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Thursday, July 7, 2011

Thursday Love: Communication...How Important? Part 1

Jewel of wisdom du jour: "COMMUNICATION WORKS FOR THOSE WHO WORK AT IT."

Last week we spoke about "friendship" being one of the most important things upon which a strong foundation for a relationship can be built. If a strong friendship represents the bricks used to build a strong foundation, then communication is undoubtedly the mortar. Communication is the way in which our thoughts, feelings, values, priorities, and beliefs are expressed. Not only what we say but also our body language communicates a great deal to those we're closest with. I know in my own relationship, I can tell if my wife is bothered by something just by the way she looks at me, she of course will have to tell me what the problem is, but I can tell that there DEFINITELY is a problem just by looking at her face. The point is that we must become effective communicators in order to meet the needs of our partner and to have our needs met as well...this is why honest and open communication is so very dearly necessary.

Ask yourself a question...is my communication with my partner effective? Do they understand what I'm feeling when I try to explain myself? Do I convey my needs or feelings accurately and understandably? Or do my partner and I end up screaming at one another when we try to talk about our feelings?

Good communication requires willful and attentive listening to one another so as to respect and comprehend what points each other are trying to get across. Problems occur when we don't know how to calmly and concisely state what's bothering us or what we need to talk about. There's nothing wrong with having a lot to say about how we feel but, initially we need to be direct and to the point. Clearly communicating your expectations, needs, desires, dreams/goals, etc. early in a relationship will benefit the both of you in the long run. This way there are no surprises when either you or your partner say something regarding their feelings toward a certain situation or bring up an issue that may be on their mind.

So then, let's look at the characteristics of INEFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION and see if there's anything we need to work on.
  • Are viewpoints ever clearly stated or always indirectly mentioned?
  • Is someone in the conversation entirely too passive, allowing their thoughts, ideas, or feelings to be stomped on?
  • Does one person tend to hide the meaning of what they're actually trying to say to avoid conflict or just to get the conversation over with?
  • Are there way too many ONE-WAY conversations that stifle one person's needs and or feelings?
  • Are one or both parties involved unresponsive to the needs of the other person, or is the other person's perspective completely ignored?
  • Are dishonest ideas or half-truths used to replace true feelings?
  • Are real feelings and underlying issues readily expressed or bottled up?
Now, we have to be honest with ourselves and with our partners and really work at eliminating these aforementioned characteristics of ineffective communication. Because none of us want to end up angry, upset, and giving/receiving the silent treatment every time we try to talk about something. Remember though, that it's most important to analyze yourself first regarding these negative characteristics before applying them to your partner as if you're perfect.

Next week, we'll continue this discussion and see what steps we can take to develop EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION  within our relationships.

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