Skin Deep Conversations can’t Heal a Broken Relationship!
I’m sure you understand the importance of effective communication in interacting with others and engaging in daily activities. Effective communication is especially imperative when it comes to relationships of any kind. If you don’t have real and meaningful talks with your spouse, friend, coworker, or family member, how can you actually know what’s going on with them?
I have noticed that many people are not communicating with those they are closest to in their life. In my opinion, it is NOT acceptable to have skin deep conversations with people you care about if there are major unresolved issues going on in your relationship with them.
Are You Made of Synthetic Plastic? NO, Right?
Talking about sports, politics, the weather, and celebrity gossip all the time is great if life was perfect and you were made of plastic. However, you are real and your relationships that may need healing are with real people, both with real thoughts, and real emotions, that need to be communicated.
I have seen (and experienced) the effects of not communicating far too many times. Withholding communication not only causes problems to escalate, but it also can cause health issues and I will explain why.
If you can identify with any the following statements, I highly recommend taking a deep look at an area that is equally important in maintaining balance:
- You avoid certain people because you know you will have to actually talk to them.
- You are passive and just let the other person dominate the conversation.
- You are aggressive and dominate the other person with your words and tone.
- You are condescending and/or mean.
- Your conversations usually turn into arguments or end up in a fight.
- You have been told you don’t listen – AT ALL! (this is a big one for me and I have transformed a lot of it but I still struggle with it sometimes).
- You find yourself constantly thinking of what to say next instead of listening to what the other person is trying to communicate with you now.
- You feel negative emotions come up immediately with a particular person when having a conversation with them (every time).
Read also: 10 Conversations Every Couple Needs to Have
How Many of Those Signs can You Identify With?
These are the most common signs that point to transformational work needed in the area of communication. Some people are naturally great with communication and need very little work. On the other hand, there are some people who can’t even go five seconds without making a joke or vulgar reference. I am not sure, but I am thinking this is probably because they use humor or vulgarity to mask their insecurities.
From interacting with people who use humor or constant vulgarity, I have noticed that they usually feel awkward having real conversations about things that are important in life.
To learn more about overcoming insecurities, I recommend checking out the book, So Long, Insecurity: You’ve Been a Bad Friend to Us
Men and Women Communicate Differently, Here’s Why…
There are some men who are naturally great at communicating; if you are one or those men, my hat is off to you! However, men are generally terrible with communication. I am not sure if it’s ancestral or perhaps an evolutionary discrepancy, but many men have issues with communication. I think women are generally great at communication because they have an innate mothering energy that is naturally warm and expressive. Men tend to lack this and instead have a cold, repressed energy that is not interested in letting their true feelings out.
Read also: How to Nail a Presentation in 8 Simple Steps
I feel there is a lot of conditioning from media and society that men are supposed to hide their feelings and not cry. It almost seems like they make you feel “girl” if you cry and/or express your true feelings. Besides that being one of the most absurd things I have ever heard, it upsets me because it creates a false sense of self for men.
This is especially true for these so called “macho men” who are really just giant teddy bears on the inside, desperately in need of a big hug, and are dying to cry out an ocean of tears. To learn how to develop the art of communication, check out The Art of Communicating by Thich Nhat Hanh
WARNING! Lack of Effective Communication can Cause the Following Side Effects:
- Relationships can be severely damaged or even destroyed and ended
- Jobs can be lost
- Opportunities can be missed
- Lack of communication can cause misunderstandings
- Misunderstandings can turn into disagreements
- Disagreements can turn into conflicts
- Conflicts can turn into arguments
- Arguments can turn into fights
- Fights can turn into wars
- Wars…well, we know all about the destructive and separative effects of wars these days…
Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life, 3rd Edition: Life-Changing Tools for Healthy Relationships
I am sure you get what I am saying here. Most of the conflicts and even wars we deal with in the world today can be easily eliminated with effective communication. The approach to transform this is to engage in clear, honest, and open communication.
Doing this daily will start building the communication muscle which will lead to an effective solution everyone can agree with. Old ways of being and living will often try to block or deter open communication. Find out why Everyone Communicates, Few Connect
Here Are 9 Easy Steps to Help Develop Effective Communication Skills:
1. Listen, Listen, and LISTEN.
2. I Will Say it Again, LISTEN! How can you know what is going on with someone if you are thinking about doing your laundry or going grocery shopping while they are talking to you?
“Knowledge speaks, but wisdom listens.” ~Jimi Hendrix
3. Be Open-Minded and Willing to Compromise. This does not mean you have to sell out on your morals, values, or beliefs. Compromise just means meeting at a middle ground or neutral point and creating together from there.
4. Ask Open-Ended Questions. Yes, plenty of them. In fact the more, the better. I have found that the most effective way to understand someone is to be genuinely interested in what they are saying. What better way is there to prove this than to engage in their communication and ask questions?
However, don’t just ask basic yes/no questions. Where can you go with an answer that is based on a dualistic principle? Nowhere! Ask questions that require the person to formulate an answer that has them really look within and answer from their soul. Learn more about open ended questions
5. Talk Directly to the Person. Face to face is best but phone works too. Email and text is not acceptable when it comes to effective communication because you cannot feel the other person’s energy or hear the emotions in their voice.
6. Be Solution Oriented. When discussing an issue or potential problem, make sure you also present possible solutions. Also, make sure to ask for suggestions from the other person for solution ideas.
7. Understand. Make it your intention to fully understand the other person. Get in tune with their energy. Feel the emotions they are emitting. Get their perceptions. Have Compassion for what they are dealing with in their life.
8. Speak. As much as you may feel the urge to interrupt or cut the other person off, let them finish speaking before you start.
“In order to speak effectively, you must fully understand the person you are speaking to.”
9. Repeat. Go back to number 1 and repeat the process again.
Discover the Secret to Getting Through to Absolutely Anyone by reading the book, Just Listen
More Powerful Tips that Build Healthy and Effective Communication Skills
Effective listening and speaking skills are crucial to staying connected and nourishing one another. I recommend scheduling a specific time when both people are available to discuss delicate issues in a calm and sincere way.
Begin by sharing something positive, and make sure to take turns. Each partner should speak for as long as they need to about everything that’s going well in the relationship. Allow yourself to articulate how and why you appreciate the other person. Then, switch it up. Take turns talking about aspects of your relationship you wish to improve.
Repeat the same process, allowing each person to fully express their self while the other just carefully listens, and then switch. You can fix problems easily if you clearly understand what each other’s wants and/or needs are. We are all starving to be heard. Healing occurs when people listen. To learn how to really craft your listening abilities, I highly recommend reading The Lost Art of Listening.
“Knowledge speaks, but wisdom listens.” ~Jimi Hendrix
Through the Power of Listening, You Can Be an Amazing Communicator!
Conflict of interests or beliefs is an unavoidable aspect of being human. Two people are not always going to agree completely on everything, no matter how much alike they are.
We all have different needs, wants, goals, and lifestyles. The differences are completely irrelevant when it comes to effective communication. It’s the lack of communication in the first place that causes conflicts and arguments in relationships, NOT the conflicts of interests themselves.
What are some of your favorite tools to develop or improve your communication skills?