Does Anyone Know How to Communicate Anymore?

Preparing medical response to disasters - Nairobi, Kenya - 05-2010

Article by Wendy McCance

Honestly, what’s wrong with people these days?  Doesn’t anyone know how to communicate anymore?  I am so fed up,  just simply angry at the way people treat each other.  People aren’t emotional punching bags for those who are feeling rotten.

Maybe I have always lived in a dream world.  Maybe the world has always been a place where people can take out their distress onto others without a care in the world.  No worries of the damage they are doing to those around them.  Has the world always been in such a sad state?

People are always so rushed.  They feel that their own time is so much more precious than those around them.  You see these people everywhere.  At the store in a line getting agitated if they must wait one second longer than what they had anticipated.

You see the people who are rude.  No smile on their face, no pleasantries with those around them.  Just barking orders and expecting others to jump.  It’s exhausting, depressing and makes me lose faith when I see people who react in this way.

But, what about within families or between friends.  Those you are closest to.  You want to believe those are the people who have your best interest at heart.  Surely they won’t yell and scream and carry on.  They know how to communicate even if what they need to discuss is unpleasant or if they are just in a bad mood, right?

What gives these people the right to snap at you?  Listen, you can get the exact same point across without yelling, swearing, stomping your feet or slamming doors.  Why on earth would you want to put all those around you into a state where they feel they must tiptoe around you to avoid your horrible mood?

I’m exhausted.  I just want to find myself surrounded by people who can take even the worst of their feelings and explain their point of view in a civilized manner.  Who knew this was on your mind?  Just talk about it.

The worst part about the way some people communicate is that yes, it might get someones attention, but in the worst possible way.  Do you really want the walls to go up and the person to shut down?  Don’t you want to feel heard and cared about.  Don’t you want to feel that your feelings matter?

It’s incredible how few people get that it’s truly all in the approach.  You can say the exact same words (as long as they don’t contain swearing or put-downs) and get a terrific response.  Wouldn’t you like for someone to hear you and say that they hadn’t realized you felt that way?  Wouldn’t it be a good feeling to know that someone wants to work with you to solve whatever is bothering you?  How nice would it feel to have an ally instead of feeling that you are fighting against the person you really love and want on your side.

Calm down and breathe.  Choose your words with care and consider the other persons feelings.  You might be surprised at the remarkable reaction you will get from that caring person if you just give them some respect and approach them with a calm, rational tone and some well-chosen words.

If you can’t do this, than you aren’t ready to talk.  Get out and take a break.  Calm down.  Life is too short to be pissing off those who you love and love you too.

Wendy McCance

Wendy McCance is a Michigan based freelance writer and social media consultant. Wendy has gained attention as the founder of the popular blog Searching for the Happiness which can be viewed in 6 local papers online, including the Oakland Press.The combination of writing skills and social media knowledge is what makes Wendy such a powerhouse to work with. Stay tuned for opportunities to advertise, guest post and as always, have your questions answered.

To contact Wendy McCance about a writing assignment, interview or speaking engagement, please email her at: [email protected]

34 thoughts on “Does Anyone Know How to Communicate Anymore?

  1. Another good post Wendy that sparks conversation with today’s culture. It takes me back to when my girls were toddlers.

    I remember teaching them about our pet dogs and trying to get them to understand they had feellings. They were so little they couldn’t understand when our dogs ears or tails were pulled it hurt because they didn’t feel it themselves.

    I think that’s partly what’s going on with communication today and the digital age. There’s a disconnect in that we don’t realize that the things we say or do can actually hurt others.

    • Hi Pat, I am not thrilled that my kids are growing up learning the proper way to text instead of writing letters or making phone calls. It’s a more abrupt and in your face society now. oh, and don’t get me started on how much patience people have now. :)

  2. Oh how sad this all sounds and I really count myself as most fortunate that this is not my experience of life. I live in the UK on the border with Wales - the most sparsely populated area of England. Maybe that means we generally have time for each other. So perhaps the phenomena related here is more common in urban environments in which the majority of people live. I do see problems in families with teenagers, but that was ever the case. They were complaining about rowdy youth in the 18th century! But these problems pass and my 12 grandchildren are growing up into beautiful people.

    My observation is that most people are being good most of the time. It’s in the nature of nature to nurture and Lau Tzu was right: The norm of the earth is serenity and peace. All things return to peace, even strikes, arguments and wars.

    Could part of the problem be the difficulty direct communicators have in communicating with indirect communicators? Those who are indirect in their communication style feel that direct people are rude. Direct people, on the other hand, think indirect people are soft. When we taught communication skills we helped people deal with this by recognising the style of the other person and adapting to it - learning to be less or more direct according to the need. It solved a lot of communication difficulties. Namaste.

  3. There are many individuals who fall whithin this category. Coming from New York, this rude behavior is not new to me. Talk about being rude! Have you notice that kids don’t speak to each other, but rather text one another? No personal interaction at all. Communication appears to be a thing of the past. People don’t respond to you, they don’t apologilize, they think that you owe them the time of day, and if it were allowed, they would sent you a bill for time spent with you. Many of them don’t want to be bothered with your situation, no matter how minute.

