Blair Ashby 720-789-4000

Coaching and Training
Learn how to minimize your suffering.

Three Stories about Communication

Here are three stories about communication styles. As you listen to or read these stories, think about the ways you talk with people, and how they communicate with you. What are your goals as you speak with them? What does it seem like their intentions are?

Generally, one purpose of communication is to express or resolve the emotional drives our brain and body are experiencing, even if we don’t realize it. Conversations start with our thoughts, generating our emotions, and then we create our lives via our words and actions that are compelled by those emotions. Therefore, if we want to improve our lives, we need to begin with our thoughts, so that our emotions compel us to actions and words that move us toward our dreams and goals.

Hi. My name’s Blair Ashby. I invite you to consider a new way to look at communication with others as well as with yourself. Now, let’s enjoy the stories. Each story will show a different way of dealing with conversation challenges.

Relationship 1

They were an average couple. They had been married for twenty-one years, had two kids, one in college and one living on his own. They had two trees, a dog, a charming home, and mid-priced cars to drive. They had met in high school, dated on and off throughout college, and eventually decided that they would rather be together than apart, so they got married.

Although neither one of them was an excellent communicator, they both tried. They used “I” statements the majority of the time, and they tried to speak politely to each other. However, if one of them had a challenging day at work, by the time they got home, that person’s usual politeness grew weak, and snarky comments would creep into the evening’s discussions. Usually, the other would just let the petty comments go. But when both people had a stressful day, the snarkiness became too much for either spouse to deflect. Eventually, one person would press too hard or take a comment personally, and a verbal nuclear war would erupt.

They had loud fights where they called each other nasty names, cried, yelled, and desperately tried to verbally beat the other person down to submission.  Finally, after hours or, sometimes, days of this, they always came back together when one of them gave in, or they both just grew tired of fighting.

Once peace took over the household, they went back to using “I” statements and being polite again until the next time that both of them had a bad day at work. Then the verbal cataclysm would start all over again.

Relationship 2

She thought her boss was a jerk! She always felt like he was talking down to her as if he was a superior human just because he was her higher up the corporate ladder than her. She also felt infuriated after he’d come to the front office to bark some commands at her and then seemingly flout his ability to give those commands. Yet, he paid her exceptionally well, and he gave her a remarkable bonus at the end of each year. She could live with his derogatory words and actions because at least he never did anything illegal toward her.

However, every day after work, she would go home and collapse onto her bed, exhausted from defending her emotional well-being and from his constant bragging about his greatness. It usually took her hours to recover. Ironically, her boss didn’t know any of this. He went home each day, exhausted from trying to be the bully that he thought she wanted him to be.

The emotional dysfunction between these two started over ten years ago in the very first interview she had with him. In that interview, he had asked her what the best way to give her instructions for a task was. Strangely he thought, she started talking about her father and his bullying techniques and how she hated it even though she still did the work beyond his expectations.  The boss felt confused, so he asked her to explain what she meant. She continued, “My dad was a jerk! However, I always did more than what he asked of me, even if I didn’t like how he asked me.” AAH CHOO! She sneezed suddenly. They both chuckled with surprise, and the boss said, “Bless you.” They were both so distracted by the sneeze that they never went back to the subject of her instruction preferences.

Unfortunately, and without knowing this had happened in his brain, the boss believed that she had said her dad’s attitude for giving instructions was the best way he could instruct her. He was sure she had said, “My dad was a jerk! However, I always did more than what he asked of me.”  So he began acting like a jerk as he gave her instructions. And just like she had said, she always went way beyond his expectations. So, he started behaving even more arrogantly towards her.

Conversely, to show how grateful he was for her and her efforts, he gave her a sizable bonus every year. Sadly though, because he also hated acting like a jerk whenever he talked to her, he rarely spoke to her socially between business conversations.

Relationship 3

They were instant best friends. At least that’s how it felt. They got along great, they enjoyed the same things, they thought the same way, it seemed like a perfect friendship.

About four months after they had met and started to spend a lot of time together, they disagreed about something. It wasn’t a big deal, even though it felt big because it was the first time they had quarreled. They had different perspectives on an issue on which they believed they had shared the same vision. The problem was personal to both people, and that was a big part of the disagreement. Thankfully, they both wanted to honor and respect the other person, even if they didn’t agree with the other’s position.

When they realized that they were not going to agree upon the issue, they changed directions in their thinking. Instead of fighting to be right, they decided to set up a system that allowed each person to be heard and respected. They created some basic rules to follow in that disagreement and future disagreements so that they could preserve their friendship, respect each other’s perspective, and be present and compassionate to each other. They both felt that the best way to carry their friendship forward was to create mutually agreed-upon boundaries of respect and compassion. That way, their relationship could grow and benefit no matter what their opinions were about any issue.
Consider this idea. In the stories above, the methods each couple used set up the relationship
to experience more stress or to improve.



How do you want the communication in your relationships to go?


In these three stories, we see different ways to navigate difficult conversations. Please notice your thoughts about the methods each pair used. Now, think about your loved ones and colleagues. How do you want the communication in your relationships to go?


Consider this idea. In the stories above, the methods each couple used set up the relationship to experience more stress or to improve. In my opinion, the third story is an excellent model for any relationship to follow. Whether it be a romance or a business colleague, relationships that build us up and support us, reward us with compassion, respect, and meaning. They make our lives better. In other words, good communication in relationships improves our lives.


Communication and conversations can be tricky events to navigate, especially if any of the people involved in the discussion are experiencing elevated emotions. When we are experiencing high emotions, our brains try to conserve energy by slowing down rational thought and speeding up automatic or habitual reactions. Speaking, word choice and sentence structure are instant for most of us. In other words, speaking is frequently automatic or habitual. That is why when we are experiencing high emotions, we sometimes say things we later regret. A choice of words mistakenly said in the heat of a moment occurs because we are not thinking with our full brainpower. Instead, we are relying on automatic reactions, which tend to represent how we feel in the moment, not necessarily how we think regularly.


Some methods to improve our communication and our lives are education, practice, and repetition. With my training, exercises, and conversation rehearsals, you can create new habits that better represent who you really are and what you honestly believe, even when you are experiencing high emotion.


I dedicate this website to building better relationships and lives through communication with others, and more importantly, with ourselves.


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I appreciate you. Thank you for inviting me to join you on your journey to better communication and a more rewarding life.



Gaining this skill will require intention, knowledge, and practice.


I will guide you in a gradual, gentle method so that you can accomplish your goals. I invite you to call me or contact me here to learn more. Once you decide you want a more satisfying workplace, relationship, and life, we can begin your training. Call me now to start creating your life your way.




PS: If you want the answer to the riddle, call me at 720-789-4000. I wont tell you the answer, but I will help you solve the puzzle yourself. Call me.



Self-compassion is a skill we learn faster when we practice together. Please sign up for my newsletter, and together, let's create better lives for ourselves. I will only send out a few emails a year.


Thank you.



Self-compassion is a skill we learn faster when we practice together. Please sign up for my newsletter, and together, let's create better lives for ourselves. I will only send out a few emails a year.


Thank you.