Is Diplomacy in Relationships Good?

Diplomacy in relationships

Relationships thrive on sensitivity, trust and honesty. They have to be nurtured and understood. Diplomacy rests on the plank of ‘think, evaluate and speak.’ It encourages you to hold your true opinion, which could be helpful at work places, not within the families.

If you have to choose your words before communicating, if you can’t speak out your mind clearly, if you think your words may hurt, if you have to pretend that you agree with the other person, such a relationship can never develop beyond the surface. It can never become endearing. It may establish some business links and even facilitate an agreement between co-workers but it doesn’t build a rapport with friends, siblings or cousins.

A true friend can look in your eyes and read your thoughts. A sibling would be able to cross the bridge of camouflage that you may have learnt to erect with time and age. Your spouse too would get the whiff of walled emotions.

Sooner or later, your diplomatic answers start showing and give a mute message, which can be decoded by your spouse or an intuitive friend. They would either confront you or would start withholding their view and that is how unknown wedges are created in relationships.

There is a very thin line between diplomacy and hypocrisy.

If you want your relationships to be warm and reliable in this world, which is drifting away despite instant connections, you must keep diplomacy out of your homes.

Are you a diplomat? A checklist:

  • You don’t comment on sensitive topics
  • You avoid confrontationfantasy-3364026_960_720
  • You lie to defuse conflict
  • You just nod even when you want to disagree
  • You agree to follow up but never do
  • You promise just to please others
  • You never show your true self

There is no doubt that diplomacy within extended families promotes healthy relationships and a channel of reverence flows, comforting each one with the thought that they are loved. This delusion falls apart in the face of crisis. A teenager who rebels, a parent who refuses to accept change and an elderly member who stands in judgment are some of the situations that could push diplomatic behavior to its extreme ends. The façade could stand exposed!

Happy families are candid. They don’t wear masks and don’t detest unsavory remarks of each other. They learn to accept their imperfections and welcome criticism. They are eager to learn from their errors. They discuss all kinds of topics with an open mind. They give space to each member and respect freedom of thought and expression.

If you are outspoken and impulsive, you could land yourself in difficult situations but that is what we call a learning curve. Only an open family environment could prepare you for the challenges of life. Diplomacy has no place in nuclear families.

Tact and truth can blend well if we learn to handle sensitive situations with patience.

What is essential is:Reaching out

  • Time for each other
  • Undivided attention
  • Freedom of expression
  • Constructive criticism
  • Patience and perseverance

Do you like diplomacy? How did you learn it?

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Thank you for your support. Please share your valuable reflections, they are much appreciated.

© Balroop Singh.

How to Disengage from Gossip

Sunset Sky with dark orange hues

Gossip ushers in a lot of fun into conversations. All that frivolous talk about who wore what and why it didn’t suit him/her, the way she carries herself and what an odd couple they make, the way she laughs and how much he drinks…people have written novels, which center around gossip!

Light-hearted gossip may be harmless to some extent but it could be hurtful too. It has alienated many friends and created grave misunderstandings within families.

Why do people gossip:

  • They could be jealous of your talent
  • They want your attention
  • They want to ruin your relationships
  • They want to damage your reputation
  • They want to grab your position
  • They could be playing into the hands of others
  • Their own insecurities speak through gossip

It is very easy to say: “stop gossiping” but quite difficult to do so, as the pressure of peer group is so compelling that you don’t want to displease them, you don’t want to look “philosophical,” and later become their victim. You can’t distance yourself from gossipmongers, as this is an age-old practice. Even bosses like to listen to such persons.

So how to tackle them?

Just smile: It is better to refrain from adding any ammunition to the topic and just smile to convey an indirect message that you don’t want to be the part of a gossip group. A smile is worth a million words in some situations. Don’t even nod to unpleasant talk and don’t carry it forward.

Give a benefit of doubt: I have learnt this from Mr. serene, my dearest husband who chooses better words even for the person who has wronged him or taken him for a ride. He believes in the dictum: “When you judge another, you do not define them, you define yourself.” The compulsions of a gossipmonger could be greater than his goodness.

Believe in yourself: Don’t get influenced by negative talk when you can’t avoid it. Tell yourself that there are various kinds of people and we have to tolerate them if they happen to be colleagues. I have never changed my seat just because of a toxic gossipmonger around me. My positive vibes often reach them.

