Friday, March 24, 2017

Part 5b. How Not to Suck at... Communication (In Relationships)

B.                  … In Relationships
If you thought communication (or lack of) is a big deal in your life, it’s a bigger deal in relationships! At least at work people have to deal with you. For the rest of the world it’s a choice. In your relationships bad communication can end a friendship and halt a relationship before it even gets started.

I just finished a 5-day leadership class: they say that communication is 70% body language, 20% tone and 10% words –hence the phrase “it’s not what you said, but how you said it.” Communication is meant to build trust and share information but if your verbal message doesn’t match your body language and tone, people have a hard time believing what you say. It feels like you're lying, or at best, hiding part of the truth.

People mainly lie because it’s easier than telling the truth. That’s the coward’s way out, and as an adult it’s time to mature enough to have some of those difficult conversations. Be open and honest; those hard exchanges will help us grow as people. Though they may not like what you have to say or be happy about it, person on the receiving end will actually appreciate your straight forwardness.

A key part of communication for me is commitment… not the let’s have titles or put a ring on it kind. That just comes with time with the right person. I’m just talking about the follow through on plans kind. I used to plan allot of group trips and outings and people’s lack of assurance drove me up a wall.  Pet peeve: when someone says “I’ll let you know.” In my head that’s a polite way of saying “no.” But it gives the other person a way back in if they want it. The down side is that holds my time hostage! I felt like I couldn’t make other plans waiting to see what they would say. Now, I set a deadline to “let me know” by or just treat “know” as a “no” and move on. I’ve been a lot happier that way. And when they try to come back with a last min answer, they get the “I’m busy,” “you didn’t let me know” or the “I have plans already.”

Now that I know how certain phrases and tones can sound, I try to clearer in my message, esp. via text. I am sarcastic. Depending on a person’s mood I know that some of the stuff I say can come off as mean and rude when in reality I was being completely playful. For that reason, when I think a text/email conversation is going south I immediately pick up the phone and call. No more texts until I hear their voice and understand they know I don’t mean any harm. I make sure that my massage is received the way I sent it!

My point is that you must to listen and look beyond what people actually say, and also take into account how people may interpret your words and body language. Allot of miscommunication is not in the words, it’s in how the other person interpreted them.  The message you sent was not received as intended! I learned the major cues, sayings, body language and tones and what they generally mean. I want to believe the words that come out of people’s mouths but now I know to pay attention to how people say things. People how a million ways to say “no” and just a few to say “yes.”

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