Are You Communicating or Just Talking? – Part 1
How many times have we heard that communication is the key to relationships? Many, many times I’m sure. The only problem is everyone has a different idea of what communication is. How do we know if we are using the type of effective communication that builds relationship and intimacy or the type of communication that is simply just talking?
Here is the first of three components of effective communication that I’d like to highlight if you want to experience deeper connection in your relationships:
Vulnerability, Not Passivity
The other day I hurt my back and it was painful for me to do just about anything. Not wanting to feel alone in my pain, I noticed myself wanting attention and empathy from my wife, Katie. So I began mentioning to her how much discomfort and pain I was in. As time went on, I wasn’t receiving the response I was desiring so I simply increased my complaining around her. After awhile, we had a discussion and we discovered that my attempt to communicate what I was desiring from Katie wasn’t clear at all. It came about in the form of passively complaining around her which slowly became an annoyance to her and left me feeling unheard and uncared for.
How often do we passively communicate hoping the other person will be able to read our mind and give us what we want without us having to actually be clear and direct in our communication?
I get it – it can feel very vulnerable to communicate clearly and openly. This is why it can be so easy to hide our true feelings behind less vulnerable forms of communication like passivity. If we get “rejected” or don’t receive the response we are looking for, it hurts. But choosing passive communication puts an unfair expectation on the listener, making it very difficult to actually be understood, which can increase the chance for resentment to build in the relationship.
Be courageous, vulnerable, and direct when you communicate. In doing so, you’re not only making it easier for the listener, but you are giving yourself a chance to be fully seen and understood.
by Brendon Byrne