Responding to Rudeness

Here's an interesting article that offers interesting suggestions for Responding to Rudeness which should work well in a class in the discussion of conversation or a variety of other interpersonal topics. Among the suggestions offered are how to respond to catcalls, unwanted and negative comments on your appearance, or friends who reveal personal information.  It would be interesting to see how students would deal with each of these several issues and if there's a gender or age difference in the responses.


Lydia Pinkham

I want to bring to your attention a new book by a friend of mine; we went to graduate school together at the U of I.  The book—Lydia Pinkham: The Face that Launched a Thousand Ads by Sammy R. Danna (Rowman & Littlefield, 2015)--is about Lydia Pinkham, her vegetable compound (which is still being sold), and the revolution in marketing and advertising of which she was a major part.  Congratulations Sam; you did a wonderful job!


High Heels

According to some research published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior (DOI 10.1007/s10508-014-0422-z; http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs10508-014-0422-z#page-1)--summarized briefly in Psychology Today (April 2015)--a woman wearing high heels is perceived as more attractive than a women with low heels. In a series of studies by Nicolas Gueguen, it was found that: 

(1) Men were more apt to help a woman if she was wearing high heels than low heels. For example, when a women dropped a glove, a man behind her was more likely to pick it up if she was wearing high heels. Sixty-two percent of men picked up the glove of the woman with no heels but 93 percent picked up the glove of the woman in 3 ½ inch heels. Heel height, however, made no difference in terms of another woman’s helping behavior. 

(2)  Men were also more likely to approach a woman if she was wearing high heels. With no heels, it took 13 ½ minutes for a man to approach her. But, with 3 ½ inch heels, it took only 7 ½ minutes.

The researcher postulates that one possible reason for these differences is the misattribution of sexiness and sexual intent. 

Gay and Straight Relationships

Here’s an interesting article in the current issue of Psychology Today (April, 2015): Gay Love, Straight Sense: 5 Lessons Everyone Can Learn from Same-Sex Couples. The lessons are these:
1.      “Create fluid roles.” Because same-sex couples don’t have to divide roles by gender, they are free to discuss roles and to more effectively share roles. The roles are negotiated, rather than set down by society.
2.      “Sexual experimentation is good.” Same-sex couples are more likely to talk about sexual preferences and desires and are not bound by “rules” often found in opposite-sex relationships.
3.      “Keep calm amid conflict.” Apparently, same-sex couples engage in conflict in a “less accusatory, less belligerent, less domineering” manner.
4.      “We’re all surrounded by attractive others; deal with it.” Unlike same-sex couples, gay men and lesbians have same-sex friends and regularly deal with the normal jealousies and tensions these may present. Straight men and women often do not have opposite sex friends which is confining and restrictive.
5.      “Allow for breathing room when it comes to money, family—and maybe even sex.” Gay men and lesbians apparently engage in less micromanaging than do straight men and women. There is, with gay and lesbian couples, less adherence to rules established by society—same-sex couples can have separate bank accounts and don’t have to visit family in the same way that straight couples do, for example.

There is much in this article that both straight and gay men and lesbians will find totally untrue of their own relationships. The generalizing--sometimes to the point of stereotyping—often on the basis of a psychologist’s or therapist’s observations—little real research is cited—can seem somewhat offensive and off-putting to both same-sex and opposite-sex couples. Yet, the idea that one relationship configuration can inform and teach another is useful.


Communication and Cancer

In searching for communication issues we don’t normally talk about in our introductory textbooks, that of talking to cancer patients about their cancer is one of the most important and the most difficult. Here are a few suggestions for making communication with a person diagnosed with cancer—what you might say and what you should NOT say--a bit easier—not easy, just a bit easier.


Public Speaking Apprehension-

In looking over the literature on dealing with pubic speaking apprehension, I searched for less likely sources than NCA journals. Here are some of the things I found, not surprisingly, not that different from what we have in our textbooks:
From an article in Forbes:
1.      Begin small, with baby steps.
2.      Organize what you want to say.
3.      Slow down.
1.      Don’t expect perfection.
2.      Don’t think of public speaking as a measure of your self-worth.
3.      Avoid getting nervous over nervousness—a wonderful lesson I learned from General Semantics
4.      Don’t memorize.
5.      Don’t read.
From WebMD:
1.      Visualize yourself speaking successfully.
2.      Practice.
3.      Avoid focusing on little things that get in the way of successful speaking.
From the Mayo Clinic:
1.      Know your topic.
2.      Organize.
3.      Practice, practice.
4.      Do some deep breathing.
5.      Focus on your speech, not your audience.
6.      Don’t fear silence.
7.      Recognize your success.
8.      Get support.
1.      Visualize yourself being successful.
2.      Relax.
3.      Practice.


New Book on Listening

Here is the TOC for a new book by Sharon Drew Morgen who asked me to post this and to alert readers of this coming book. I'm happy to do so. The book is called What? Did you really say what I think I heard?  The book will be out in December at which time I'll try to post the first chapter.
Foreword 1
Author’s notes 3
Introduction 4
Section 1: How do we hear others? 16
Chapter 1: What do we hear? 17
Chapter 2: How we mishear: the role of filters 23
Chapter 3: The components of communication 36
Chapter 4: Filling in the communication gaps: noticing what’s missing 52
Chapter 5: The elements of a conversation: case study 67
Section 1 summary 82
SECTION 2: How to have conversations without bias or misinterpretation 84
Chapter 6: The skills of conscious choice 85
Chapter 7: What to listen for 109
Chapter 8: Preparing for conversations 123
Chapter 9: Conversations that went wrong 138
Chapter 10: Final thoughts: what good is good communication? 155
Section 2 summary 161
Bibliography 163
Footnotes 168
Acknowledgements 173

Author’s Bio 174

For those with interest in this topic, you can contact Sharon Drew Morgen directly sharondrew@sharondrewmorgen.com.