2- The degree of personal and professional happiness, fulfillment and success we feel often depends on the quality of our interactions with others. Nothing exhilarates, uplifts, irritates, angers, or disappoints us the way the people in our lives do.
3 – Today we’re going to explore relationships, we going to define the word relationship, talk about different types of relationships, and then we’ll work with some tools that you can use to strengthen your relationships.
4 – What is a relationship? – Do you agree with the definitions? Does
anyone have another definition that they want to share?
5 - You elect to have certain people in your life; many of the others are there just because.
Think about the people you have in your circle of influence such as family, work, school, neighborhood, or church.
How many of these people did you really choose to have a relationship with?
If you had a choice, are there any you would you rather not have to deal with?
How often does the opportunity arise to NOT deal with them? Do you find that there are more people you have to deal with as opposed to those you choose to deal with?
By choice or force you have to interact with people. You have to forge relationships. You have to invest in relationships. Not all relationships are good.
Do you have any bad relationships?
6 - It is important to know how to have a healthy relationship. It’s also important to recognize when you are in an unhealthy relationship.
Healthy relationships increase self-esteem, improve mental and emotional health, and lead to a fuller life. “Christ came that we might have life and have it more abundantly”.
What is self-esteem? Why is it important? (Hand-out on self-esteem)
7 - If you don’t leave here with anything else I want you to remember that
healthy relationships are based on respect!
8- Let’s look at the characteristics of healthy vs. unhealthy relationships
(Handout the green chart).
The goal is to feel calm, centered, and focused. A healthy relationship should be safe, supportive, respectful, and peaceful.
9 - Unhealthy relationships are the opposite – They are based on POWER
and CONTROL. You’re afraid to say what’s really in or on your mind –
You’re afraid to be honest (The key word is AFRAID). Sometimes you’re
afraid to do things. It’s not good to live in fear. Would you agree that fear paralyzes you? Would you even say it stops you from growing? If you can’t grow, will you eventually die – maybe, maybe not?
Question – are these characteristics true in relationships other than those we may deem romantic or intimate? My answer is yes. No matter what, we are still human beings. We have rights!
You should be free to be who you are as opposed to what you think the other person wants you to be. You should be encouraged to grow personally and supported for your individuality. You should not wind up being emotionally, intellectually, or physically dependant on the other person in a relationship. Who should you totally depend on?
10 - When the giving and taking is unbalanced or severely one-sided, you get abuse. Abuse is the improper use of power by one person to the detriment of another. It is a pattern of hurtful behavior that a person uses to control another.
It can occur:
; in homes as child abuse or domestic violence,
; in workplaces as sexual or racial harassment,
; in church organizations as manipulative power plays
; and in governments or institutions as arrogant disregard for the needs
of disadvantaged persons.
Can you name some forms of abuse?
11- There are many forms of abuse. The main categories are as follows:
1. Physical Violence
2. Sexual Violence
3. Verbal Violence
4. Emotional Violence
5. Spiritual Violence
6. Economic Violence
7. Social Violence
Every form manifests itself from an attempt by the abuser to exercise power and control over someone. That someone can be any age, a child, an elderly person, a spouse, a co-worker, or a date.
Abusers feel they have the right to control. Telling others what to do and expecting obedience. Using whatever force necessary to maintain the compliance.
(Several hand-outs. Review the ones in yellow - types of abuse, dating
rights, date warnings, power wheels – DV & Workplace. Also, talk about
how being in the church makes you naïve)
12 – Signs of Verbal & Child Abuse
I want to emphasize Verbal Abuse & Child Abuse
We do a lot of verbal abuse in the church.
Name Calling – we may not call a person a name, but this category includes sarcasm, ridiculing, and put-downs. I’ve seen some of that – have you?
Threats – to kill or damage property, to kill self, or harm friendships. – We
may not kill physically, but we kill in other ways and some people purpose to do it.
Intimidation – Creating fear with facial expressions, tone of voice, gesture, or stopping another’s movement – breaking into vehicles, houses, destroying
Child abuse is such a secret, the effects last a lifetime perpetuating into future generations, and I suspect some of us church people know of cases and do nothing.
(Handout - child abuse).
The thing to remember about these signs of abuse is that they could be signs of some other problem not abuse. If a child is under stress from some other source – you might see these same symptoms – including poor self-image,
unable to love or trust others, aggressive or disruptive behavior, intense anger or rage, self-destructive, self-abusive, or suicidal.