    When I’m involved on a project, and someone addresses me , I stop whatever I’m doing, and give that person my full attention. I want him/her to feel accepted, and not rejected. Those around you are very important, if not to you, well, their loved ones. If you want to be treated well, and also respected , return the favor when someone goes out of their way to make you feel, as if you are the only person on the planet. Blessings.

  4. Wendy being courteous to other is dying art. As person who deals with people I can tell you that when your courteous people today see it as “weakness.” This idea is personified by what they see on TV and in our media. Defacing a person and treating them with indifference gives the person a sense of power. You see this often in our current leadership.
    If you want people to communicate properly then our “high profiled” personalities need to set the bar. People today do not understand the truth and can you blame them? The truth is been distorted by false promises. This makes people upset and the result is “indifference” for one another feelings which leads to poor communication.

  5. You are so right there are so many rude people around and what is really sad is that they do not think they are rude they think that the way the talk is alright and the norm and yes in some cases it is the norm but that doesn’t make it right………….it is as if manners are not taught now days and children and teenagers think it is alright to talk back to their parents and other adults and then they grow up into rude adults…………….it makes me so bloody mad

  6. Wendy, you have spark a fire. I have felt that people are getting ruder. I was at an outdoor event last year and a woman was talking not paying attention and spilled a little bit of her water on my foot. I said “wow you spilled water on my foot”, she did not acknowledge it or apologize. It just amazes me how people will bump into you in a store and not say a thing. It is our society today unfortunately.

  7. I think it has gotten much worse in recent years. There are so many ways in which we lack to properly communicate and with it lack respect for the people around us. We are getting used to having everything instantly, from streaming movies, to having our cell phones attached to our bodies. Things like adding every thing you do to your social networking sites don’t help, I think it makes people feel they are more important than they are.

    I remember an incident many years ago when a cashier was very rude to my son who was only 5 at the time. He was minding his own business when she noticed he had his ear pierced, and began to tell him what a horrible mother I was for letting him do it, I was standing right there. I asked her to talk to me instead, but she didn’t and continued to talk very disrespectfully to my son. Rather than cause a scene I finished my transaction, then walked to the customer service counter to ask for the manager. I calmly told him what we had dealt with and told him I worried other people would be treated the same and thought he should know. He asked me to wait there a moment and went to confront the cashier, she admitted what I said was true and he fired her on the spot. He told me no one would be permitted to treat customers that way.

    Today I see signs everywhere asking for help but having to list conditions such as must be able to leave your problems at home, or can’t have cell phone with you on the job. It’s not just the customers but everyone who has forgotten how to communicate and have respect for those they are doing business with.

  8. To me it seems as if people are being pushed over the edge. It is called “divide and conquer.” Also, old fashioned Christian standards and values don’t apply anymore for even Christianity is divided up into 41,000 denominations. People consider me “weak” or even “crazy” because I treat others well at all times, and all different levels of people. When I make a commitment or promise, I keep it. And I’m 65 and don’t have any recollection of disappointing another person. Yet I have not been treated that way in return. I also think that we are slaves in USA. When me and my Viet Vet were first married in 1969, he worked normal hours and I stayed home, breastfed, organic gardening, or part time jobs. Now it takes both man and woman to have the same standards as we had. Also both people are working, sometimes 2 or 3 jobs, for a home they never get to enjoy. Loaded with debt. Lawlessness abounds at least for law-abiding citizens. There needs to be a moral and cultural revamping in USA. We are certainly turning into a third world country and it is happening at free fall status. Instead of our country progressing into “higher” values and ideals, we are declining worse than when we came from our parent country.

    • “Loaded with debt…” You hit the nail on the head with that one. People could manage if they were content to wait for some things instead of getting saddled with debts. (Guilty as charged, Your Honour. So soon old, so late smart.) I’m with Dave Ramsay on this one.

  9. Sadly, apathy is a sign of the times. Listen to our national politicians & how their apathy has paralysed gov’t; look at the rate of gun violence & the national response; look at our sport heros, if they are not fighting fans, they’re fighting each other; our gov’t. no longer protect us from greedy corporations; we don’t care about the earth or nature; it’s every man & woman for his or herself. Nobody cares anymore, we commoners have lost the capacity to care. I didnt always feel this way. I didn’t always see the apathy. I do now; sadly, its very real.

