Communication is a two-way street. Unfortunately, it often seems to have detours and dead ends! So, here’s a little relationship help in the communication department that can really make a difference.
As George Bernard Shaw says, “The problem with communication is the illusion that it has occurred.”
Now, he said a mouthful right there. So many people think that, because they said it, someone heard it. And, further, that what that someone heard was really what they meant!
You want to be heard and the other person wants to be heard also. So the first important thing is your willingness to listen as well as speak.
What’s scary about listening? The other might want to talk about something you don’t want to hear about. They may want you to change a behavior. That can cause you to feel insecure and defensive. If you behave from either of those two places, insecure or defensive, you know where that will lead. Either you’ll cower and feel bad, or, you’ll get angry and feel bad, or you’ll leave and feel bad. Not much of a choice! But, the result of not listening is worse.
A communication is a memo, for instance. Communicating is when the person responds to the memo and the sender then knows that it did get there. Unfortunately, even that is fraught with difficulties because the sender might think the receiver read it! So it is with communicating in our relationships. Just because we said something, it doesn’t mean the other person heard or understood it. That is why it is imperative to set aside quality time to talk with your partner, and to listen to your partner.
The result of not listening is distance. The more you fail to listen to one another, the more distance you create. Often, that continues until you think the gap between you is insurmountable. Do go that far! Set aside time every day or two–at least a half hour–and share the talking and the listening. Remember, hearing is what you do with your ears. Listening is what you do when your ears AND your brain are fully engaged and paying attention.
You’ll be surprised what a difference this all can make in your communicating! Try it.