“Our body is not nonsense from which we struggle to free ourselves … from which we learn to feel, to move, to smell, to touch, to listen, to be hungry and to love.”
~ Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes,
Women who run with the wolves.
We challenge ourselves to improve every area of our lives, but we often invite people into our space who treat us “casually.” Question: How do we detect the casual behavior of a potential suitor, business partner, or friend?
Every week, I recite the Dr. Pinkola-Estes quote to myself for a couple of reasons. One, it is powerful. Two, it speaks volumes about women’s emotional struggles in pursuit of education, personal freedoms, and independence.
Jim Rohn, (1930-2009) one of the world’s ancient masters of communication once said, “To communicate well, don’t treat conversations (and people) casually.” Rohn referred to the word “casually” which means not careful enough. He said, “Chance brings victims into the conversation.” Think about that point. Rohn also pointed out the importance of communication. He said, “Everything we feel and have to say is important, so why would anyone feel comfortable treating another person informally?”
As a woman, I think about where we (women) come from and what we have accomplished to position ourselves where we are today. I’m sure you are aware of other women’s hustles because you can relate to how demanding our introductions can be as the world’s first teachers. Therefore, when a man decides to treat a woman informally, she is summoned to pause and wonder, what is his intention? If it’s not aspiring together, allowing both of you to differentiate and support your growth, and bring each other to life, your intention might be to fulfill your own personal agenda for the moment.
How do you recognize casual behavior? Especially if it is beautifully masked in random acts of kindness and consideration. I have provided some examples of casual treatment below:
Examples of casual treatment
(1) Professional relationship
Kelly Ripa was informed by the media that Michael Strahan, her partner at Live with Kelly and Michael, has accepted a new position at another network. Ripa felt betrayed and hurt; The entire stage highlighted the importance of communication, consideration, and most importantly, respect in the workplace. His responses below captured his disappointment:
“Sometimes when you feel so comfortable with someone, you may not give them the same consideration as someone you are not so comfortable with; a certain formality disappears.” (Also a personal example)
“Finding the perfect chemistry, camaraderie, and trust is not easy; it doesn’t fall out of the blue. It takes work and (group) discussion.”
(2) Personal relationship
The act of suddenly cutting off all communication with someone the subject is dating, but who no longer wishes to date, is a casual deal. This is done in the hope that the person will simply “get the hang of it” and leave the subject alone rather than having the subject respectfully communicating that they are no longer interested. In addition to dating, this type of casual behavior is also seen in friendships.
So why do people treat people informally when the alternative is easier? Most people don’t expect to have difficult conversations. It is natural for us to avoid conflict, as it reinforces anxiety and avoidance is the shortest path with fewer obstacles. But only for the moment. Casual dealing can lead to bigger confrontations in the future and is likely to provoke anger and pain in the recipient.
What if we choose the alternative and give that person attention and a straight answer? By working to overcome fear of conflict, we can reduce anxiety and develop our courage and communication skills that are important in our relationships. By avoiding casual dealing, we can prevent victims.
(3) Divorce / Custody
* Mary went to court to get custody of her children. Rather than share in the sacrifices she made as a mother for her children, Mary pointed a finger at the ex-husband’s aggressive behavior as he shared how he supported his children as a father. Due to the informal treatment of her ex-husband, Mary almost lost custody of the children. The judge sent them both a clear message:
“You two need to learn to communicate better and with each other. I can only imagine what your conversations are like at home, based on the way you presented yourself today. Fix the communication and start parenting these children.”
Tips to consider
Attentive ladies, your life is important. You are a woman of integrity and depth of feelings, perfection is not required. We have a responsibility to treat each other well, yes. We also have a responsibility to treat other people with respect. Your fight may not be the fight of other peoples, but they are human. As the scripture Matthew 7:12 says, “Treat others as you want them to treat you.” And after fighting all our lives for the right to feel, to move, to smell, to touch, to listen, to be hungry and to love, put some respect in that routine. Chance brings victims.
Think about the impact of that quote.
Here are 5 tips for spotting casual treatment:
1. Feel the energy around you.
2. Be present. Listen to what the recipient is saying and not saying.
3. Ask the right questions to determine an agenda.
4. Don’t confuse courtesy with interest.
5. Have compassion and draw a line.
Gentlemen, women face many challenges in life at home, at work, in general, and personally. Don’t break us any more with casual behavior. It’s messy, inconsiderate, and reveals the cloudiness of your character. Don’t get dirty. Dr. Maya Angelou once said, “Don’t dance and jive” with people’s lives. If you can’t treat them decently, apologize and take your mess away because no one has time for that. Communication is a two-way street. “Anything good that we build ends up building us.” (J. Rohn) Let’s consider how our communication choices impact our lives and those of those around us. Casual dealing is an unhealthy form of communication. And the casual deal could be a matter of life and death.
Think about why this message might be important in your life right now.
Clarissa’s date and Jim’s message brought the importance of communicating home to me on another level.
* Name change to protect identity.