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  12. It’s amazing though, what you can do with people like this (gulp — ME?) If you make them realize you’re on their side, you avoid a lot of headaches. One day a customer came into our donut shop and wanted Earl Grey Tea. For some reason we didn’t have any right then and that set him off. “I’ve been here… I’ve been there, NOBODY has E.G.Tea… It’s popular. Why don’t you have it? Rant, rant…”
    I agreed with him. “You’re right, we should. It is popular and we should stock it. Next time you come in we’ll have it.” Next time he came in I told him right off, “We have your E.G.Tea.” He was mollified and a bit less grouchy.
    Next time he was in, I got an excellent opportunity to be on his side. I’d filled his travel mug with E.G.Tea and he’d paid, turned around and was about to walk out when I called him back. “You forgot your mug.” He’d left it on the counter.
    He came back sheepishly mumbling about forgetting his head if it wasn’t attached. After he left a co-worker, remembering the first incident, said, “I’d have just let him forget it here.” But after that I found him fairly pleasant, though I heard one of his own workers say of him, “He’s one of the most miserable men alive.”

  13. My experience is that people are less kind and more rude than ever. I believe many of us are more stressed than we know, and it’s affecting our interpersonal interactions. Also, as a society we have become more narcissistic, less community oriented, and more tolerant of bad behavior. The big question of course, is why, but that question can’t be answered in a forum such as this. It’s taken decades to get us to this point and enough people are going to have to want change before that occurs, if it’s not too late already. In the meantime, we need to hold our family members accountable for their treatment of us, and vice versa. My husband gets huffy about some issue and he crosses a line, and I tell him, “I’m not going to engage with you until you treat me respectfully.” I cross a line with him, and he says, “You need to apologize.” My sons get out of line, and I tell them. We have to be consistent and relentless in this regard. As the preachers say, we need to “speak truth to power.” (Actually, I heard Sean Hannity say this the other day, and it sounded weird coming from him, lol!) I’ve written about all of these issues on my blog.

    • Thanks for your thoughts Crystal. I am still holding out hope that people will see that we get one life and that slowing down and enjoying each moment is worthwhile. it’s in the simple things you appreciate that I believe you begin to treat others kinder as well.

  14. Is this rush the result of those who want to have all done for then or the few who found how to do for themselves? The person who learns how to do makes it right on through, counts their blessings,
    thankful for simple things and enjoys what can be enjoyed. It is not possible to always avoid the
    rush but by choosing less there is less to worry about.

  15. Communication .. “Means” to form a flawless ‘Mirror Image’ of your thought processes in the Mind (s) of the person(s) with whom you want to COMMUNICATE.
    We all know that in the processes of Communication, Every Part of our Body
    ( From the Hairs of the Head to Toe nails) speaks including Thought Processes going in our minds. Forming a mirror image in the mind(s) of others isn’t easy as mental level of each person(s) is not the same.
    Though the art of Communication can’t be perfected, it can be improved a lot if we understand the meanings of following 5 Words in Real sense and not in LITERARY sense.
    These 5 Words are;
    Pathy : Means to Communicate with “Mind , Body & Soul”
    Pathos’s : Meaning to Kindle Hope, Desire, Enthusiasm at highest level etc
    Apathy…do away with absence of Emotions, Desire, Feelings etc.
    Empathy… Ensure to communicate with Emotions ,Desires, Feelings..etc.
    Whereas your Sympathy should mean…To synchronize with Others’ Feelings, Emotions, Desires and so on so forth….

  16. Perhaps part of what’s wrong with people’s attitudes comes out of the ‘boob tube’. In their favorite shows the characters are in constant conflict. It adds drama. For many folks, life would be too blah if everyone just got along; it feels good to have an adversary to focus on, fume against and complain about.
    Adds drama to the boring routine of life. Then once you have antagonists (real or imagined) — people who are out to thwart you — well, of course you are justified in responding in like antagonism. Soon everyone is your adversary and you’re snapping their heads off.
    Another factor: One older lady I worked with just wasn’t happy unless
    A: someone had done something nasty to her. “My sister invited my two other siblings to the party, but not me.” She’d talk about it all day. Even if the weather forecast was for snow and ice, she was delighted to tell every customer how awful the driving would be that night.
    B: She could get under one of her co-worker’s skin. Another worker told her one day, “Blue, you are never happy unless you’re making someone else miserable.” I kid you not; if she knew she was getting to you, she’d be absolutely gleeful.
    She could take the slightest negative remark and “reword” it to a major insult and rehash it with others all day. I concluded the woman was addicted to self-pity. When she had reason to feel sorry for herself it seemed to comfort her.

  17. There are consequence to that kind of behavior. I watched a guy yell at a poor airline agent about a delayed flight due to weather conditions. He demanded to be place on another flight. He was so adamant about his demand he missed what she was saying, that the flight he wanted to be moved too may be cancelled. He was so insistent that the airline agent gave him his wish. Our flight left an hour late. His flight was cancelled. I wonder what he thought when that happen, but i have to say I was glad he wasn’t on our flight.

  18. Written with feeling, so very powerful stuff Wendy. I know how you feel, I think at some stage, we’ve all been there. Voicing your feelings must be therapeutic. It certainly is reading it and realising, you’re not alone in your frustrations. But look where we are now Wendy. Successfully blogging and communicating with the world. So keep doing what you’re doing, know that life ain’t perfect, remember to not let things get at you and keep moving on up girlfriend!

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