Don’t get upset: Now this could be quite challenging if the gossip is about you. There are two ways of handling this situation. One is better to ignore. Two – confront the person calmly. He may deny, she may throw the blame at you but they would get the message that you know their mentality. You wont even have to clarify your position, as people would get another topic of gossip – your boldness! People have gossiped about my boldness too.

Be transparent: Honesty and truthfulness may have lost its significance in today’s world but those who uphold these values are revered. Hypocrisy can be discerned even from a distance. It is better to be transparent in your interactions especially at your workplace. If you are a boss, clarity of thought and action should be discussed candidly. Saying something but meaning the opposite could make you a butt of ridicule.

I am sure we have tried all these ways of disengaging from gossip but it continues to flourish. Reason – most of the people take pleasure in listening to juicy stories and adding their own reflections. Some people use gossip to gain popularity. Some pour it in their stories. I have read more than one book in which author has filled many pages just with chatter, without focusing on the story.

I came across gossip in school, which is a common place for friends who try to snatch each other through backbiting. It did hurt but my introvert nature didn’t help at that time. Slowly I learnt to disengage from gossipmongers and allowed myself to be a better person.

What is your favorite gossip? Do you engage in gossip? What memories do you have about gossip?

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Thank you for your support. Please add your valuable reflections, they are much appreciated.

Balroop Singh.

Why Do People Lie?

Why lie?
When so-called leaders lie, a questions that haunts me is – why do people lie? What is the need for successful and responsible people to lie? Is it their natural behavior?

‘Never lie,’ is the first advice all children are given yet they learn to lie. Researchers who have studied and recorded the behavior of many children, teenagers and adults say: ‘All people lie,’ as this trait seems to be ingrained in human beings as much as trust. They consider it to be a ‘developmental milestone just like walking and talking.’ Some even call it “creative” aspect of brain.

    People lie out of fear:

Fears may hibernate inside our unknown and dark alleys but they do surface at the crucial moment – fear of not reaching up to the high expectations of parents or employers, fear of losing the trust of our emotional anchors or people around us, fear of stumbling or losing the position we are holding and many such situatons that scare us away from truth.

Children learn to lie to save themselves from punitive action but the most innocent lies that are easily detected do encourage them to embellish the ways they can be told – a natural brain process. While we dismiss the little lies of children with a smile or  laughter and reitetrate the age-old advice – ‘never lie,’ we know lies cannot be eliminated from our lives.

    People lie out of love:

A spouse or a lover who cheats, who has been spending hours away in the company of friends or seeking his/her own pleasures doesn’t want to hurt by telling the truth. He could be working on his behavior, he could be testing the new waters or could be in a conundrum about a new relationship, which he is unsure of.

Another person may hide his crumbling career or health issues from a mother to keep her away from unnecessary angst. People hide the harsh facts of their own life from their children and put up a façade of happy relationship to give them a healthy environment to grow into happy children.Lies Quote

    People lie to manipulate others:

A friend who lies to hog your attention or a colleague who lies to win favors and lets you down could be manipulating your goodness. In such cases your own virtues propel lies as you may never suspect that your friend may back stab you to get a higher position. Even your boss may take advantage of your truthful nature to extract some facts out of you or by passing on extra work to you by lying that he admires your sincerity.

Family members lie to manipulate us against each other to score personal points, to show their kindness or win respect. Sometimes such lies become as dangerous as snatching a share of property or hurting self-esteem to the extent of alienating them from each other.

    People lie to avoid confrontation:

This is the most common lie of modern times. In an attempt to be polite or save his skin, a husband lies to his wife when she showers all sorts of questions on him. It is very easy to lie and evade answers, which may lead to unpleasantness. Whatever the questions…one big lie – ‘I was busy’ or ‘I forgot’ is sufficient in all cases.

One of my colleagues would keep his cool in the face of atrocious lies against him. When asked how could he digest them, I was aghast at his response: ‘I don’t want any confrontation!

“Lies…they are like a cancer in the soul. They eat away what is good and leave only destruction behind.” – Cassandra Clare

People also lie to shift blame, to take advantage of the situation, to win admiration, to avoid embarrassment and to wriggle out of a difficult situation.

