Communication is a very important tool, one that is universal and applicable to all relationship types both professionally and personally – romantic and non-romantic as well. If not done correctly though, things can go awry very quickly.
In the cafeteria at work the other day, a woman was talking about how she and her husband recently began couples therapy sessions to try and help them as a preventive measure. I didn’t know this woman but she was freely talking to those seated nearby about the importances of being a good communicator in your relationships. She went on to say that her husband’s problem is that he doesn’t communicate very well and that she, in contrasts, talks all the time. “I talk and talk and talk and talk,” she said, “because that’s how I was raised. My momma talked a lot and that’s where I got it from. But my husband doesn’t talk much. He just sits there.”
As I listened to her talk for what seemed like an eternity, I realized that she must love hearing herself talk. I wondered why she didn’t pass out from lack of oxygen, because she didn’t seem to stop long enough to take in any breaths for the 10 constant minutes she was talking. Okay, I jest, but I could plainly see that she made the mistake that a lot of people make. She equated talking with being a good communicator; she stated that she talks a lot and her husband doesn’t, so that makes her a better communicator than he is; however, talking is only part of the communication process. Thinking, listening, hearing, and assessing the other person’s points of view are all big parts of communication. Another part of it is in the delivery of your message. All I could think of was her poor husband. I dreaded hearing her speak, and I only had to hear her for those 10 minutes.
She ridiculed her husband for not communicating well and for being too quiet. But what she doesn’t know is, a person can communicate exceptionally well without ever saying a word. Sometimes, it’s the unspoken messages that speak volumes. I’m pretty sure that she dominates all the conversations at home, so it’s probably a struggle for him to get his points across anyway. I’m just guessing here, but if I could talk to her husband, I think he’d say he can never inch into the conversation because she talks so much.
The point of this is to remind you that if you want to improve your communication with others, then you have to be open to receive their message while delivering your own. Communication is the exchange of information and ideas…the key word being exchange. If you are anything like this woman (or perhaps if you’re anything like her husband), try to embrace a healthy balance. Both extremes are detrimental to the communication process. Like Rob Base and DJ EZ Rock said in their ever popular song from the 1980s, it takes two to make a thing go right.