Episode 8 – ‘Communication in Relationship’

Written by Alison

May 11, 2022

Hi! I’m going to go back to the topic of relationships

all communication has two parts: a sender and a receiver. The sender has a message he or she intends to transmit, and this is put into words or actions which is believed to best reflect what is in their mind. But many things can intervene to prevent the intended message from being received correctly. 

Given our tendency to hear what we expect to hear, it is easy for people in conflict to misunderstand each other. Communication is strained, and people will, most likely, want to hide the truth to some extent. The potential for misperceptions and misunderstandings is high, which can make a resolution more difficult. With this understanding, we can start to see a different and complex perspective of why communication is such a challenge at times. 

What I haven’t yet mentioned in these blog posts is that part of the mind which interprets information first is the emotional part. It is said this emotional response is five times quicker than anything rational. Immediate responses are often unwarranted or inappropriate. So, when our initial response to everything, literally everything, is an emotional one, and each person has their own model of the world, it makes for an interesting dilemma.

When communicating with others, we often focus on what we should say. It is so common to listen to respond rather than listening to understand. Effective communication is less about talking and more about listening. Listening well means not just understanding the words or the information being communicated, but also understanding the emotions the other person is trying to convey. 

We have established that human communication and relationships are some of the most complex things in life. As incredible as we are, we are limited in our ability to truly understand others: why they do the things they do, why they say the things they say and what they actually mean. It can all feel like a mystery because we all process and interpret everything differently. The problem is we are often focused on other people and trying to understand them. We usually do this without understanding ourselves first, and when we are unsure how our own minds work, why do we try to decipher someone else’s? It does help to remember that everyone is not thinking and feeling the same as you. Knowing this helps you to adjust your expectations. It is vital to remember that each of us is unique and that each person’s ‘map of their reality’ is personal, intimate, and incomparable to anyone else’s. 

In order to understand our own world, we attempt to apply meaning and our own interpretation to other people’s actions, behaviours and communications. We can get into ‘sticky’ territory when we expect others to behave the same as us. We will all have people that are more like us than others, although our minds work differently based on the information and interpretations of experiences. We never truly know what is going on in someone else’s mind and how they view the world. The trouble starts when we try to second guess what is going on for someone else. Mind reading and making assumptions are prevalent and we rarely stop to think about how unique styles of communication are. In this chapter, we will explore some of the differences that may play out in our communication. With an understanding, we can make changes in how we communicate and what we expect from others. We will also be having a light look at some of the differences between how men and women communicate. 

Social media needs a ‘shout out’ here. It has changed the way we communicate, and it does leave us open to more challenges. The risks of miscommunication and wrong interpretation have increased so much. There are also the issues associated with being able to track someone, see where they are, who they are with and sometimes this information can blow-up situations unnecessarily.  

I was working with a young couple recently and a transformation to their relationship was stopping having big discussions about sensitive and emotionally charged subjects on text. There is no volume, pitch, speed to be able to gauge how they are saying it. I think the word ‘whatever’ is a class.  

If you saw that in a text, the context could easily be misinterpreted. We interpret what has been said based on what we think is happening and this could be a million miles off the reality for the other person.

Does this sound familiar to you?

So, keep off texting and wait until you can talk in person!  

 

 

Those who matter are people who love you not despite of your imperfection and vulnerability, but because of your imperfection and vulnerability.

                                                                                                                                                 – Brené Brown

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