The colossal misunderstanding of our time is the assumption that insight will work with people who are unmotivated to change. Communication does not depend on syntax, or eloquence, or rhetoric, or articulation but on the emotional context in which the message is being heard. People can only hear you when they are moving toward you, and they are not likely to when your words are pursuing them. Even the choices words lose their power when they are used to overpower. Attitudes are the real figures of speech. – by Edwin Friedman

“Attitudes are the real figures of speech” was my reply to a desperate friend who finds his relationship a mess. Endless misunderstanding is a common scenario between them but he doesn’t want to give up on her.

“Just like this afternoon…” he continued on venting out while I fixed my gaze on his lonely eyes.

“Would you like to stop for an ice cream?” my girlfriend said
“No, thanks,” I answered truthfully.

“The result? she became annoyed because she felt her preference had not been considered. I became frustrated because she became irritable. Why didn’t she just say what she wanted?” He stopped talking as he smoked fidgeting on his seat.


I lowered my eyes while  listening to his predicament as I mused over the same experiences I had with my exs.

“You’re illogical,” “You’re self- centered,” “You don’t care about me.” were the usual complaints I received.  Of course, I didn’t take it sitting down.  Usually, I try to analyze what made them say such things by asking them in an affectionate manner questions that would lead me to discover the main cause of their wounded ego.

I discovered that the seemingly senseless misunderstandings that haunt our relationships can in part be explained by the different conversational rules by which men and women (anatomically equipped or not !?) play.

“Men are motivated and empowered when they feel needed. Women are motivated and empowered when they feel cherished.”  – John Gray

Once we grasp the two characteristic approaches, we stand a better chance of preventing disagreements from spiraling out of control.

Learning the other’s ways of talking is a leap across the communication gap between men and women ( again, anatomically equipped or not!), and a giant step towards genuine understanding.

Smoking together, I told my friend:  “men are from mars and women are from venus.”

His eyes lightened up!

Communication quotes to follow….


  • Wise men talk because they have something to say; fools, because they have to say something. – Plato
  • Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless. – Mother Teresa
  • Speech is power: speech is to persuade, to convert, to compel. It is to bring another out of his bad sense into your good sense. – Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • Remember not only to say the right thing in the right place, but far more difficult still, to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment.  -Benjamin Franklin
  • The newest computer can merely compound, at speed, the oldest problem in the relations between human beings, and in the end the communicator will be confronted with the old problem, of what to say and how to say it. – Edward Murrow
  • When people talk, listen completely. Most people never listen. – Ernest Hemingway
  • Be sincere; be brief; be seated.  – Franklin Delano Roosevelt
  • The problem with communication … is the illusion that it has been accomplished.  – George Bernard Shaw
  • Kind words do not cost much. Yet they accomplish much.  – Blaise Pascal
  • No one would talk much in society, if he knew how often he misunderstands others – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe
  • It is very hard to say the exact truth, even about your own immediate feelings – much harder than to say something fine about them which is not the exact truth. –  George Eliot
  • The right to be heard does not automatically include the right to be taken seriously.  – Hubert Humphrey
  • Argument is the worst sort of conversation. – Jonathan Swift
  • Everything becomes a little different as soon as it is spoken out loud. – Herman Hesse
  • Two monologues do not make a dialogue. – Jeff Daly
  • We are healed of a suffering only by expressing it to the full. – Marcel Proust
  •  One of the basic causes for all the trouble in the world today is that people talk too much and think too little. They act impulsively without thinking. I always try to think before I talk. –Margheret Chase Smith
  • Whenever two good people argue over principles, they are both right. -Marie Ebner von Eschenbach
  • Electric communication will never be a substitute for the face of someone who with their soul encourages another person to be brave and true. – Charles Dickens
  • I quote others only in order the better to express myself. –Michel de Montaigne
  • The most basic and powerful way to connect to another person is to listen. Just listen. Perhaps the most important thing we ever give each other is our attention. A loving silence often has far more power to heal and to connect than the most well-intentioned words. – Rachel Naomi Remen
  • Men and women belong to different species, and communication between them is a science still in its infancy. – Bill Cosby
  • Words are, of course, the most powerful drug used by mankind. – Rudyard Kipling
  • There are men who would quickly love each other if once they were speak to each other; for when they spoke they would discover that their souls had only separated by phantoms and delusions. – Ernest Hello
  • Feelings of worth can flourish only in an atmosphere where individual differences are appreciated, mistakes are tolerated, communication is open, and rules are flexible — the kind of atmosphere that is found in a nurturing family. – Virginia Satir
  • Communication is not only the essence of being human, but also a vital property of life.–  John Piece 
  • If I am to speak ten minutes, I need a week for preparation; if fifteen minutes, three days; if half an hour, two days; if an hour, I am ready now. – Woodrow Wilson
  • It seemed rather incongruous that in a society of supersophisticated communication, we often suffer from a shortage of listeners.– Erma Bombeck
  •  To effectively communicate, we must realize that we are all different in the way we perceive the world and use this understanding as a guide to our communication with others.  – Anthony Robbins
  • You cannot shake hands with a clenched fist. – Indira Gandhi
  •  Good communication is as stimulating as black coffee, and just as hard to sleep after. -Anne Morrow Lindbergh

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