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2. Be honest but don't be cruel. Being honest is tough for people; we're trained to be polite and to tell little white lies. Unfortunately, little lies turn into ginormus lies over time, and if you feared the initial hurt feelings, just wait until the lie is discovered and then you'll see some drama. If someone asks you for feedback about their skills, you need to be honest and constructive. The following is not constructive advice. "You suck because you're sloppy. Stop hitting me in the face all of the time, I'm sick of it!" Also not constructive "Everything you do is just wonderful! Never change!" Tell them the truth, but give them feedback on how to fix it; also tell them what they're doing well!
3. Watch your non verbal cues. Sometimes we send out nonverbal cues and aren't even aware of them. Now, don't get all "human lie detector" on people; sometimes a cigar is just a cigar, as they say, and sometimes crossed arms don't mean anything other than someone is cold or feels awkward about their arms hanging by their sides. On the other hand, there are some signs that are just plain hostile. Rolling your eyes, walking away, and raising the tone of your voice are just a few ways we show that we are not open to communication. Just think about how the typical teenaged girl reacts in sitcoms and you have a template of how NOT to behave when you're trying to communicate with a teammate.
5. Don't bring up settled arguments from the past. This is a big problem with couples, but it can be just as deadly to a team's sanity. "Two years ago you made me feel stupid for using my toe stops. Now everyone uses toe stops! HA! You NEVER LISTEN TO ME!" This isn't helping. I know you remember feeling frustrated, but this is the present. Concentrate on the issue at hand. Women and elephants have long memories, but it's not making it easier to communicate with your team if you keep reliving every single injustice you've been put through.
6. Think about what you're going to post electronically before you post it. Nothing annoys people more than passive aggressive posting. Also, even if you don't mean to, sometimes your posts can be read as passive aggressive because "tone" doesn't come across well on FB, texts and emails. Think about what you write before you hit send. Unfortunately, some people are just LOOKING for something to be butthurt over, especially on Facebook. You can't control their reaction to anything you post, but consider the tone before you post it.
7. Don't assume that "everyone knows how things run" in your league. You have newbies to incorporate, transfer skaters, volunteers, and things change. "That's how we always do things" is not a means of communication. Captains and coaches, be clear of the expectations you have of each skater. If your league has specific requirements for volunteer hours, or community outreach, you need to spell them out in a timely manner. Remind people! Sometimes derby skaters have the attention span of the dogs in "Up" and they need someone to give them a gentle kick in the butt to get their work done. I know we don't want to babysit each other, but let's face it. If you don't give people nudges, they will forget about it....and then the butthurt sets in when they are punished, or benched.
These tips aren't the only ones that can help you communicate better in your league, but it's a start. I personally am on a campaign to eradicate butthurt in derby, and if you communicate better with your leaguemates, you are well on your way to helping me make derby a butthurt free zone.