13 – If you suspect child abuse report it! Some states have mandatory reporting laws for child abuse. MANDATORY REPORTING is a law
that requires that a person's knowledge of an abuse be reported to the authorities. If you work in certain capacities or maintain certain roles and suspect child abuse, you must report it. Most of the time the roles involve medical professionals, school officials, social workers, day care providers –
anyone involved in activities with a child.
National Hotline numbers – state numbers
14 - Healthy equal relationships take some work but they are possible. I want you to remember this, we are all human beings. We all have some basic rights regardless to our position in life.
Your rights in a relationship are:
• To be treated with respect – and define what respect is for you
• To decide what is important for you and set your priorities
• To have and express your own feelings and opinions
• To have a different view and not feel guilty
• To be listened to and taken seriously
• To ask for what you want
• To make mistakes and be allowed to try again
Each right has a responsibility – to behave in the same way towards the
15- You have to develop relationship skills to effectively connect with others. Successful people skills can be learned, enhanced and developed. Regardless of how much you already know there is always room for refinement. It’s a process. You have to work at it. We all have to keep our people skills sharp!
Self-knowledge, respecting and understanding others is important for healthy relationships.
I wish I had time to explore self- esteem, self-confidence –egos. I wish I
could do more on Anger Management. We could actually work on this stuff for days.
The last part of the session will concentrate on improving your Communication Skills and we’ll talk a little about Conflict Resolution. I think these skills are absolutely essential for a healthy relationship.
16 – What is Effective Communication?
To communicate, someone expresses his or her wants, feelings, thoughts, or opinions and another person hears it and understands it.
Relationships are full of feelings and emotions. Emotions muddy the water. Mud reduces visibility. Emotions prevent us from seeing the facts as they really are. Sometimes these emotions make us give out the wrong signals and our communication lines are confused.
Effective communication exists between two people when the receiver interprets and understands the sender’s message in the same way the sender intended it.
We have to learn to express ourselves clearly, and then we have to listen and understand what is being communicated to us.
17 – SELF-EXPRESSION
Self-expression is all about getting your message across to others. It is not always easy.
Do you know why? – Emotions
Do you think this happens frequently?
Has it happened to you? Has it ever happened at work, school, in church? Has anyone misinterpreted what you were saying?
Here are some strategies to help you communicate more effectively.
Sometimes people won’t speak up for fear of being wrong, ridicule, disapproval or rejection. People with low self-esteem may not speak up at all. If you have a real concern and you don’t express it, it is not going to disappear.
Another problem is expecting people to read your mind. If you want people to respond to your ideas and needs, you have to be able to say what they are and say it in a way that will make others want to respond nicely.
Use “I” Statements
For personal communication (especially if you’re emotional), use “I’ statements. Try to state negative comments in the "I" form rather than the "You" form. For example, "I did not hear from you" instead of "You did not call me". “I” messages don’t involve judgment or blame.
"I" statements are less likely to evoke a negative or defensive response on the part of the listener.
A simple change of pronouns can make a sentence sound less like an accusation and more like a neutral statement. But, simply changing the pronoun may not be enough (handout – 5 ways to say I– Item 3 on the
handout – Sis. Litrea has some I stuff too. ).
Avoid Questions that aren’t Questions
Avoid using questions that are not really questions. If I were to say, “Doesn’t that upset you?” I’m probably trying to say, “That upsets me”. If you want to find out what people are feeling or thinking, use an open-ended question. For example, How do you feel about what just happened? How, what, and why questions are open-ended questions. They elicit information and understanding. Use closed questions to help with clarification.
This involves letting the other person know you respect them even if you are angry or disagree with them. It means finding something genuinely positive to say to the other person. Show a respectful attitude. You use this technique in difficult interactions.
Think of it like this, you may dislike your child’s behavior, but not your
You can dislike what a person is doing
You can disagree with what they’re thinking
You can be uncomfortable with what they are feeling
But you won’t gain anything if you judge or condemn them as a
Examples include: “I genuinely respect you for having the courage to bring
this problem to me.” “I admire your strength and your caring attitude.”
