Self -Monitoring

Self Monitoring: Do you Censor What you Say?

Dr. Chapman is getting ready to ask us to learn how to speak different love languages than our own in upcoming chapters so this week he has encouraged us to discover our preferred love language.

All this week I have tried to supplement his chapter by discussing components of effective interpersonal communication.

I have encouraged you to take the love language profile so you can see your preference.  Then I wrote about people who are so comfortable with their own self-concept that they meet the needs of others.  I added the ability to perform a wide range of behaviors [a well-developed communication repertoire] and yesterday the mental ability to understand other points of view [mental frameworks].

Today I have begun the post with an interesting scale that I encourage you to take.  It is about paying attention to yourself–technically called self-monitoring.  This is not necessarily a bad thing.  In fact if you are trying to change your communication behavior, it is a good thing.

People who score high in self-monitoring have the ability to pay close attention to their behavior and use their observation to shape the way they behave.  Sound self-centered?  Maybe you could see it that way, but self-monitoring is a key component in making changes.  People who score low in self-monitoring don’t pay any attention to their behavior and they are often perceived as incompetent in interpersonal situations.  They often are not even aware of their blunders.

High self-monitors have a “detached view” of themselves.  To explain this, they have the ability to see themselves as other see them.   Interpersonal communication scholars Ronald Adler and Russell Proctor describe high self-monitors as “they have the detachment to ask themselves ‘how am I doing’ and to change their behavior if the answer isn’t positive.”  In short, they are constantly gathering information from their environment and adapting.  They are trying to fit in.

Where does this “fit in” with the discussion of love languages?  Well Dr. Chapman will be asking us to adapt to the ones we love.  Do we just speak the language we prefer to people who don’t prefer it?  Can you put your preference aside and speak a language that your loved ones need?

High self-monitors will be able to do that.

Low self-monitors will struggle.

Again Adler and Procter state that low self-monitors are so unaware of others that they are “blissfully ignorant of their shortcomings.”  They “overestimate” their communication skills.  Studies of communication skills in humorous situations report that low self-monitors think they are funny despite reports from partners who say they are not funny at all.

Low self-monitors are not able to see how they are coming across to others.

Take the scale.  It is free.  The sponsoring agency is probably a graduate school somewhere and they will ask you if they can tabulate your results; that is all.  They will not try to sell you anything.  Skip the add-on activity if you prefer and go right to results.

A little knowledge about yourself is good.

Self-monitoring is a key skill in becoming adept at learning how to use others’ love languages and that is the whole point of  God Speaks Your Love Language.

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