Communication- Part 1
I asked my readers what was of interest to them for blog topics. Not surprisingly communication was at the top of the list. Communication: something imparted, interchanged or transmitted. It sounds rather sterile doesn’t it?
I often hear couples say their main issue is communication, but it most often unveils itself as a symptom of something else. Let me explain. (For the purpose of feigning a simple scenario, I will use benign names, Mary and John) The first example is about mis-communication.
Mary’s husband John comes home from work tired, but generally in a good mood. Mary has had a difficult day at work also and would like John to be a shoulder. John greets her when he comes through the door, “Hi Mary, how was your day? Mine was awful.” Mary says “Ugh, John, why can’t I talk to you about MY day? Why does this have to be about you and your bad day?”
What just happened here? Did John just get ambushed? Now maybe John hasn’t been a particularly good ear for Mary, and her response is one of frustration and resentment built over time. The problem here is, Mary never really says what she wants and needs. In order to have communication, you need to directly and effectively let the listener know what it is you’re trying to say. So, we’ll give Mary another chance.
John just walked through the door, said his Hello, and how was your day? Mine was awful. Mary replies, ”Oh John, mine was awful too. I would love to hear about your day, but I would really like to go first, would that be ok? “John replies, “Sure, honey, let me just put my things down and we can sit and talk about our day.”
Can you hear the difference? You might be reading this thinking to yourself, “that sounds ridiculous; my life is not like that. My husband (or wife) will never respond that way.” You might be right, or you might be wrong. So many times we use complaint disguised as communication. The truth is, complaint is not communication, it’s indirect, blaming, figure pointing words. Mary’s first response is the result of not communicating to John her frustrations of not being heard. Women, in particular are great at stuffing things. We stuff things to a point of explosion, which is Part 2 of Communication. “Communication and the Avoidance Of.”
Challenge this week: Make a mental note to listen to your words. What are you trying it communicate? Is it direct? Can it be understood and responded to? Does the person know what you’re asking of them? On the other side, if your partner (or anyone for that matter) is complaining rather than communicating, asking them very simply, “is there something you’re trying to tell me or ask me? I am not understanding what you’re trying to say.”