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Weekly Doses of Pop-up Psych

We all make cringey mistakes and deserve to move on, rather than feel confused or regretful after an icky social situation. Each week, I will dissect a murky social, life cycle, or pop culture topic to help you understand, learn, and move on. As a former academic, I am a super-picky consumer of research (and you should be too) as well as the content I create and share, so those new solutions, data and/or additional resources have certainly met my approval.

Tailoring Connections: Exploring Diverse Communication Methods for Different Situations

 

You get a long text from someone who is angry with you.  How do you respond? Do you text them back because they texted you? Do you attempt to have a verbal conversation with them by phone, video, or in real life to resolve it? Just because we have a favorite way to communicate, doesn’t mean it is the best for that situation. 

 

When we typically talk about communication barriers, we think of speaking language or struggling to understand each other’s intended messages.  In the digital age, we have  many choices on how to communicate with each other.  How do we know we are using the best method for that situation?  

 

Method of communication is not one size fits all

 

One of the earliest forms of communication was hieroglyphics, Egyptian symbols that precluded the English language that are ironically similar to emojis. In present times, we have a menu of options on how to communicate.

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Aside from the old school communication methods of IRL (in real life) interactions, writing letters/postcards, talking on the telephone, we also have video calls and conferencing, emailing, texting, posting and commenting on social media, chat apps, direct messages, as well as video and audio messages that can all be done with a wifi connection. It was probably one of the happiest days of my late grandfather’s life when he learned he could make long distance calls for free through the internet, as opposed to paying for a long distance call.

 

Writing as the best form of communication

 

When communicating facts, it’s best to text or email so everyone has the right numbers, address, and content so recipients are clear on the information. Never forget that any written or digital form of communication could end up being shared with other people or in court. Digital communication lacks authentic emotion, so the recipient could easily misconstrue the intended message. For instance, a joke can get lost in context without seeing the sender smiling and laughing. 

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Verbally talking as the best form of communication

        

Emotional conversations are best saved for face to face, phone, or video conversations to minimize the chance of misunderstanding.  Also, talking can also be more efficient than email, texting, or chatting because it might be easier to go back and forth to answer questions, especially ones that are technical. 

 

Other communication considerations

 

Tailor your communications by considering the relationship of the source or recipient

 

Aside from the message’s content, what is the best way to get in touch with certain people? Some people will only text and message, while others will actually hold video calls. Friends and family might be more personal, like texting or random video calls.  Professional contacts usually work best with email and scheduled phone or video calls, unless best stated otherwise. 

 

Tailor your communications by considering Emotional, Social, and Device Intelligence 

 

Device intelligence is thinking before posting, like emotional intelligence that considers   emotions and knows how to manage one’s own behavior and relationships. If there is a post in question, either sleep on it, have it peer reviewed, or remind yourself of the intention of the message. It might be a vent session that doesn’t need to be sent or posted. Someone could take a screenshot before you unsend or delete a message or post, so never post impulsively when you are emotional.

Tailor your communications by considering the source or recipient might be unplugged

 

Although we are so used to getting immediate responses, there is no rule that messages must get answered right away. It’s healthy to unplug, but people could also be in contexts (driving, in a meeting, on another call, in the shower, practicing self-care, with family, etc.) where they can’t always drop what they are doing to respond to a text or answer a call. Be patient with him/her/them and realize they will be with you when they can.

 

What about your own communication tendencies?

  

What is my favorite method of communication?

How does my method of communication vary per topic?  

How does my method of communication differ among family and friends?

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