I have found that in the short time I have been on this planet communication seems to be important. How does one learn how to effectively communicate though? Can you teach it?
Recently I was involved in a communication dispute. That dispute came about because individuals were having a hard time communicating with one another. Each had their own styles of communication that were either taught or learned through personal experiences growing up. Was either way right or wrong for them? I don’t think so but I do think adaptability is important in communication. I will not discuss the contents of the dispute because the focus is on communication and the styles that we use. For these two individuals they had different ways of handling conflict and had different ways they wanted the other one to respond. Being realistic though you cannot always have it your way. Being adaptable is important. Setting up realistic expectations and meeting the person halfway is important.
For instance I had a friend who I disputed with directly earlier this year. During that dispute I knew I needed to adapt a little to their communication style. You see when confronted with conflict the person grew defensive and needed space. I initially gave them that space. I communicated with them as best as I could from my standpoint and allowed ample time to process and gather their own thoughts as I had done when I needed to confront them. I knew that in order for me to try and make this a success I needed to understand their style and adapt a little. My response back from them came very late, too late to fix the situation but the end result was the answers I needed. It didn’t save the friendship but allowed both parties to have time to process in their own ways. That is what is important when communicating with someone, being adaptable.
We do not want to ever change who we are but we want to be mindful of how we interact with others and allow them to be a part of our lives as well. We want to be able to give a little and receive a little in return. Communication is tricky though when the relationship lines are blurred.
How do you communicate with a parent? How do you communicate with a lover? A Boss? A Stranger? I bet your head is spinning thinking, “Wow, I wouldn’t talk the same way to these people”. So when we communicate with someone who has different relationships to us, we do need to apply the same logic in communication. We cannot approach each situation with the same communication we would with them for each instance. Both parties need to understand this. This is only when the person as dual relationships with you. For instance, I wouldn’t approach my partner who may be employed by me with the same communication style at home and in the office. We need to look at each role and each situation as they come.
With this in mind I challenge you to communicate with someone you have been struggling with, with a different approach. Be mindful of the role they have with you and the role they play in the situation or dispute you have with them. Make sure that you allow room to breathe for both of you.