we want, our non-verbal communication must be consistent, or it will cause confusion and possibly distrust.     If someone is telling a sad story yet seems to be smiling or laughing, they seem cold or at the very least, in denial or shock.   If you avoid eye contact or have shifty glances, you’ll be perceived as dishonest or insecure.  

Be a proactive listener: What’s the difference between listening and proactively listening? You can be in a conversation with someone and say that you’re listening, you’re there physically, hearing them speak, but you still aren’t proactively listening to them.

Proactively listening means you are present, conscious, and concerned with what the person is telling you. You’re not just physically present but also mentally and emotionally engaged. Proactive listening doesn’t mean you have to have answers or solutions to another person’s problems. Still, you do have a genuine concern and interest in understanding what they are feeling and trying to express. It is vital to building trust in professional relationships and intimacy in social ones.

How can you be a proactive listener?

How can you be a proactive listener? To some people, active listening comes naturally. It is an innate skill they seem to have been born with. Others must learn how to be more engaged, but it is something you can learn.

First, be physically present. Being physically present means sitting in appropriate proximity with them, making proper eye contact as they speak. What is considered proper space and eye contact can vary in different cultures, so be aware of these when communicating with people from different backgrounds.

Secondly, listen with the intent to understand. Listen without judgment. Ask questions, show emotion, and interest. Try paraphrasing what you just heard to show that you’re present in the moment with them.

Third, try and support them without jumping in and offering advice if it wasn’t asked for. Sometimes people aren’t looking for answers; they want to vent. If you choose to talk about yourself, relate it to something the person was saying.

2. Build trust by showing empathy

For effective communication, it is essential to be able to show compassion. Empathy is recognizing and acknowledging another person’s emotions. It is validating that what they are feeling is valued and of significance. If we’re not able to show empathy,

people tend to think that what they’re expressing is not important or isn’t appreciated. In addition to listening proactively, being empathetic requires ignoring distractions and acknowledging what another person is saying.

How to be more empathetic

First, here’s what you DON’T do. The worst thing you can do is tell them “not to feel that way” or try to make them feel better by “one-upping” them. (this is when someone says something like, “you think that’s bad, something even worse happened to me”)

As the listener, put yourself in their shoes for a moment. Try to feel what they feel, and then you will understand what it is they’re trying to say. Let them know it’s okay to feel whatever it is and that you support them (even if you don’t agree with their feelings, you can still show support of them as a person of value). When you’re able to express empathy, there will be active, more in-depth communication.

3. Improve non-verbal communication/body language

Why is it essential to master non-verbal communication skills? Studies show that 55% of all communication is non-verbal. Non-verbal cues show attitude and emotion. They send signals to the listener that are read both consciously and unconsciously. Verbal and non-verbal communication work together. While we use words to say what we want, our non-verbal communication must be consistent, or it will cause confusion and possibly distrust. If someone is telling a sad story yet seems to be smiling or laughing, they seem cold or at the very least, in denial or shock. If you avoid eye contact or have shifty glances, you’ll be perceived as dishonest or insecure.

You can talk extensively about something, but if your non-verbal cues don’t match what you’re saying, you will not convince your audience to believe in you. Physical gestures should be consistent with the message we are trying to convey.

4. Be clear and concise

To be clear and concise is an essential communication skill. Whether it be written or oral, it’s best to get straight to the point without a lot of flowery and unnecessary words that are just meaningless. What you may think is an introduction to a topic may be thought of as a waste of time in getting to the point if it’s not directly connected to it.

How can you give value in an introduction to a topic?

First, make it informative and drop anything irrelevant. Avoid wordy sentences so that the point is not watered down with unimportant detail. Don’t be repetitive. It’s one thing to assert a position, but repeating the same point, again and again, is just overkill. If your point is not clear, try to illustrate or explain in different ways. An analogy is an excellent tool for this if the analogy is truly relevant. Check for understanding before offering more prolonged and more in-depth explanations. Maintain focus on your topic and make sure not to use too many words when you can say it with just a few.

Whether you’re speaking to a crowd or captivating an audience with your writing, it is best to be clear and concise to keep your audience’s attention.

5. Ask “good” questions

The manner you ask the questions says a lot about your communication skills. You ask questions to get information; to be fully committed and engaged; to understand what the speaker is trying to say; to affirm your interest.

To get good answers, you must ask good questions. As easy as it may seem, asking questions can be a bit tricky. Some pointed questions may be offensive. The tone of your voice and your body language are vital when asking questions in most settings.

  • Keep questions focused on what you really need to know. The questions asked should be based on the topic. Structure the questions based on the information you already have.
  • Discern if your question is best asked as open (an explanation) or closed (yes/no) ended. Is it rhetorical? If it is personal, can it be asked in a way that one can decline to answer comfortably?
  • Know the reason you’re asking. Do you need clarification? Are you looking for a different perspective? Are you looking for help with something?
  • Consider your intent: Are you looking for help? To start a discussion? An argument? What will you do with the information you get?

These awareness’ will help ease the flow of communication so that no one feels like they are being interrogated or put in an embarrassing situation.

6. Improve written communication

Written communication is a communication skill that not all people will take time to master. While some people are naturally gifted at putting their thoughts into written words, others do struggle.

How can you improve your written communication?

After you’ve done your research (if needed), try brainstorming. Brainstorming is nothing more than writing down all thoughts randomly, without any censorship, judgment, or concern for accuracy or cohesiveness. Then, go back and circle the main points you want to get across. From there, put them in some logical sequence. Maybe organize them by time or level of importance. Then construct your writing. If you are writing a letter, find a template online, there are thousands. If it is an essay, start with a basic 5 paragraph format (Introduction, 3 body paragraphs, conclusion). Use a free tool like Grammarly to check your grammar and spelling. Have a fresh set of eyes read your writing before you submit it whomever.

7. Learn to resolve conflict

Agree to disagree:

Agreeing to disagree means accepting other peoples’ opinions even if it is different from what you think. When two people have opposing viewpoints, it doesn’t always have to be that one person is right and the other one is wrong. Part of being emotionally and socially mature is the ability to accept the fact that other people may think differently and have different values. Some people who cannot allow other people’s opinions find themselves threatened that they might be wrong. This negative feeling hinders effective communication. Being open-minded or at least having a higher level of acceptance will allow you to feel comfortable in most situations. As a result, your thinking will stay clear and not clouded by the need to be right. Resolving conflict starts with accepting differences in opinions, views, and sentiments. Instead of getting angry, try to take it constructively as a different perspective you could learn from.

Strong communication skills are essential for success in both your social and professional life. Being adept at discussing and resolving problems, asking for and giving information, and interacting with other people with respect and dignity will pave the road to growth and happiness.

Save Filter
×
Menu
Account