3 Examples Of How You May Be {Not So} Effectively Communicating

Communication. It’s such a loaded word. It’s one of those things that can solidify the relationship that you are in, or end it. The word in itself is so simple, yet it’s one of the most complex actions for human beings to grasp. Why is that so? Maybe it’s in our voice itself (or the lack thereof). One thing that I’ve noticed is the fear that some of us have when it comes to self-expression = expressing yourself. We often ponder everyone and everything but ourselves. Thoughts are typically, “how will he/she feel about what I am conveying?” “What if I hurt his/her feelings?” “What if I run them away by being too expressive?” “How will my words come off to others?”

Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with the contemplation of your words before you say them, and keep in mind that there is a difference between expressing yourself and attacking someone else. When attacking, we typically use words that cast blame onto those who we are speaking to, and often add a hint of offensive language to the mix. Now expressing yourself, means just that. Being comfortable with the uncomfortable. Freely expressing your thoughts or how something may have made you feel yet in a constructive way. Have you ever heard the saying it’s not what you say, but how you say it? This sums up whether what you are communicating will come off as effective or offensive.
Communication, in essence, involves the exchange of words. With that exchange, there is a level of receptiveness that must exist that doesn’t in most cases… Do I have examples you ask? Of course! Let’s explore some below:
{Scenario I} You and your partner are having a discussion. It doesn’t even have to be about anything heated, it could just be a conversation regarding a current event. The two of you may bring two different views to the topic, which in theory, could make for really great dialogue! But the convo turns sour and fast… Neither of you want to believe that you are the reason for the change in tone, but… Is it possible that one of you were just listening to respond? Especially when you feel that you already have the answer. Sometimes we tune out during the conversation because we are already forming our response in our head. In that instance, you are not being receptive, but you are being selfish. This is something that we have to consciously work on, especially since most people don’t even know they are doing it.
{Scenario II} A question is posed on social media asking men how they feel about women wearing make-up (you’re laughing, but this shit is really a “thing” on social media). Again, this could make for a very interesting debate; the perception on the subject from both women and men will indeed be different for that reason alone (WE are different). But, the debate often goes south when the men start to respond (to the question that was actually asked to them btw). The ladies immediately go in, almost as if they are offended by the responses… Is it possible that this is an instance where someone is posting just to make conversation, not necessarily to hear the opinions of men? Or again, listening just to respond? *side eye* I’m asking because I really don’t understand. Here we are, posing a question TO men, but the moment they don’t respond in a way that WE deem acceptable we attack. Why ask a question that we really don’t want to hear the answer to? Better yet, why even entertain the post? There has to be a level of respect and acceptance during the communication process to make it effective. As women, when we are comfortable enough to be vocal, we sometimes struggle with the response that we are given (and accepting that response). There is some internal work that is so necessary for us to start doing if we expect to push forward.
{Scenario III} You rush home from work after being in the office for 11 hours. On the drive home, you are thinking about how you have to cook dinner, help the kids with their homework, and finish up the chores all before you can take a shower and head to bed yourself. You walk in the door and immediately begin to execute those things. After dinner, you ask your partner, “how was dinner” and he responds, “it was good, just a bit saltier than usual”. What would your response be? Would you dwell on the critique and go into defensive mode, recapping how long your day had been and how his ungrateful ass should just appreciate the food? Or, would you receive the information, contemplating how long your day was so you may have overdone it on the salt a bit and making a mental note for next time? Is it possible that your partner was just trying to communicate how he felt about dinner (answering the question that was asked of him?) Also, for the men, sometimes it’s better to leave the critique out until the next day when your partner is much more calm. She will receive the information much differently at that point.
Let’s be real, communication is simple, it’s people who are complex. You could be talking just to make conversation, talking but not listening, or listening to respond. These three things are counterproductive to effective communication. To combat these things, find your voice. That’s all you have to do. Your voice should not be the anger, fear, and screaming that we typically do when we want to be heard, but don’t necessarily want to listen. No. That’s not it. Subliminally, the shouting and anger is a cry out for something though. In reality, those individuals just want someone (preferably their partner) to listen. That’s all. The common misconception is that when you talk in a normal tone, it is considered to be unauthoritative and no one will listen. That’s not true. If the message is meant to get across to that person, they’ll get it. Even if they get angry, if they are working toward the same goal as you they will put their ego aside and listen. That alone will push you one step further in the communication process which is all we can ask for. Are you willing to put in the work to get the results that you expect? I hope that’s a yes. ?
~ T. Mariē