Remove Barriers to Good Communication (part 1)
Communication is vital to the health of a relationship and yet so many struggle with it because they aren’t aware of the barriers that block it. Unless these barriers are removed, a couple will time and again fall into the same old patterns and wonder why they can’t communicate – why they can’t understand each other and successfully move through problems and situations that arise.
Below are several of the barriers to good communication. If you both are aware of them and do your best to remove them, you will be amazed at the depth of communication that you will experience. You will begin to connect with your mate and experience a new intimacy in your communication.
Wrong time and place.
It is so important that the environment be conducive to communication. Generally, this means that communication should take place where and when there will be a minimal amount of interruption. You cannot openly and freely communicate if there are children in the room or if they might interrupt your conversation. Loud music or the television, especially when a favorite team is playing, make communication difficult, if not impossible!
Not being “present.”
If you cannot be fully present for the conversation, i.e. if your mind and thoughts are somewhere else, such as at the job, good communication will not happen. Your partner will sense your distance and may interpret the situation to be that you are not interested in something that is vitally important to them. It would be better to explain that you are distracted and unable to focus on the conversation at the moment. Set at time with your mate when you can give the conversation, and them, your full attention.
Not understanding your mate’s conversational style.
For some, conversation is for the purpose of communicating information and solving problems. They tend to be more direct and/or logical. For others, conversation is more about connecting on an emotional level. Conversation is verbal affection and doesn’t have to solve anything. That’s not the point. There is a time for both and you and your mate need to understand each other’s style, but also know when to use which conversational style. Solving problems is important, but so is verbal intimacy!
No doubt, this is the #1 barrier to communication. None of us are mind readers, and yet how often do we assume that we know what our partner is going to say? We have already decided in our mind that we know what their thoughts and ideas are and have planned our rebuttal. A good rule to apply to communication is “listen to learn”. You don’t always know what your mate will say and, if you will really listen to them, you might learn something that you don’t know about them or the situation. If you don’t you will miss out on their perspective which could give you new insight or understanding.
If your mate wants your advice, they will ask for it! Listen with your mouth closed. It is most likely that they just need to vent their feelings to someone safe. In getting it out, they often figure out their own solution. You play a valuable role simply by being present and engaged with them.
If you want to shut down a conversation, just start piling up problem after problem, issue after issue in a conversation. Your mate will be overwhelmed and frustrated, not knowing where to start. Pick a topic and stay with it until you both have said what you want or need to say.
Intimidating or irritating tone
Your tone will communicate more than your words will. If you have a leadership-type personality, you will need to be particularly careful and mindful of the tone that you use. You could easily intimidate your mate if they have a more shy or introverted personality. Your job could also influence the tone that you use with your mate. If you give commands at work, you can easily fall into the behavior of giving commands at home. Nagging tones, such as whining and complaining ones, are irritating and counter-productive in communication as well.
Be sure to check in later for part 2 of this blog.