Monday, March 21, 2011


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 Whenever there is rainy day in New York City, diverse in colors and looking like enormous mushrooms umbrellas fill the gloomy streets. There are no two umbrellas that look alike. Even the most common ones (classically, black) differ in size and design. If you are not too busy rushing somewhere, turn around, and you will see a mother with a stroller and a huge umbrella that covers both her and the baby, or a young thin girl in a light raincoat with a bright orange umbrella with flowers on it. There are also a bold red one, a girly pink one, one that is white with St.Patrick's day color sections as a reminder of the last week's holiday and many others.

Like umbrellas, there are no two people who are exactly the same. They may have similar features appearance-wise, but the way they think and values they have always differ. As we often spend hours disputing about something important for us with our best friends, failing to come to a compromise, our differences make us unique and interesting.

Understanding that we are so dissimilar with some people helps to communicate with them more effectively. Here are some tips that will help you... no, not to tolerate, as this word means "putting up with," no matter how kind it sounds, but to embrace other human beings and make significant business or personal connections:

1. Listen. There are other points of view besides yours. You may not even suspect that they exist, so ask people about what they think rather than attacking them agressively with your words. There is always another side of the story, and learning what it is often helps to come to a quicker and more peaceful compromise.

2. Agree. There is a useful phrase that lets others know that you understand and respect their opinion, while having yours that is not the same. This phrase is "yes, but." Short as it is, it helps. For instance, you desperately want to have a cat, but your parents object that the cat will smell bad, and you will not take care of it properly. Don't jump right at them, but intend to see what worries them and reply kindly, "Yes, I know you believe I'm still a child lacking responsibility, but there has to be a time in my life to learn how to be reliable and take care of others. Having a cat will definitely help me to develop those qualities that will be crucial for my adult life." Even if it doesn't get you a cat, in the worst case, it will allow you to avoid conflicts and to let your parents see that you are a rationally thinking grown-up now, a person whose opinion also matters. Perceiving respect and understanding in your words, they will be inclined to pay you back

3. Keep calm. There are folks out there looking for trouble. They are intentionally trying to make you angry, to yell at them, so that they have a reason to scream back at you. Some people even do this unconsciously. If "don't lower yourself to their level" doesn't work for you, think about it this way: they are waiting for you to spit out curse words. Therefore, you should disarm them with your politeness. If they say something unpleasant in response, it will only make them look bad, not you. In most cases, however, they will be lost, as this will not be the reaction they usually expect.

4. Know when it's time to leave. You check the clock to find out when you have to leave home to go to work or school. Similarly, confess to yourself: is this conversation going nowhere? Sometimes the discussion is heating up, and the best thing you can do is to think it over and come back to it the following day when the person you are arguing with and you cool off and be able to come back to it in a calmer conversation.

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The moral is: don't try to sell your umbrella to those who don't like its style or brand, but try to see the beauty of their one and accept its existence under this grey with clouds and weeping with rain drops New York skyline. When many umbrellas are put together, they create a bigger protective shield over our heads compared to the tiny and lonely aura of a single one no matter how proudly we carry it around.


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