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peter vajda

Hi, Steve,

What I personally see here is "operating on assumptions" - I'm assuming the other knows "from whence I come."

Very common in life - communicating with other(s)on the basis of spoken and unspoken assumptions (and overt or covert agendas, often without realizing it.) Conscious and unconscious assumptions serve as obtacles to effective communication and understanding.

Part of our role as "conscious" human beings is to search out our assumptions, and expose them - ideas, positions, perspectives, ways of do-ing, be-ing and hav-ing that we've accepted as
true without verification.

Once we "out" our assumptions/expectations through self-inquiry, see them for what they are, we can the create and forge deeper relationships based on mutual understanding (and respect) for who the other is, where they are coming from and what they "get" and "don't get."

So the conscious one asks: "Am I operating free from assumptions?" "How do I know?" "What do my assumptions tell me about me and how I'm relating to another?" "Can I suspend my assumptions - why or why not?"

The adult-child-dynamic individual, the overbearing parent, the "need to be right" individual all live in, and operate in,the world of work. They are characterized, among other ways, by a litany of spoken and unspoken assumptions (expectations)that drive their (often counter-productive) behavior.

Perhaps we can think of a task or problem we are working on right now. Chances are, we have some assumptions about the situation or people involved. Asking the questions above can help us detect our assumptions and see how our assumptions are effectively driving our response or interactions for the highest good of all involved.

Being truly "present" and in the moment, is one way we can operate free from asssumptions. Perhaps then so many wouldn't be falling off their "bicycles."

Steve Roesler


Nice use of the bicycle metaphor:-)

As happens frequently (always?) the discussion circles back to awareness. Something that I was exploring as your comment came through was the notion that even people with a keen sense of awareness are being drawn away from it as a result of the rapid-fire communication technologies and social media. What's becoming clearer to me is that people are using the word "relationship" with Twitter and other social media in ways that are re-defining the word "relationship". If that becomes the "accepted" definition, then relationships will actually become increasingly transactional; <140 words will, for example, become a standard for "effective" communication vs. the depth of communication needed to develop, sustain, and grow what have traditionally been "genuine" relationships.

Technology is transforming the number of connections that one can have in a finite period of time. Are people confusing connections with relationships? Or, are they saying that this is, in fact, the depth of relationship with which people will--and should--be satisfied in the future?

peter vajda

Hi Steve,

Relationship vs. connection? Some thoughts:

The dynamic we have come to know as ‘relationship’ is disintegrating, replaced by a connection or transaction, most often based on superficial, fleeting contacts characterized by distance and impersonal channels. Whether that contact comes through e-mail, cellphone, Blackberry, Twitter, social networking sites or texting, this electronic connection is devoid of direct, personal contact. There’s no face-to-face interaction, so emotional connection is lost.

With that loss, trust erodes and so does the relationship For example, you no longer have to face the person you’re dealing with; look in his or her eyes and become aware of human contact at an emotional level. And as relationships shift into impersonal modes, untrustworthy, superficiality, and non-commitment-type behavior gets easier, even among couples and partners. Telling a bare-faced lie over the telephone or via e-mail is far simpler and more tempting than trying to carry it off in a face-to-face meeting.

Relationships that produce openness and trust can only be cultivated when all parties experience an emotional ‘safe zone’. That’s why, when relationships are replaced by “electronic” interactions and transactions, emotional connection—the human factor that creates true relationships—goes missing; along with feelings of warmth and friendship towards the other person: what marriage researcher John Gottman says is the definitive foundational element that determines the sustainability of relationships. When there is no emotional connection, there is no friendship. No friendship, no trust. No trust, no honesty, no transparency, no truth-telling.

The ether through which electronic connections are made cannot transmit this ‘safe zone’ or generate feelings of trustworthiness. The major unintended consequence of all our ‘separation by electronics’ is the erosion of genuine human contact. Without it, so-called relationships become mere temporary linkings of convenience, as easily broken off as established.

Within an electronic world, more and more people may be connecting, but fewer and fewer folks are relating. We may live in an increasingly inter-connected world, but we are experiencing a far less inter-related one. Thanks to the fragmentation of relationships—one major consequence of living in such a culture—human contact is more likely to be limited to a phone call, an e-mail, or a quick “cu” text or Twitter message. This is a poor substitute for real conversation and authentic dealings with another human being. It’s questionable whether it represents actual contact at all.

The disintegrating relationships in our culture are symptomatic of a greater threat and challenge—one based on living in a world where all this superficial inter-connecting is replacing deeper inter-relating. Even as it becomes easier than ever to stay ‘in touch’, our capacity actually to touch one another—physically or emotionally—is slipping away.

Wally Bock

Hi Steve. What you describe at the beginning of the post is often called "The Curse of Knowledge." We use jargon others don't understand, but we also go into far great detail than they care about because we love our knowledge so much!

Steve Roesler

Peter, your flow speaks for itself. No need to wreck it by intervening.

Steve Roesler


It really is a fascinating curse. I'm sure you've run into the same things on many occasions, but I have often become frustrated by colleagues and clients who would intellectually acknowledge the phenomenon and then insist that they wouldn't be "respected" unless they sounded "smarter" than everyone else in the room.

I'm sure you've also watched the results of such folly...

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