Thin Slicing—Don’t Judge

imagesCA3R3A4LI was at the gym one day—just like many other days for the past three months— in hopes that I would lose some weight. I had become so out of control in my life that after having my sixth baby I weighed 220IB and could hardly get off the couch without help. One morning just like any other, I went to the gym to do my routine workout. Unaware, I had a fan watching me. At the end of my work out that day, (my fan) he approach me and said, “you are so disgustingly fat, are you going to do something about it?”

Not knowing what to say, I made a judgment based on a small sample of [his] behavior. This is called thin slicing. This is a big part of our communication habit. The concept of thin slicing means, you observe a small aspect of someone’s behavior and then generalize as to what the person may be like, based on that small encounter.

I made a judgment call of this guy being the biggest jerk in the world. How could a stranger make a comment like that? Not knowing how to respond to a total stranger that looked like a model that just walked out of a magazine,4% body fat, 22” bicep span, an eight pack and legs to die for, I said, [to this stranger] you sure are one of the most sexiest men I have ever met, would you like to train me?” Thus, the beginning of a wonderful and beautiful friendship.

Can we thin slice accurately? Most definitely, but it takes some time and practice to get there. People who thin slice, they imagesCA8RES10usually show the following characteristics; criticism, defensiveness, stonewalling, and contempt. These are characteristics of communication that will surely destroy undeveloped relationships and most definitely a developed relationship.

 

Listening to “House”

houseOne of my favorite shows to watch is “House”. It intrigues me the way the main character, Dr. House, communicates with his three employees and those in position of authority

Dr. House communicates in a disconfirming way. “A disconfirming response is a statement that causes others to value themselves less.” This kind of communication can create defensiveness and it can lead into misunderstandings. Usually when someone talks to us in a demining way or in words that makes us feel bad about ourselves, we tend to get angry, frustrated, and hurt. We also tend to shut down and not listen to such people. Yet, in this show even though the main character is unpleasant and rude to everyone, somehow he seems to communicate his observations to others, and achive his goals.

 It is intriguing to me how some people think that being spoken to in such mean and hurtful ways is the norm (which happens in a lot of relationships) and yet others will not stand for such treatments.

Words are powerful; we should be ever so carful in how we talk to people. We are not in charge of the meaning of words we speak, others derive the meaning of your words depending of experiences that they have had in life. Words don’t have meaning; people create the meaning in words.

“Speak to others as you think they’d like to be spoken to.”