Last week I attended the weekly South Jersey Soul Connection open-mike night at Sam’s Bar & Grille in Pleasantville, hosted by my buddy and fellow Atlantic City Weekly columnist Ray Tyler.
I try to attend them when I can, because we have outstanding local talent in our area and it’s very inspiring to hear everything from the pleasant sounds of aspiring singers to the exquisitely put-together lyrics by spoken-word performers. But one of the best parts of the evening is the intermission before, during and after the acts, where Ray asks personal questions to the audience that evoke emotional responses. Of course Ray is used to keeping the momentum going because he is a weekly DJ on 96.1 FM for the “Breakfast Club” every Sunday from 7-8am.
The probing question this past week was along the lines of, “Is it OK to not want to have children as you get older?” Of course there were mixed reviews, but something like that is really up to one’s own personal preference. So there was no right or wrong answer, but somehow the conversation transitioned into relationships, marriage, and courting someone you are interested in dating.
That courting discussion was very intriguing. It got some great responses from the crowd and I felt it was something we all overlook in our relationships. As we get to know someone and want to become serious, we usually start the courting process. Now keep in mind I am writing from a woman’s perspective, but normally what would happen is that the man would send flowers to her work, take her for dinner, woo her with poems, etc. Once the relationship is solidified, sometimes things can change. We can start to get comfortable with our daily routines, we can become complacent with our emotions, and we might figure we don’t have to keep wooing our loved one because now we have them in our grasp. This happens all too often, and it’s something so obvious but we just don’t realize it.
According to relationship expert Terry Ross, “All it takes is those small gestures, nothing fancy, nothing time consuming, nothing expensive, just small and thoughtful little gestures that show love, respect and affection for each other. An indication that we still appreciate our marriage, our relationship and the life we have together — compliments should be regular, not a thing of the past and not something that you believe is no longer required. Ensure that you spend time together and relax, enjoy and appreciate each other’s company. Don’t lose those intimate moments no matter how hard it may be. Touch hands when passing, hold hands when you walk, kiss each other hello and goodbye, make time for a cuddle every day and never loose the excitement of the fleeting glance and the odd caress.”
Just remember that we are all people who want to be loved and have love. We want to know we are cared about. Take a minute to call, e-mail, or even text a loved one, and tell them something that you know will ignite that inner spark.
This Weekend Is Packed!
This Friday, Oct. 22, come out and support the Alcove Center for Grieving Children and Families for the eighth annual “Harvest of Hope” Wine Tasting, Restaurant Sampling and Silent Auction from 6:30-9:30pm in the Palladium Ballroom at Caesars Atlantic City. All the proceeds benefit the programs that the Alcove offers. They are located on Tilton Road in Northfield, and have helped thousands of children and adults cope with the loss of a loved one, all at no cost. This is a worthy cause and something desperately needed in our community. Come out and see what we are all about. For more information go to thealcove.org.
On Sunday, Oct. 24, Olympic gold-medal winning wrestler and actor Kurt Angle will debut the first “Kurt Angle Teen Challenge” inside the Taj Mahal for the 2010 MMA Sports Extravaganza & Expo from 10am-2pm. They are looking for teams of four people, ages are 13-19, male and female, to compete in challenges such as chin-ups, water jug carrying and tire flipping to name a few. You can register at the event, or go online to kurtanglefoods.com and follow the link to “Teen Challenge.”
Were you ever in a situation where you had to recall details of a conversation you had with someone and, when you did, the other person recalls something different?
This happens quite frequently. We think we remember every detail and try to convince the listener that what we are saying is the only way it happened, when, in fact, it is our perception that leads us to have so much conviction with what we remember.
It also has to do with the differences between hearing and listening. I remember going to a couples seminar with my hubby a few years ago and they had us do a fun listening exercise. They gave us a list of questions to ask one another, but here was the catch — the asker had to also repeat back what they heard for the answer by prefacing it with, “What I heard was...” So for instance, my husband asked me the question “What are you thankful for?” and I said, “I am thankful that I have a roof over my head and I can go food shopping.” Every year I am always so thankful that we can go to the grocery store and get things we need, especially in cases like stocking up before a snowstorm, even if we go crazy and get too many things we don’t need. Anyway that’s all beside the point. After I gave my answer, my husband sarcastically says, “OK, what I heard was that you like to spend money on food.”
We both had a chuckle, but it really goes to show you that even though this was said jokingly, we both knew that when it comes to our daily conversations we hear things differently, and have our own unique opinions on every situation.
Men and women have different ways of communicating. For instance, Dr. Deborah Tannen gives an example of a married couple driving in a car when the wife turned to her husband and asked, “Would you like to stop for a cup of coffee?” “No thanks,” he answered truthfully. So they didn’t stop. The result? The wife, who had indeed wanted to stop, became annoyed because she felt her preference had not been considered. The husband, seeing his wife was angry, became frustrated. Why didn’t she just say what she wanted?
Unfortunately, he failed to see that his wife was asking the question not to get an instant decision, but to begin a negotiation. And the woman didn’t realize that when her husband said no, he was just expressing his preference, not making a ruling.
When a man and woman interpret the same interchange in such conflicting ways, it’s no wonder they can find themselves leveling angry charges of selfishness and obstinacy at each other. So as you can see, miscommunication can cause undue issues within any form of a relationship. Listening and understanding are very important for both men and women.
Here are some tips for effective listening according to bnet.com:
1. Concentrate on what others are saying. Try not to think about all the errands you have to run and the emails that need to be returned.
2. Send a non-verbal message that you are listening. Nod your head or look into their eyes.
3. Avoid early evaluations. If you feel negatively in the beginning then you will feel that way throughout the message and it may distort the intended meaning.
4. Avoid getting defensive. You may not always agree with the other party’s point of view, but try to listen to what the other person is saying without becoming overly defensive. Effective listeners can listen calmly to another person even when that person is offering unjust criticism.
5. Practice paraphrasing. It’s the art of putting into your own words what you thought you heard and saying it back to the sender.
6. Listen and observe for feelings. Listen to the words being said and concentrate on the tone and inflection.
7. Ask questions. Effective listeners make certain they have correctly heard the message. Ask questions to clarify points or to obtain additional information. Open-ended questions are the best.
Make sure you soak in the listening tips above and also try to implement these new strategies in your next conversation. Hear what I’m saying?
Whitney is an on-air multimedia personality, and works behind the scenes helping businesses gain extra exposure, through her WIN Promotions video production services.