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A Crash Course in Communication

2

by thepleasurechest

panda-slide-fail-meme

If you’re in a romantic relationship, have a sex partner (or several), or have friends, you know how vital good communication is. It’s how we get what we want! It’s how we understand what other people want! Important stuff! Luckily, this has been a great week for smart articles about communicating.

Emily Brooks’s excellent article on Autostraddle, “Body as a Second Language: Navigating Queer Girl Culture on the Autism Spectrum,” is a must-read both for its points about different kinds of accessibility (making queer spaces comfortable for people with sensory processing issues) and for the way that the author identifies different “languages” that people use with each other, often unconsciously.

Even in close relationships, we can struggle to read situations correctly. “My now ex-girlfriend used to drop hints about things she wanted me to do, such as saying, ‘I’m going to take a shower,’ when she wanted us to take a shower together,” related Fern. “Of course, those flew right over my head. She also expected me to respond to non-verbal cues regarding whether or not she wanted sex, and again, I had no clue.” Fern may have looked disrespectful or apathetic; really, she and her girlfriend just weren’t speaking each other’s languages.

Along the same lines, an older blog post about “Ask Culture and Guess Culture” has been making the rounds this week. Basically, in Ask Culture, you can ask for anything that you want, as long as you’re equally prepared to get a yes or a no. Guess Culture depends on using social cues to try to be reasonably certain that you’ll get a yes before you’ll ask for something.

All kinds of problems spring up around the edges. If you’re a Guess Culture person… then unwelcome requests from Ask Culture people seem presumptuous and out of line, and you’re likely to feel angry, uncomfortable, and manipulated.

If you’re an Ask Culture person, Guess Culture behavior can seem incomprehensible, inconsistent, and rife with passive aggression.

This is such a useful way of looking at things, and particularly relevant when it comes to talking about sex. One person’s innocent expression of interest can be another person’s pressure.

On a lighter note, we loved Kate McCombs’s advice for using “Panda Memes as Relationship Communication Tools”:

After a bit of frustrating back and forth (I knew there was something going on), he shared that he was having feelings but didn’t know how to describe them – he just felt “off.” I said, “So, do you feel a little bit like the panda who fell of the slide and landed on its head?”

Go forth, read things, feel smarter, communicate better.

2 Comments

  • Kate McCombs

    Thank you for including me in this piece Pleasure Chest! I’m honored B-)

    ReplyJanuary 7, 2014 at 2:50 pm

    • Kate M.

      Sure! Thanks for the good advice.

      January 7, 2014 at 3:21 pm

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