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Social Graces

​Proverbs 18:13 If one gives an answer before he hears, it is his folly and shame (ESV).

Social graces: Social graces are skills used to interact politely in social situations. 

I’m going to admit something here. I have a bad habit of interrupting others. For some reason I tend to finish people’s sentences for them. Yes, I know, it’s rude. My assumptions on what was about to be said is sometimes very wrong. I wish I knew where this habit started. I suspect it’s something residual from my upbringing.

My mother was not a very chatty person. However, she would complain a lot about me and to me. She liked to whine about things. I grew up feeling like I never really had a voice and was not validated. Sometimes she tried, but mostly not. My mom was hurting and angry at the world. She carried grudges and many chips on her shoulders. She had quite an attitude, or as some call it, a tude. So, I think I developed a mindset and habit of making sure I’m heard. The trouble is, not everyone wants to listen. Not everyone has to. It’s pride to assume that. But, it’s OK to want to be heard and validated in general. Balance is key.

I read recently the number one reason conflicts stay unresolved is due to feelings of invalidation. When someone doesn’t feel they matter and have a voice, it hurts. And they will be less willing to hear what you have to say. Sometimes simply saying, “I’m sorry” or “help me understand” can do a world of good. It speaks to the other person that they are important. It’s biblical. Philippians 2:3-4 Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others (ESV).

Today I want to challenge you, and myself, to be a good listener. Validate others. Treat people like they matter. I’m an ENFP on the MBTI categorization. My personality is fairly good at empathy and considering the other person’s perspective. However, the weakness (and I’ve done this) is I can also be very critical of those who do not live life and process as I do. Without meaning to, I can get a bit prideful. Especially when it comes to communication in relationships. God has been dealing with me about this. I need to listen more, say less, and respect differences in others.

Have social graces. They are seriously lacking in today’s culture. Love others. Part of that involves being a good listener. Don’t interrupt. Don’t listen to respond. Seek to understand. A truly wise, humble person realizes how much they have to learn. They see the giftings and strengths in others. And, they nurture it too.

Treat others with respect. Realize their time is valuable, their feelings are important to them, and they have something to give. In return others will want to hear what you have to say.

Proverbs 10:19 ESV When words are many, transgression is not lacking, but whoever restrains his lips is prudent.

Matthew 7:12 ESV So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.

Romans 12:16 ESV Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight.

James 1:19 ESV Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger.

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