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Three Stories about Communication

Three Stories to introduce you to some communication styles and how to start improvng your life through 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. Interestingly, conversations start with the thoughts generating the emotions, and then we create our lives via our words and actions. 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 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 - "An Average Couple"

They were an average couple. They had been married for twenty-two years, had two kids, one in college and one living on his own. They had two trees, a dog, a charming home, and German 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 person 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 beat the other person down into 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 - "Distraction Then Distortion"

She thought her boss was a jerk! She always felt like he talked down to her as if he was a superior human just because he was her higher up the corporate food chain than her. She frequently 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 the 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 so she could be a competent worker.

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 technics 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 again. 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 loudly. 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 him, 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 - "Instant Best Friends"

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 about 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 an issue.

Thoughts about these three stories about communication
In these three stories, we see different ways to navigate difficult conversations. Please notice your thoughts about the methods each pair of people used. Now, think about your loved ones and collogues. 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; good relationships make our lives better.

Communication and conversations can be tricky events to navigate, especially if any 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 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 the moment occurs because we are not thinking with our full complement of rational thought. Instead, we are relying on automatic reactions, which tend to represent how we feel in the moment, not necessarily how we think regularly. The secret is education, practice, and repetition. With my training, exercises, and conversation rehearsal, we can create new habits that better represent who we really are and what we honestly believe, even when we are experiencing high Emotion.

I dedicate this website to building better relationships through communication.

With the goal of building better relationships through communication in mind, here is a simple outline that I use to guide my clients as they learn and practice better communication skills. If you would like more information, I go into more detail on the page Blair’s Communication Guidelines.

My Communication Philosophy

  1. Awareness
        1. If we know what we are thinking and feeling in our deeper layers, we gain more control over our discussions with others.
  2. Clear Speaking
        1. Once we have a better understanding of our deeper layers, the more clearly we shape our words and the more likely we’ll be understood.
  3. Reflective Listening
        1. Once we can see our emotions, we can see past them, so we respond to the other person’s words instead of reacting to how we feel.
  4. Compassionate Intention
        1. Who are we, truly? When we are in a conversation, what do we genuinely want? Our emotions want to be released right now. Our deeper layers may want to support our loved ones. How do we navigate this dichotomy?

The Communication Education I Offer

  1. Online Classes, Presentations, and Workshops
  2. Live Presentations, Classes, and Workshops (Due to Covid-19 these are on hold until further notice)
  3. Telephone or Video Coaching – Individual, Couples, or Groups
  4. Writing - Newsletters, Essays, Guest Blogs, this website

If you would like some immediate tools to help you navigate your current discussions, please read this page: Blair’s Communication Guidelines. My guidelines are a great source of free information to help you navigate your conversations, no matter what type of relationship you have.
Dear Friend,
Self-Compassion is a skill we tend to learn faster when we learn 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.
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I teach individuals and corporations how to recognize and clearly communicate their desires so that every action they take propels them toward their dreams and goals.
Blair Ashby - Self-Compassionate Communication Specialist
Blair Ashby
Teaching and Coaching Self-Compassion
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©2023 Broadlands Media, Inc
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Blair Ashby
Teaching and Coaching
I will not transfer or sell your data to anyone.
Please read the full disclosure here.

©2022 Broadlands Media, Inc
All rights reserved.
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