Lesson 3: Communication

From the deepest, and most heartfelt argument, to the easiest of texts to show consideration and respect, communication is critical.  That doesn’t just go for romantic relationships.  That goes for any relationship.  Communication is especially important in romantic relationships because two lives are being shared as one.  There are extra considerations to be taken into account and a lack of communication is a quick and easy way to get into a fight or end the relationship altogether. 

Communication is how understandings are reached and expectations are established.  Understanding the importance, not just of what was said, but what was intended, or meant, is critical.  It is so easy to misunderstand or misinterpret messages and it is a quick way to an unproductive or unnecessary argument.  Arguments are so easy to avoid, in theory, but in the heat of the moment, poor communication, misunderstood and misinterpreted messages are the fastest way to a disagreement that can get verbally or even physically violent.  

There are many easy ways to prevent these miscommunications and misunderstandings.  Ask as many questions as you can or need, but be tactful.  There is nothing wrong with getting clarification in an effort to ensure you actually understand what was said or intended.  When they ask you where you were, that isn’t just about where you physically were.  It is also about why you weren’t where they thought or were under the impression you would be.

Pay closer attention to their tone and body language.  Any seemingly innocent or inconsequential question could have the type of underlying meanings that are not so innocent or inconsequential at all.  The same statement or questions, spoken in different tones, can have two entirely different meanings.  Someone you are romantically involved with is likely to assume that you would understand these not so overt messages.  It is easy to overlook the fact that others are not in your head so they might not fully grasp the meaning of your message.

Think about times when you were asked “How was work?”  Sometimes, you are actually being asked how your day was at the office, store, etc.  Pay close attention to how it was asked.  You of all people should be able to tell by a certain point when there is some distress in their voice.  Perhaps they are asking this question as a hint that you should ask them how their day was because it was miserable and they need to talk about it.  Be prepared to listen.  Listen closely and don’t interrupt.  Even if it is to get clarification, wait until there is a pause or until they are finished.

Treat communication as a pleasure rather than responsibility and things will go so much better.  Disagreements will happen no matter what.  No matter what, you are different people with different experiences and clashes are inevitable.  How you communicate will always determine the outcome of these encounters.  Remember, you already know everything you know.  Try opening your mind to the experiences of others.  There are some great stories and experiences out there.  All you have to do is shut up and listen.  

Takeaways:

  1. Ask questions
  2. Be open and honest
  3. Pay attention to the nonverbals
  4. Don’t interrupt
  5. Do more listening than talking

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