Q & A of Making Sense of the Sensitive
Q: I am concerned about a stranger, and want to help, but I am not sure of the best way to approach the person to find out how I can help. What do you suggest?
A: There is a difference between prying and sincerely wanting to get involved to express concern and help someone. First, start with a basic question. Listen and watch for indications of how the person is reacting as you converse. If the person is open to the way the conversation is progressing, continue with further investigation asking more specific questions. If the person becomes hostile or abrupt, then back out of the discussion and change the topic. You can try to come back to test the waters again later if the person seems more receptive. It is always a good idea to be sincere and warm in your approach. People can usually tell if you are being nosy or if you truly care. Once you are able to determine what the situation is, express compassion and ask politely how you can help. It is kind and thoughtful to follow up later if you are able to.
Q: What is the proper way to confront gossip?
A: While confrontation is typically not recommended, when it comes to gossip it is best to confront the gossiper and address it. By ignoring and not addressing it, the gossip being said results in being represented as being truth.
Q: How do you politely ask someone to stop swearing or using inappropriate references?
A: Ask the person to please stop using language around you. Tell them that the references being made are highly offensive and inappropriate.
Q: What is the best way to address emotional relationship issues?
A: Emotional relationship questions and conversations can be delicate situations. Follow the rule of 3 C’s. Current, Concise, and Continuity. Focus on what is current, not the past. Be concise. State a continuity plan of what you would like to see moving forward. Plan for a quiet place to have a private conversation and be honest, welcoming open communication. Always ask questions with kindness and respect.
Q: How do you effectively ask someone to stop gossiping or spreading rumors?
A: If a person is igniting gossip, there is usually something missing within that individual, such as a lack of self-esteem or a desire for popularity. Try to compliment the person and build them up, countering their negativity. Ask the person to stop, explaining how the gossip is damaging and not appropriate.
Q: How can a person communicate with the highest level of dignity to a person?
A: The best way to communicate to someone with the highest level of dignity and worth is speaking directly to the person with sincerity, respect, and value.
Q: Is there a checklist of questions I can routinely ask myself to make sure I am being kind to myself?
A: No matter what your state in life is, there is a responsibility to take time to care for yourself. Being kind to yourself means fulfilling your basic needs, as is necessary to human existence, and making time for yourself. Think of how you can rejuvenate your energy and spirit. Take time for yourself by treating yourself, taking a break, making time for a nap, relaxing, spending quiet time in meditation, or doing something you enjoy. Taking care of yourself on a regular basis makes being kind to others easier.
Q: How does a person state a complaint about something which is offensively affecting others?
A: The kindest and most polite way to address this is to start with a comment addressing the oblivion, stating what the offense is resulting in, followed by the request. For example, a person may be wearing a strong scent. Rather than responding with a rhetoric statement or dramatic remark, you could say, “I don’t know if you realize how strong that scent is—you might consider using it more sparingly.” or “There have been some complaints from people who are having a reaction to that—and I’d appreciate if you’d cut back.”
Q: I am not in agreement with how someone believes. I feel strongly about this and want to say something. Normally, I blurt my opinion out unsolicited. How can I state what is on my mind in a more kind manner?
A: It is considered impolite to tell people “You should do…”. No one has the right to tell someone how to live their life. The best way to state your opinion, or complaint, is to first state what does work and then follow by saying what doesn’t work. This is considered constructive criticism. Invite open discussion if you are able to. This is the most kind and considerate way to address personal and professional matters of differing opinion.
Q: What is the correct way to respond to a rude statement?
A: Treating offenses as accidents, rather than offenses, shows you believe the best in a person. It is a polite way to give the offender a way to back down. Politeness usually has a higher success rate than responding to rudely to rudeness.
Q: Is it polite to give advice to someone even if it is for improvement?
A: In most cases, no. However, if the advice is welcome from someone who you are already close to, then it should be done with humility and with tactfulness.
Q: How do you respond to let someone know that a question is not welcomed?
A: Respond to unwelcome questions by thanking the person and then stating an appreciation that they asked, without satisfying them with an answer. For example, you could say: “Thank you, I know you mean well.” or “Thank you for taking an interest.”. Another way to respond is with an irrelevant reply. A long pause before responding to indicate disapproval is also a way to responsd. These responses should suffice to indicate that the question is not welcomed. Keep in mind that there is no need to humiliate the person for being nosy. However, it is not out of line to state that they should have more consideration in the future from asking such an invasive question.
Q: I am often asked questions which I do not know how to respond to based on the circumstances. Do you have any suggestions?
A: Try non-verbal responses such as raising your eyebrows or giving a mysterious look or smile.
Q: When a conversation is beginning to turn into gossip, what is a way to stop this?
A: Two replies you can say to counter gossip are:
“Does that person know you are telling me this? Because we are good friends and I wouldn’t want to have that person think I am talking behind their back.” or “Please do not put any ideas about that person in my head. I will not carry around a conclusion about another person without sharing it with them.”
Q: What recommendations are there to responding to anger with kindness?
A: Giving a person or yourself time and space to cool down, is an effective and kind response to anger.
Q: I have noticed that people have differing views on privacy of others. How can there be more sensitivity to the kindness of privacy of human lives and relationships?
A: It is not just unkind, but extremely rude to intrude on another person’s privacy. Privacy comes in many forms. Having individual privacy or privacy within relationships is a necessary part of life. Intruding on this ruins intrinsic joys, and the very essence of the human spirit. Examples of privacy could be a new friendship, a couple kissing, buying a present for someone, having a conversation with a family member, praying, being creative, writing, expressing love for another, or other personal moments in a person’s life. Responding with sensitivity to these private moments means averting the eyes, asking permission before taking the liberty to join in, and declining to trespass given the opportunity. When noticing someone violating the privacy of another, be sensitive to this by encouraging them to kindly stop out of respect for the other person.
Be Cultured. Be Kind.
[written for @cultureofkind]
Shop these books on kindness and respect…
The Power of Kindness:
The Unexpected Benefits of Leading a Compassionate Life–Tenth Anniversary Edition
by Piero Ferrucci and Dalai Lama
The Hidden Power of Kindness: A Practical Handbook for Souls Who Dare to Transform the World, One Deed at a Time
by Lawrence G. Lovasik
Radical Kindness: The Life-Changing Power of Giving and Receiving
by Angela Santomero and Deepak Chopr
Resisting Gossip: Winning the War of the Wagging Tongue
by Matthew C. Mitchell and Edward T. Welch