Without effective communication no relationship stands a chance. We talk and listen all day long, but only a small part of real communications take place in words. Beyond that, although our partner is listening to what we are saying, it does not mean they are hearing or understanding what we mean.
While listening, most of the time the other person is planning what he or she will say in return, or they are tuning out, or building up some kind of fantasy about what’s really going on. Especially when we are fighting, when it is more important than ever to be understood, words go flying back and forth like arrows with the intention of hurting. True resolution to the problem is then very be far away.
What are the secrets of effective communication? How do we truly get what we want, and give the other what they are needing? Let’s look at the top five communication problems, and see how they can be solved. Once this is done we’re off to a wonderful start in building the kind of relationship we have always wanted.
Problem 1 Wanting To Be Right And Prove The Other Wrong.
Before we are able to communicate effectively, we must look carefully at our basic intention. Are we communicating in order to be understood, to get what we want, or do we have another intention behind the words we are saying? Many just want to prove that they are in the right and their partner is wrong, (and always has been). This is communication as war. The words are filled with anger and blame. They cause the other to feel small, bad or inadequate. The words in this kind of communications are never listened to. What is heard and responded to is the anger and righteousness behind what is being said.
To remedy this, decide that you will stop blaming the other, and give them a chance to truly be heard. Decide you do not have to prove a case, but find a way to establish a bridge of mutual understanding. These intentions are tremendously helpful in allowing the communication to succeed.
Problem 2 Not Being Able To Hear The Other Person
Remember, communication consists not only of talking, but also listening and hearing what is being said. We can do a whole workshop on the art of listening, but to start it is crucial to realize that each person can only truly “hear” what is being said, if they are willing to put aside their own point of view, and really be available to know the heart and mind of the other. This is not as simple as it sounds. Many of us immediately interpret what we are hearing, and put it into a ready made slot. Others distort what is being said. Others pretend to listen, but are occupied with their own thoughts. A solution to this is to repeat to the other what you think they have said. Let them know how their communication is filtering through to you. Be willing to really hear what they mean.
Problem 3 Communicating to Manipulate
Some communication is for the purpose of getting what we want, when we want it, whether the other person is able to give it or not. We sulk, pout, threaten, cajole, or do whatever we can to make the other feel badly. This kind of communication, while effective temporarily in some cases, has a terrible effect on the long term health of any relationship. Give it up. Respect what the other person has to offer. If they cannot give what you want to you, see if you can give it to yourself.
Problem 4 Communicating to Deceive
Needless to say, this is one of the dangerous kinds of communications that destroy relationships. Lies, exaggerations, games, etc. all cause confusion and pain. They shake the very foundation of the relationship and eventually cause a deep breach in trust. A great deal of the pain in relationships is caused by deceptions of all kinds. Be conscious of the danger of this and stop it before it starts. Stop it in your own behavior. When you are honest and forthright, you will not be willing or available to receive all forms of deceit from others. You will have integrity in your relationships, and a sharp eye.
Problem 5 Double Messages
Double messages are very prevalent and a certain form of deceit. It is saying one thing and doing another. Promising something, either with actions or words, and not delivering, holding out a carrot in front of someone’s eyes. Double messages cause a great deal of confusion and keep a person hanging on, long after the time they should be gone. The individual doesn’t know which communication to listen to, what is being said or promised with words, or the communication given by the actions. Always pay attention to a person’s actions. They are more aligned with the truth for them than their words. If their words contradict what they’re doing, ignore what is being said. Understand that the person is conflicted and split within themselves. Don’t allow them to make you feel that way as well.
All communication that is supportive, nurturing and healthy comes out of honesty, integrity and the wish to share. This kind of communication has to be practiced daily. In order to do this, we must continually be on the look out for the other kinds of communication which confuse, harm and cause trust to be lost.