   On a light-hearted note, here are some harmless lies: (detrimental though to trust)

‘You are looking gorgeous!’…to a woman who is wearing a weird outfit.

‘Who says you are overweight? You are absolutely ok.’…to a sensitive woman.

‘I am late due to heavy traffic.’…oft told lie!

‘I am about to reach in 10 minutes.’… when you haven’t even started!

‘I have a meeting.’…not revealing with whom!

‘I am not hungry.’…coming home after a day’s work.

‘I would love to accompany you but I am busy’…to tick you off!

I love how Oliver Goldsmith,  an Irish novelist, playwright and poet, shrugged off lies…“Ask me no questions, and I’ll tell you no fibs.”

Thank you for reading this. Please share your valuable reflections, as they are much appreciated.

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Balroop Singh.

Why Do People Bully?

A bully is “a person who hurts, persecutes, or intimidates weaker people.” I am sure you can relate to this definition of a bully as we have met such persons either at home, school or work place.

Bullies target those who are coy, sensitive or are not psychologically strong to face unsavory remarks. Bullying seems to belong to antiquity and must have originated with human existence as it is embedded in the behavior of some people.

People bully:

chart-icn
Image from Google
  • To intimidate
  • To gain control
  • To satisfy their ego
  • To prove their power
  • To settle scores
  • Due to low self-esteem
  • Out of frustration
  • Out of emotional deprivation
  • Just for fun

Bullying begins at home and many children pick it up from their parents who might be arguing, threatening or pushing the partner to the wall to prove his/her point. So bullying is a learnt behavior.

Sometimes a parent sets an example through his own rigid behavior and high expectations. He may alienate himself from other members of the family. Children who grow up in emotionally insensitive families fail to learn the virtue of empathy. They learn to take pleasure in the pains of others.

Sibling rivalry and favoritism within a family leaves an indelible mark on the psyche of children. They either lean towards bullies or develop a low self-esteem. A girl child who is constantly badgered for being a liability and told that she must learn good behavior, as she has to get married is bullied with such words! This kind of attitude encourages the male sibling to bully her further. She learns to accept this kind of verbal and emotional bullying at her own home.

When parents are indifferent to making fun, teasing and hurting amongst siblings and don’t take punitive measures to stop such behavior, a bully may feel encouraged, as the mute message that reaches him is that such a behavior is acceptable.

In some cases children who like to bully could have been neglected at home and they grow up with the notion that nobody cares for them.

Lack of positive role models in our lives, dominance of leaders who bully and coaches who encourage the players to be aggressive give a boost to such behavior in our society.

Bullying at school is accepted as normal aggressive behavior of some children. It may begin with a little fun or unpleasant remarks out of jealousy but it doesn’t stop in case of an introvert who doesn’t share his thoughts. It is often neglected till it acquires gigantic proportions and could have already proved psychologically detrimental for the victim.

First and foremost, bullying needs to be reported to a teacher or a parent. Students who choose to fight their own battles or ignore inappropriate behavior indirectly encourage a bully.

Second, it is essential to take some action against bullying to set an example for others and send a clear signal that such a behavior would not be accepted.

Third, please remember… Bullying never has to do with you. It’s the bully who’s insecure,”says Shay Mitchell.Bullying quote

It is extremely important to sensitize children about mutual respect and kindness at an impressionable age. Talks, discussions, projects and workshops, which focus on behavior could be organized at school to nurture compassion and empathy.

It is quite challenging to approach a bully and criticize his inappropriate remarks. He may not be responsible for them. A teacher who knows her students has to approach them gently, without hurting their sentiments and self-esteem. The focus has to be on correction and not criticism of behavior.

If we dig deeper, it can be discerned that bullies too need help. Such children are themselves the victim of some insensitive behavior at home or are upset with their own self. Their own demons are larger than life. They would never share the real reasons of such behavior. Some of them may not even be aware of the reasons and the consequences of bullying on their personality.

A bully is a hard nut to crack. The right approach would be to talk to him, show him positive approach towards life without actually hinting at his behavior. A teacher who knows a bully’s behavior or a psychologist in a group can do this. While group therapy can be helpful in some cases, such a student needs a close monitoring. Parents too have to step in if they are really concerned.

