One of the interesting things about The Change Report is the importance of change in everyone’s life; it’s universal, it’s inevitable. Further, the two most frequent initial responses to change were: discussion with family and discussion with friends. Clearly, change and communication are closely related.
And yet we do very little with change in our teaching of communication. Although we talk about the stages of a relationship, for example, we don’t provide very much guidance for dealing with the inevitable changes that take place as you move toward or away from intimacy, say. It seems only in General Semantics is the nature of change and its implications for thought and behavior a major part of study. Static evaluation, dating statements, and the process nature of reality, for example, offer excellent guides for dealing with change.
We need to do more with teaching students how to adjust to change. Just brainstorming a bit, such topics might include: How do messages change with one’s position in the organizational hierarchy? How do you talk about your changing feelings in a romantic or friendship or family relationship? How do you move from friendship to romance? How do you come out and tell your parents you’re gay? How can you adapt to the change after your son or daughter comes out? How do you tell a loved one you’ve just been given bad news about your health? How do you tell your parents that you’re ready to move on and leave the nest? How do you explain the changes you’ve gone through when you ask for a divorce or separation? How do you adapt to again being single (after a divorce or separation, say)? How do you adapt to changes after being fired? Most of these questions actually are related to the findings in The Change Report.
One additional note may be added here: About 37% of the respondents claimed that they did not respond successfully to change. Among the regrets that people have about their unsuccessful dealing with change are: less stress; being more assertive; doing greater planning; doing things sooner, for example, looking for a job; worry less; and communicating more effectively.