Community//

The Forgotten Importance of Real Facetime

How to Determine When a Text or an Email Won’t Do

One of today’s challenges is deciding how to communicate matters of consequence, whether in business affairs or personal matters. The question here is which situations deserve real face-to-face communication. Although we live in a culture where messages with the potential to instigate nuclear disaster are “tweeted”, as an eternal optimist I invite us to take the need for more enlightened communication into our own hands.

As Ghandi said, “Be the change”… starting with revisiting how, in matters of consequence, we can have the courage to speak our truth, in person, with heart. Here I offer a practice that I have found helpful for determining when and how to have a face-to-face discussion of a MOC (Matter of Consequence) that supports the most optimal outcome.

First Inquiry: What is the level of consequence?

When you find yourself avoiding face-to-face communication, it helps to assess the possible consequences. Situations with serious consequences and the people involved in them (including you) may merit more complex and sensitive communication than a text, email or tweet. We can likely sort serious consequences into 3 categories:

  1. Grave: The failure to communicate may end in
    the cessation of life (not telling your partner you have AIDS or an STD).
  2. Acute: Your communication may affect
    someone’s professional, financial, psychological, social or physical well
    being (wanting to end a relationship).
  3. Chronic: Consequences involve situations that
    have history or are repetitive and your communication may result in
    unwanted consequences. This might be leaving a job you’re unhappy in but
    need the money so you’ve continued to put up with circumstances rather
    than discuss needed change.

Categorizing the consequences of your communication will help you assess what is involved, face your fear and plot your course of action.

Second Inquiry: How can you organize an approach that will set you up for an optimal outcome?

Using my Pause, Prepare, Practice and Center approach offers a reliable way to reduce a sense of urgency and create conditions for an optimal outcome.

  1. Pause: Take a few deep breaths. Pausing interrupts,
    the momentum of thoughts racing into the future. It helps you get some
    space from the situation, gain a different perspective, reduce reactivity,
    and separate out what’s true for you. It is difficult to settle on what is
    needed without first distilling your feelings and needs. Pausing allows
    time to consider any history involved, especially any issues related to
    your safety, including having been abused.
  2. Prepare: Decide based on your truth and
    integrity, what needs to be communicated; then the exact words to use; and
    when and where you want to say them. Preparation takes into consider
    others’ needs and our own.
    Having a script in advance helps prevent you from being overcome by your
    emotions or getting swept up in confusion or drama (theirs and yours). Then
    decide where you would like to be and what time of day. The whole thing.
    Have an OUT CLAUSE, a way to excuse yourself if someone becomes rude or
    inappropriate.
  3. Practice builds courage. Running through my script several times, practicing my
    delivery and various possible responses, increases my comfort and
    confidence. Though my message may be hard, even painful, to say, I remind
    myself that if I express myself with heart, having taken care to think it
    through, I am being true to myself and offering another human being the
    dignity and respect they deserve.
  4. Center: What practices help you get to a
    calm, centered place from which to know and communicate your truth? This
    involves letting go of the results, trusting that you have given this
    situation your best consideration. As Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj said,
    “There is what we do, and what we don’t do. That is all.” We cannot
    control the outcome; we can only hope that this interaction will lead to
    the highest good for all concerned whether or not that is immediately
    apparent. As another wise person said, “Just because you are uncomfortable
    doesn’t mean anything is wrong!”

Speaking your truth face to face in our culture is a courageous and soulful act. Thank you in advance for helping make the world a better place!

Maryanne Comaroto, PhD is a relationship specialist with a private practice in Marin County. One of her core beliefs is that great relationships begin within. She’s a researcher, author and teaches throughout the United States. She hosts an internationally syndicated radio program about new approaches to relationships. For more information visit www.maryannecomaroto.com

The Thrive Global Community welcomes voices from many spheres. We publish pieces written by outside contributors with a wide range of opinions, which don’t necessarily reflect our own. Learn more or join us as a community member!
Share your comments below. Please read our commenting guidelines before posting. If you have a concern about a comment, report it here.

Sign up for the Thrive Global newsletter

Will be used in accordance with our privacy policy.

Thrive Global
People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

- MARCUS AURELIUS

We use cookies on our site to give you the best experience possible. By continuing to browse the site, you agree to this use. For more information on how we use cookies, see our Privacy Policy.