I consider myself to be an effective communicator.
I have learned to be open to others’ viewpoints and facilitate good discussion in groups. I have become more adept at listening without the need to feel as if I must have to defend myself or my stance on any given topic. I have become more thoughtful before I open my mouth to share my opinion, knowing that when asked, “What do you think about…?” not everyone wants an honest answer, but rather simply to be heard without judgment.
Where I have the toughest communicative challenges are the remarks that catch me off guard, often times striking out to cut to the core—the ZINGER.
Well-placed zingers can be amusing, making playful banter deliciously fun. But when used caustically, the zinger can disarm the most formidable opponent. There are times that these communication darts are thrown at a target intentionally. At other times there seems to be some auto-jab feature that stabs at the pain of one’s past.
When I am most reactive to another’s words, it usually speaks to a zinger that is attached to a belief I hold onto about myself that is steeped in emotions of the past. I can recognize it by the sting of the words, followed by instant tears and a desire to retaliate with my own biting comment.
Thankfully, I have also learned how to be less reactive in these moments. I take care to communicate my feelings without delivering retaliatory zingers of my own, and I have learned how much more effective this strategy is to diffuse uncomfortable situations.
But in a battle of good-humored wit…let the zingers fly!