Approval Led Communication

Your personal fear factor determines your talk (TALQ) style, according to Drs. Les and Leslie Parrott. For example, as I discussed in my last posting, people who fear the loss of time tend to handle problems more with aggression than passivity. They don’t want to waste time. They often take control to make things happen so as not to lose time that is precious to them, causing them to appear as aggressive communicators.

The “A” in “TALQ” stands for approval. People who fear the loss of approval will communicate with feelings instead of facts. Facts are black or white and may offend, causing disapproval, while feelings can be controlled to fit each situation. People who fear the loss of approval tend to be passive communicators. Why has our society made this to be a less than favorable method of communicating?

The truth is, people who fear the loss of approval face the difficulty of telling the truth. It’s not that they lie, but they tend to “sugar coat” and avoid the harsh realities. (I take the liberty of saying this because this is a huge part of my own personality.) Truthfulness easily offends. That’s not what someone seeking approval wants to do.

I would dare to say that most people desiring approval often walk away from conversations feeling frustrated because of their inability to express the whole truth. This becomes a problem for me when I want to share the good news about Jesus with someone, but get caught up in the fear of their disapproval.

Is it possible that these negative reactions abound because society tells us how we should communicate? I need to remind myself that my actions will always speak louder than impulsive words that may offend someone.

I find it interesting in the Parrott’s book that more men (64%) rate the loss of time as their number one emotional safety need than women (36%). In approval though, the women scored highest (63%), while the men scored 37%.

Women have been socially “suppressed” for centuries, or so we’ve been told, if seeking approval and putting others first is a negative thing. Now, here we are in the 21st century, with every advantage possible for women. We’ve gained so much politically, socially, in the job market, yet it only seems to have broadened the horizon of areas to seek approval.

Maybe it’s just the way God made us. In the Bible, He tells us to “put others ahead of ourselves” and “the person who holds his tongue is wise.”

As a teenager in the 70’s, we heard over and over the need to look out for our “self”. Putting others first, which goes hand in hand with approval, was considered weak. We were told to "speak out", "tell them what you think."

It wasn’t until I found God that I realized He made me to look out for other people, to think of them first. I had it right all along, but the world told me something different.

Could approval be the icing on the cake, the treat for a good deed? In our relationship with God, everything we do is to please Him, to seek His approval. Isn’t that how we should relate to our spouse? And to other people?

We are put on Earth for other people, to reach out to them, to help them, to teach them about God. Women were made to be helpers. If we didn’t feed off the approval, the pat on the back, we might not be motivated to act. Just a thought for you to chew on.

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