You Can’t Change How Someone Communicates

You Can’t Change How Someone Communicates

I would like to scream this from the rooftops.

After another online argument (I know, I know! I need to disengage!) I would like to say this major thing: you cannot change how someone communicates, you can only change your response to them.

Yes, I know you might be frustrated with the seemingly tone-deaf emails.

I completely understand that you might find it hard to believe that folks are still promoting their work, their webinars, their mission.

You have a choice.

You can choose to engage. Get angry. Shame them publicly. Screenshot their email and chirp about it online, use gifs that are rude at best, hurtful and insulting at worst. You can dogpile some poor small business or marketer and be terrible. You can tell them how to communicate with their team, write posts, make videos – urge your followers to do the same. You can attempt the impossible – try to change how they communicate from a virtual platform because we’re all staying at home, even the person who is promoting their webinar. You can attempt to teach them empathy by shaming them and telling them how to feel the “right” way.


You can understand that you can’t change how someone communicates. You can only change how you respond to them. Some things that can make you feel active:

Choose grace over shame.
We’re all scared AF. Fear is wild – we do all kinds of weird things when our safety is being threatened or taken away. Step back when someone is reacting differently than you – do you need to spend negative energy on them? Is it effective? Or are you projecting?

Be active yourself
Angry? Upset? Do something with it. This isn’t to say that you should shame them (which is something) – you can go for a socially distanced walk, play with a pet, call a friend, watch a movie, create something, write King Lear – whatever! Do something with that anger that might turn negative with shaming someone.

Step back and ask why
Why are you going to shame? Why not have a conversation? You can choose to respond directly to them: hey, this feels tone-deaf. Hey, have you thought about this? Hey, let me offer something to you directly and assertively, instead of being passive-aggressive and shaming on social media. Ask yourself why that’s your default – how are you processing all of this?

Discourse is fine. Shame isn’t.
We’re all upset – have a conversation. Be assertive! You can say something like “When you do this, I feel this” to the person, company, organization or entity that is doing the behavior that’s bothering you. In improv, when we talk about people not in the room we usually have issues being direct and assertive with those individuals. Again, shame isn’t ok – we’re all scared.

All, it’s a new world out there. Choose kindness.

And stay the f*&^ home.


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