Where once was I, a lad so young,
My before had not begun.
I thought my words told true my heart,
My strengths and knowledge, to all impart.
But alas a fire no more does burn,
Loss of love, life’s cruel turn.
Now it’s over, no time for hate,
To love anew please communicate.
Not a great ode, but then I’m no May Angelou. I think it puts my point across about the value of learning how to communicate.
“So what does that mean? I talk, I communicate!”
Umm, no, talking is not necessarily communicating in my book. Talking, as valuable as it is, is not necessarily communicating: relating information.
Get it yet?
We all talk to ourselves, others and even, on occasion complete strangers. guess which is probably the only one we really communicate with.
My guess is we communicate better with strangers than with anyone else. My reason is simple, more often than not, either strangers are seeking information from me or I from them.
“How do I get to the bus terminal?”
“Where’s the best place in town to get a hamburger?”
Long ago, and I can’t remember who taught me, I learned that there are six words that identify my need to communicate: Who, What, Why, When, Where and How.
For me, using any or all of those words is conveying to the person I’m talking to that I need information: I am communicating a need.
How does that work in a relationship? Well, tragically not well in many cases.
“Why did you lie to me?
“Umm, I didn’t lie, I simply fibbed.”
The question being asked is “Why did you lie to me?” The communication is, I know you lied, but I don’t know why you did.
An honest answer might be; “I lied because I didn’t want you to know I was cheating on you.” The communication is, I’m an asshole and not worth your time. OK, a bit extreme, but you get the idea.
To communicate effectively with someone you want in your life, you must learn to communicate your true thoughts, feelings and needs.
“Could you please explain to me why you felt the need to cheat on me then lie about it?”
Confronted with this question from someone you know you love and do not want to lose, how would you communicate your feelings without telling another lie?
Personally, I think the best way is to communicate the truth.
“I was drunk and made a terrible mistake. I regret it and would love to change it but I cannot. I’m sorry.”
At this point, I believe it contingent on the other party to communicate their feelings to you.
“I’m mad at you; angry and betrayed. I don’t know what to do or say right now.”
What would your response be?
Communicate does not mean accuse, lie, name call or physical attacks.
In this instance, it does mean to say, “You hurt me.”
“Can we talk about this later?” You’re communicating a willingness to be open.
“Maybe.” You’re hearing “I am willing to at the right time.”
Don’t push it by saying, “When?” That’s communicating your impatience. not your need to solve the problem.
For me, communicating is using truth, facts and tact to express my thoughts and needs.