Active communication -- 'I know you hear me, but are you listening?'

EDWARDS AIR FOCE BASE, Calif. -- It can be easy to think the way we communicate is the way everyone should communicate. This can be true in intimate relationships as well as in professional working relationships. By learning our primary style of communication, we can do a better job connecting to those around us.

A variety of communication issues will be addressed in the upcoming Active Communication Series, offered here at Edwards, Feb. 14 - March 20. This non-judgmental, educational environment will be facilitated by a trained professional. This course will focus on identifying and accepting our unique ways of communicating influenced by two primary styles -- introverted versus extroverted communication.

According to the Active Communications Course, which is authored by the Active Relationships Center, emotions generate in the brain 500 to 5,000 times faster than logical thought, so feelings of anger or happiness reach our thinking brain much faster than our ability to express them logically.

Communication can also be based on our unique life memories and experiences, developing our own rules about emotions. How we feel affects how we think and in turn how we behave. When we learn skills for better self awareness, we can start making changes to improve communication.

"You make me...!" "You always...!" "We need to talk!" When you hear those statements what is your immediate feeling? Is it happy?

Do you feel like responding, "You're right dear, I do make you angry. I'm really a jerk. How about sitting down together so you can tell me what a **** I am. Shall we do it over a cup of coffee or hot cocoa?"

Not likely.

A more natural feeling is anger, hurt, or rejection, and the response is probably defensive. So how can we talk about our needs and wants without getting or giving a defensive response? How can we connect with our intimate partner, friends, family, and co-workers and enjoy respectful communication?

For more information, or to sign up for the six-part Active Communication Series Feb. 14 - March 20, call Elaine at 661-277-5292. Classes will be held at Chapel 2 on Tuesdays from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. Anyone with base access may attend.