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Talking and Communicating Are Two Different Things, Relationships Need Communication
One of the most valuable courses I ever took was Communication as part of my Adult Education Certificate. More than the tools I received, the insight I gained during those 2 days proved to be invaluable.
Although there is a lot of talk, almost no one knows how to communicate. Even though it is the most important aspect of any successful relationship.
The best example is my parents who, despite being married for almost 40 years, never learned to communicate properly. They finally decided to separate a few months ago, and I’m still convinced that the differences weren’t as big as they thought. Most of their frustrations stemmed from feeling unheard and being unloved.
Neither of them ever noticed that they weren’t listening to the other the way they expected to be listened to. They repeated the same sentences over and over, which turned into trigger sentences that were soon locked away for the sake of peace and brought out only in moments of anger.
“But I’m listening”
Try this exercise. Sit down with your partner and choose a topic. The rule is that only one person can speak at a time. Decide who will be the first person. Then, in 2 minutes, the first person can give their opinion or tell their story. The second person cannot speak. After 2 minutes, the roles are reversed. When the second person speaks, the 1st person must be silent for the full 2 minutes.
Easy, you might say. Try.
Once the first person has said a few things, you’ll feel compelled to join the conversation, give your opinion, mumble approval or disapproval, or share your story. It’s hard to give someone our undivided attention and just focus on listening.
Thoughts are swirling in our heads, we can’t wait to capture them, share them before they are forgotten, we are constantly thinking about what to say next, how to react, how to get on top of the argument, how to convince the one who needs it. convincing. In all this internal dialogue, there is no peace and quiet to really hear the other.
“Not what I said”
Let’s say you listened. Let’s say you heard your partner state unequivocally, “You shouldn’t spend that much money.” That’s what he said. Loud and clear. The next thing you need to do is bring out the artillery. How dare you! You don’t spend much and this was really an exception. You need to appreciate how conservative your spending habits are and understand that if you go out and bang, you deserve it.
Do you notice anything? Again, this is all about you. You took a sentence and now you stopped listening again. You are in full revenge mode. But did you really understand, did you hear what he said? Are you sure why he said that? Do you really feel like he’s just trying to deprive you of a treat? Are you sure that deep down he thinks you are his reckless, irresponsible wife?
Or is it possible that you are worried about something that you, as a real partner, need to take the time to investigate? That if you channeled your retaliatory energy into understanding his point of view to the best of your ability before going into battle, you might find that it made sense? Or do you find that your interpretation of that one sentence doesn’t match his intent?
Been there, done that, enlightened. Communication is not that difficult. If I had to sum it up in one sentence, it would go something like this:
He listens. Make it clear. Understand. And only then answer.
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