Speech of trap
Consider the trivial arguments couples have to determine where to go on vacation. Let’s see what happens if both sides insist on their own thinking and try to explain how right they are. Let’s show how when people don’t hold back their anger while talking, it puts the conversation in a vicious circle by applying the four steps of the Talk Trap.
- I have a request, you have a request:
Man: “Honey, I found it! This year, on vacation, we will watch and tour the regions where the civil war took place!”
Woman: “Oh, no, y, what m? No force will ever keep me in a burning car for hours again. On vacation, we’re going to Florida to sit idly by in the sun.”
- Let me explain my reason, you explain yours:
- Man: “But, you know how much I’m into the Civil War!”
- Woman: “But you know how much I love to lie on the beach doing nothing!”
- I’ve made my decision, you will do the same
- Man: “Look, we will go to the places where the civil war took place. I don’t want to argue about it!”
- Woman: “No, you are going to places where the civil war took place. So I go to Florida’s sunny beaches every day.”
- I won’t talk, you don’t talk
The man starts to read the letter that comes to him and avoids looking at his wife. His wife also turns up the volume of the radio and does not hear his voice.
A classic example of the speech trap. Dr. Seuss’ Zax story is also a good example of the speech trap. Northbound Zax goes head-to-head with Southbound Zax. Both Zax want the other to get out of the way. (The first step of the speech trap). They begin to explain why. (Second step of the speech trap). Then they get the job done. (The third step of the speech trap):
Heading north, Zax frowned proudly.
‘I never take a step aside,
I will prove to you that I will not change my ways.
“Even if I have to wait here for fifty-five days,” he said.
When they are not talking, we think that people do not understand each other, that they should explain everything clearly and honestly and listen to each other. (What we do is trust the truth of the Myth of Hidden Harmony in humans: If people understand each other better, they can solve any problem.)
But in conversation traps people (and Zax too) stop talking because they understand each other so well. They know they can’t get along.
The same thing happened once when a teachers’ union took a break from negotiating the contract. They understood what kind of fee the school administration would offer and wanted to protest the situation by not participating in the negotiations. The cause of this issue was not poor communication.
Insufficient communication was the result.
In a real conflict, people actually understand pretty well what each other means. More understanding would not have resolved the teachers’ salary issue. In fact, people fall into the trap of speaking and constantly open up their own opinions, throwing communication into a vicious circle and only making matters worse.
There’s no use making the same mistake over and over again.