Maximizing Interpersonal Communication -- How to Be Less Reactive and Make Every Interaction Count
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We explore the importance of recognizing the finitude of time and how it can help us be more mindful in our social interactions. Learn how to be less reactive and make every interaction count by priming yourself ahead of time, understanding why you react, and valuing the presence of those you interact with.

Hello Explearners, today I want to share with you a few ways of being less reactive in your social interaction, in your interpersonal communication. So if you're ready, let's get started.

The first thing I want you to think about is the reality that time is our most valuable resource. We can make more money. We can't make more time. So the fact of the matter is that time is something that is finite. So recognizing the finitude of time, and alongside that, do we wanna really be spending our time in a reactive state?

Do we wanna be spending our time in a place of being tense or angry or upset? Often, these are the reactions that we have when we're talking about being reactive. When someone's reactive, generally speaking, it's negative, right? It's about reacting with a heightened emotion. Someone says something to you and you react in a negative way.

You start raising your voice. You might storm out of the room, you might start yelling, you might show other ways of anger. So this is what we mean by being reactive, and I think we can all agree on that idea of what that is. It's not a positive thing, but being mindful in that moment of, should I really be spending my time like this? Should I really be talking to this person in this way? Should I be reacting this way? 

Asking yourself these questions and maybe even priming yourself ahead of time. If you know you're gonna be getting into a heated debate or a heated argument with such person. Do you really wanna be interacting in that way?

And then following up with that kind of reaction? Keeping in mind the finitude of time and the fude of our interactions. There are only so many times we're going to interact with people. Even your nearest and dearest, the people in your inner circle, those interactions are numbered and it's sad to say, and it's a crazy reality to wrap our minds around.

But, if you're the type of person who's not actually angry and not actually upset at something, you're just reacting because that's how you've been conditioned over time. Maybe that's just the way it's been for a while and now it's inculcated in you and you can't really unlearn it. 

First of all, that might be something to consider that maybe, the reacting is a symptom of something else. That aside though, recognizing the finitude of time can really help place you in the frame of mind of being more collaborative, being more empathetic, being more understanding. And look, people say things that get, get us angry, get us upset, and we have the choice to react poorly, or to respond positively. 

And if somebody says something that is not to our liking or they make a unsavory remark or comment instead of reacting, think very carefully about how you wanna respond. You might be direct and say, that was really out of left field. I was not expecting that kind of remark from you, or what makes you think this way, or what have I done to merit this kind of behavior?

Really asking them, we can get into a whole separate video about that, but the bottom line here is thinking about your reactivity differently. The thing about why you're doing it is it the people that just bring this out, maybe certain people you interact with tend to push your buttons in a way that gets you to be reactive when you don't really wanna react that way.

But priming yourself ahead of time, if you know that there are certain people who push your buttons in certain ways, reminding yourself , I can choose not to have this interaction first of all. No one's forcing you to interact with people you don't have to. Even if it's work there's ways of maybe doing things over email or just keeping everything really time blocked.

If there's certain ways around that, then I encourage you to explore those avenues. And the second part of it if is if you do wanna engage with these people, but you just tend to be reactive because for whatever reason, maybe you just can't control your emotions, or you feel really tired and you're lethargic or hangry, maybe you're hangry, right?

Hungry and angry at the same time, and it just that reaction is manifesting. So think about why is this happening? Can I prevent it? Is there a way for me to avoid this type of interaction? But if you do want to have the interaction, then remember the finitude of time. 

Try to be as mindful as present with these people as you can, with whomever you're interacting with, and try to see them in the light of, I don't know how many of these interactions I'm going to have with this person so am I spending the time the way I ultimately wanna be spending the time with them? And thinking about maybe how much you are grateful for their presence, for the talks that you've had with them, for the memories you've made with them, for those special deep conversations you've had with them. 

Are you taking them for granted?

If so, then maybe, that will be enough to get you to stop reacting in the way that you are currently and instead to respond thoughtfully. Grounding ourself in the present moment, being as mindful as we can with the people that we're engaging with, and communicating with, and then remembering the finitude of time, the finitude of these interactions, and how many of these interactions we're gonna have with the people that we interact with. We don't know. So make every single one of them count. And honestly, if you're thinking of it along those lines, am I spending my time as best I can in the way that I want to, in a way that benefits me and others? Am I bringing joy into this world? Then I believe that's enough to get us to switch from being reactive to more responsive. 

 All right, so let me know what you think. Do you believe that reactivity is something that you have control over trying out these mindfulness strategies and really placing it in the sense of the finitude of time. How is that going to impact you and the following discussions you have with someone who you're very close to, or someone who you're not that close to, but you tend to react towards as opposed to respond to. 

So all of these are things that we can work on, we can improve upon. It just takes time and patience and consistency and really being patient with yourself as well. Understanding that it might not take five tries, it might take twenty.

Twenty times of trying this, maybe you see even more, maybe some people it's easier to do than others. Maybe you're in a certain frame of mind when you're reactive. Maybe you want to replicate the frame of mind that allows you to be non-reactive and more responsive. 

So a lot of it comes down to intrapersonal communication, the work that we do with our own inner monologue, with the communication that we have with ourselves, and really trying to understand how we communicate and why we communicate the way we do, and what are the circumstances under which we communicate in those ways. So all of these things can be done through introspection, and I really encourage you to spend a little bit of time each day to getting to the bottom of how you communicate and what kind of communicator you wanna be, what kind of person you wanna be, and how you can get your current self closer to that more idealized version of what you have in store for yourself. What do you have in mind for yourself? 

This work can be done, so I encourage you to do it. We all need to do it, and I think that we can all benefit from doing so. 

All right, so I hope that you enjoy this lesson. Let me know how you get on with it. Let me know if you try out the strategies, and I will see you very soon for another Explearning lesson. Happy Explearning everyone.

About the Author and the Explearning Academy:

Mary Daphne is an expert in communication, executive interpersonal skills, and personal development. She is the founder of the Explearning Academy, a platform dedicated to helping individuals enhance their social fluency, boost their careers, and elevate their social game. Through immersive group coaching programs like the Executive Communication Lab and self-guided journeys, participants gain the social superpowers and career catapults they've been searching for. If you're ready to take your negotiation skills to the next level and connect with like-minded individuals, visit and explore the various plans available. Join the Explearning Academy community and unlock your full potential.

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