Use positive language and compliments. Watch out for qualifiers such as - but
A message can be framed in a positive way or a negative way. Rather than point out what someone has done wrong, stress the positive things that can be done to remedy the problem or situation. You can be polite and still have a negative message (Handout - Positive Characteristics & Phrases).
A lot of people will start with a positive statement and then use the word but. But acts like an eraser. It will eliminate everything that came before it.
Example: - Sis. Litrea
Ask for Feedback
Ask how your messages are being received. This helps to make sure you are communicating what you think you are.
Notice Non-verbal Messages
Have you ever heard the saying: “It isn’t what you say, it’s the way you say it”? I think Pastor Franklin says – “It’s all in your presentation”
How many disagree with those statements?
What are non-verbal messages? – Body language. Voice – its anything used
in communication that replaces or reinforces spoken communication.
We are talking about facial expressions, gestures and movements, where we are sitting or standing relative to the people we are speaking to.
The point here is, try not to send non-verbal messages that disagree with the words you are using.
18 - Listening
Communication fails because people have not actually heard the message or have listened to part of it. Listening is the cornerstone of effective communication.
Our relationships suffer if we do not listen effectively or if we don’t have people to listen to us from time to time. If there is no listener – we start to
feel lonely and isolated. We are attracted to people who listen. They calm and support us.
Think about your best friend. Do you consider them a good listener?
Difference between Hearing and Listening
Hearing is purely physical. Listening involves not only hearing sounds but also responding. You must shut out distractions and focus on what is being said.
People make assumptions about what other people mean when they speak. They base these assumptions on their own perceptions. Try to remember to check your perceptions:
; What do I think is happening?
; What does the other person think is happening?
We have trouble communicating because we are different. Our cultures, our perceptions, our environments effect our communication. When you are talking your motives are obvious to you. But, the other person may never perceive them. Many instances of rudeness, stubbornness, inconsistencies, or refusal to co-operate are really caused by differences in communication or conversational style (example – Dialog Exercise).
What are the conclusions from each group? – Ann said that insignificant
comments would often spark an explosion and lead to an irrational battle. John communicated indirectly. Lots of people communicate indirectly. He prefers not to say exactly what he means in so many words. He assumed people don’t just blurt out what they want – that to him is being coercive and
he doesn’t want to deny a direct request. He assumed Ann was hinting (via sther 1 question) that she wanted to go visit her sister. Then when she asked again, are you sure you want to go – he assumed she was hinting that she
didn’t. Ann wanted to accommodate his preference and John wanted to accommodate Ann’s preference – instead they just had a fight.
What can we do about this? - Learn to stop and remind ourselves that others may not mean what we heard them say.
Listening is a matter of concentration. The more attention paid, the better the listening. Listening skills involves
; Being receptive to others.
; Suspending your own ideas and
; Being able to understand another person’s perspective.
19 – Active listening
Shows you have understood the other person and acknowledged their feelings or concerns. It involves our focused attention and we communicate this both verbally and non-verbally. It is the ability to take in the whole message – what was said and the feelings underneath the words.
Let’s talk a little about these strategies.
; Don’t interrupt – give them time and space to say what they have to
; Stop talking – You can’t listen if you’re talking. Even if the talking is
to yourself in your own head. Stop thinking about what you are going
to say in response.
; Focus – actively attend to the other person’s words, ideas, and
feelings. Ask for more detail or ask them to expand on certain things
; Eliminate distractions – avoid taking notes, watch your hands
; Positive Body Language – eye contact, affirmative head nods, smiles,
; Paraphrasing – using your own words to reflect that you have
understood the message
; Summarizing – brief statement containing key words and feelings to
show you have understood the main points of what was said.
; Inquiry – ask appropriate open-ended questions (what makes open
ended questions – how, what, why). The goal is to lead the speaker
into exploration and elaboration. You can use closed/focused
questions for clarification. You need both for good communication.
; Listen to how something is said - do more than concentrate on the
words, listen and be aware of the emotions and the reactions behind
; Disarming Technique – find some truth in what the other person is
saying, even if you feel what they are saying is totally wrong,
unreasonable, irrational, or unfair. To me this helps you find common
ground – a place to start to negotiate.
(Handout – things that get in the way of active listening)
Active Listening Activity – Sis. Litrea.
Each Group – tell me 2 things you’ve concluded from the Communications Skills portion of the workshop.
20 – Summary