When bullying enters work places, it becomes uncontrollable as employees accept it calmly with the cliché… ‘Boss is always right.’ I have heard that phrase a thousand times and told to ‘accept’…even injustice! At this stage of life when we are capable of standing against bullying, we look the other way.

I have seen that people have their own reasons for accepting such behavior. Some don’t want to lose their job; some want promotion or favors while many are cowards who have been conditioned to become a ‘yes-man’ for the sake of peace. They become the cronies of those who sit in the comfort of their chairs to bully through their henchmen and smile at their successful strategies.

I have met many bullies but refused to surrender to their dirty games. I was always guided by the words of Lincoln – “I would rather be a little nobody, than to be a evil somebody.” 

How many bullies have you met? What was your approach?

Thank you for reading this. Please share your valuable reflections, as they are much appreciated.

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Balroop Singh.

 

 

Why Are #YoungMinds So Vulnerable?

Mentoring Young Minds
Why is it so difficult to guide teenagers?

Why do they drift away and want to take their own decisions?
Why do they trust their peer group more than their best well- wishers?
How can they be easily influenced and manipulated by antagonists?

While parents and teachers dismiss all that as irresponsible and immature behavior, it is not very easy to understand a young mind. Psychologists have been trying to do that for many years.

Researchers believe that human brain development continues till the age of 25. The complex changes that the brain undergoes make them volatile and vulnerable. Youngsters crave individualism, freedom and self-regulation but are prone to risky behavior during this growth. Their patience and self-control is not fully developed. They can’t think of the consequences.

According to Dr. Frances Jensen, a Neuroscientist, “Teenagers make much more sense when you understand that the frontal lobes of the brain – the part responsible for judgment, impulse control, mood and emotions – is the last part to fully develop. So the brain just doesn’t know how to regulate itself yet. They’re like Ferraris with weak brakes.”

Ironically when they need their parents the most, they lose connection with them. We too are responsible for this disconnect.

What alienates them?

    1. Lack of understanding by parents: While teenagers are trying to cope up with physical and emotional upheavals within them, all they need is love and assurance that they are good enough. Most of them change, adapt and respond in a positive manner but those who don’t get the right environment seek it elsewhere.
    2. Excessive control: All they need at this stage is patient hearing. The quest to explore and experiment is the highest at this phase of life. If the rules and regulations are too crippling, youngsters take pleasure in flouting them. Setting the boundaries may be essential but one has to be flexible at times and give some freedom otherwise they become rebellious.
    3. Criticism: Teenagers are very sensitive and self-conscious. Criticism affects them deeply and they might retract into their own shell, stop sharing their thoughts and desires and could develop a low self-esteem. Such minds never come out of their developmental trauma and might react violently.
    4.  High expectations: I have seen many high school students struggling to come up to the expectations of their parents and choosing the subjects due to parental or peer pressure. In an attempt to please their parents or accomplish the dreams of their fathers, they lose their own personality.
    5. Neglect: Children, who grow up in dysfunctional families or those who have not received basic emotional support at an impressionable age, carry a baggage of unspoken words, which drag them deeper into an abyss of darkness. They always carry grudges in their heart against the world and become insensitive and apathetic. All they need is help though they are unwilling to accept it.

How can we help?

  • Provide them with safe and loving environment at home
  • Early bonding through open discussions
  • Listen to them calmly and patiently
  • Avoid criticism of their ideas and friends
  • Encourage regular exercise and creative channelization of energy
  • Encourage adequate rest and sleep
  • Avoid coercing them for career goals
  • Avoid stressful talk
  • Talk about your expectations calmly and logically.

Role of teachers:Children are like clay

Teachers are the role models for students. A kind and an affectionate word for the most unruly student attracts his attention and he leans towards the teacher who has a sympathetic attitude towards him. I have seen the toughest ones melt into tears of remorse when I tried to delve deeper, to probe into the causes of their violent behavior.

Little disappointments seem gigantic to teenagers. Teachers can convert those moments of disenchantment into stepping-stones by talking them out of negativity. A good teacher can also become a counselor, as she/he understands students better than parents. Teenagers feel more comfortable in sharing their problems with their teachers.

Young minds can be molded into positive and responsible individuals but the onus lies on us.

Thank you for reading this. Please share your valuable reflections, as they are much appreciated.

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Balroop Singh.