In need of a 250 word response/discussion to each of the following forum posts. Agreement/disagreement/and/or continuing the discussion.
Original forum discussion/topic post is as follows:
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In our society, it is relatively uncommon for people to use “straight talk” in their relationships. Why do you think this is so? What are the personal and societal obstacles to using “straight talk,” and how might they be overcome? For example, do you think children should be taught in school how to engage in effective communication and conflict resolutions? Would it be feasible for them to practice such techniques with teachers and other authority figures, as well as peers? Finally, are there circumstances in which you feel it would be unwise to engage in “straight talk”? If so, what are those circumstances?
Forum post #1
When using straight talk it is necessary to talk about your feelings which opens people up to a great deal of vulnerability. People, generally, do not like to express their feelings because they believe that they can then be a target for ridicule, teasing, laughter, and hurtful comments. Just as people feel uncomfortable expressing feelings, people also feel uncomfortable receiving that type of communication from others. People find it much easier and less threatening just to get mad, call others names, and make judgments about others, rather than getting down to the heart of the problem. People who express their feelings are often perceived by other people as weak. Strong people are considered those who tough out their feelings, and rather than being perceived as sensitive, they are thought of as being strong individuals.
Grohol, 2016, highlighted a number of reasons that people can’t share their feelings. He mentions fear of rejection by a significant other as one reason. Some people also believe that sharing their feelings is a sign of being out of control and they wish to remain in control of their feelings and emotions. People often believe or think that others should know how they feel without them having to tell them. They believe that the reason for their feeling should be obvious without an explanation. An interesting reason for not sharing feelings is that it can be used as a passive-aggressive behavior tactic. If you have anger toward another person but refuse to explain why is, that is commonly called the “silent treatment”.
I think that teaching effective ways to communicate or teaching conflict resolution to school age children can be risky. I would only consider that as an option if all the parents were on board, and had been instructed themselves in the concept. If parents are not familiar with straight talk, or do not use it in their own lives and at home, a young child coming home and attempting to put to practice what he is learning in school might very well create some home tensions between parent and child. Many parents maintain very strict control of their children at home, and without information about the concept they may feel as though their authority is threatened. Adults can most definitely be taught this skill, and many businesses today are holding classes and seminars to their employee on conflict resolution. It is very applicable in those settings. Within the family and marriage setting, both parents and marriage partners should be taught in order for this to become an effective communication method. A common stereotype is that men do not like or want to share feelings, and although this is a bit of gender stereotyping, there is some truth to that. However, there also a lot of women who also feel uncomforable with sharing feelings. I believe that caution should be exercised when introducing this training within a close environment unless everyone is on board. In a work setting, management can make that decision as to whether it is beneficial and should be conducted.
Forum post #2
We all know the expression, “give it to me straight”, however, why do we rarely ever receive it? Straight talk, although an extremely effective form of communication that enables the recipient to listen nondefensively, is rarely used in today’s society (Aronson, 2011). This can be attributed to a variety of reasons; our fear of revealing vulnerabilities, our fear of appearing overly sensitive, or even our fear of judgment or confrontation (“What do you mean you didn’t like….” Or “Why would you not help me out?”) (Aronson, 2011). One of the largest factors of not speaking straight is our fear of disapproval or rejection, that once we speak our minds, we will be mocked or not taken seriously. Our desire to fit in and belong may also be holding us back from speaking our minds honestly in case our opinions or beliefs differ from the masses. Between partners, it could be a sense of vulnerability and the fear of being viewed as “needy”. To overcome our fear of straight talk, I believe that education from a young age about conflict resolution and effective communication can help. For adults, practicing and improving self-esteem may assist. I believe that there may be a correlation to self-esteem and speaking one’s mind.
Teaching our children to be more honest and open communicators, both in and out of school, could be taught at a young age, within limitations and to know where to be polite (a child should have limits, such as not screaming in a temper tantrum). During a conflict, if a child is feeling anger at another child, while the child should be instructed to not resort to name calling or fighting, but that the child can express how they feel. Practicing between peers and adults would be effective, as these are skills that are necessary, since when the child grows up, standing up for one’s self becomes increasingly difficult (asking for a raise, or saying “No” to an overburdened favor).
There are times when straight talk may not be appropriate, particularly around children and during sensitive situations. Despite the hope that our children will grow up to be honest and open adults, there are times when we need to protect them, and in order to protect them we need to be less than honest or not give the entire story of a situation. At the time of a traumatizing event, protecting the children from the whole truth may be necessary in order to not risk permanently scarring a developing brain. In a place of anger, it could be best to hide your feelings from others in the immediate time frame, in order to maintain control and to step away from the situation prior to a larger confrontation. It is also wise to not want to embarrass or hurt others malevolently, and straight talk might be the best approach when you notice a coworker has their fly open during a presentation.
Forum post #3
I am reminded of a quote from Nietzsche that I think relates well to the concept of “Straight-Talk” which is “How much truth can a spirit bear, how much truth can a spirit dare? … that became for me more and more the real measure of value.” I believe that in a lot of ways our perception of others is defined by how honest we wish for them to be with us.
It was interesting this week to examine the extent to which we as a society have double standards when it comes to attractive individuals. When an attractive person says something negative it is not as hurtful, and when they praise us that praise means more to our self-image. While it is possible that we can make ourselves more attractive to others through competence and by convincing others to do us favors (Aronson, 2012). These favors work because cognitive dissonance will tell that person that they would only do you a favor if they liked you; this trick appears to work even if that person disliked you previous to the favor. While competence is important, one should not appear too skilled, because a certain small amount of humility helps as well.
While doing things to become more attractive can be helpful obviously this does not change the fact that some genetic advantages like facial symmetry make some more “attractive” than others (Aronson, 2012). The media certainly plays a major role in perpetuating the importance of physical beauty, but it would be unfair to place this blame solely on popular culture since even babies prefer the more attractive among us (Aronson, 2012).
I believe that in theory everyone wishes for honesty. However, there is a way to be honest with others that still allows these individuals to keep their dignity and self-esteem intact. Nowadays, there are many that lack this ability and use the euphemism that they are simply “too real” for everyone else when in reality they are fully aware that their lack of tact is designed to harm the feelings of others. There are those that do this intentionally because they pride themselves on being a provocateur, and enjoy the animosity they insight in those around them. There are also those that are simply unaware that the things they say are hurtful, but with the exception of behavioral disorders like Autism, there is little excuse for not developing a better sense of social intelligence since almost all of out daily social interactions require that we maintain a sense of politeness and respect for the feelings of others. In fact one of the things that makes another the most attractive appears to be how much that person reminds us of ourselves; the opposite is also true, if we like someone, we assume that person must be very similar to us (Aronson, 2012). This is especially profound against those that are insecure, or have a weak sense of self. An insecure individual thrives on the praise, attention, and criticism of others.
Although “straight-talk” is desirable to all communication, it is likely that we only truly want honesty in the context of an intimate relationship. In fact, to achieve what many consider true love or “consummate” love requires complete honesty between partners to achieve passion, intimacy, and commitment (Aronson, 2012). True acceptance and understanding from a partner requires this kind of love.