Communication Tips #4

Please check out my latest installment of communication tips.  I hope it’s helpful.  Be sure to check out the other tips, too.

  • Be Direct – Don’t Involve Other People
  • Don’t Text Fight
  • Compromise

No more middle man!  The healthiest communication is direct communication between two people.  Anytime you include a third person (or more) when trying to communicate with someone, the more the message gets garbled.  Everyone interprets things through their own experiences, and the people you involve in an argument are rarely able to be objective.  That’s why it’s best to talk directly with the person you’re in conflict with or to request help from an objective person like a professional.

No more text fights.  I’ve seen this so many times – lengthy text battles with name calling, attacks, threats, shame and guilt.  I’ve even seen other family members and children brought into an argument between spouses!  This is so destructive.  Texts are useful for sharing factual information:  what you need to get at the store, when you’ll be home, etc.  Positive messages are great, too – sending an “I love you” or a happy emoticon is great.  It can also be helpful to apologize or ask for help – “I’m sorry I snapped at you this morning, I’m really stressed about that work thing.  You deserve better.”  The worst use of texting is to argue.  Everything can be taken out of context and it can get really nasty really fast.  It’s all too easy to type out the nasty junk you’re thinking and hit ‘Send’ without thinking about how it’s going to impact the other person.  Don’t text battle.  Take a time out and talk about it – in person – later.

Be willing to compromise.  Remember, you can win the battle but lose the war quite easily.  If you’re fighting to prove that you’re right, you may succeed.  But at what cost?  Proving you’re right and the other person is wrong may be satisfying, however, it can be far too costly.  Just like asking who owns the problem, it’s also important to ask yourself “What’s my goal here?”  If your goal is to win at all costs, you probably will.  If, however, your goal is to resolve problems and create a stronger relationship, the goal changes to a ‘win-win’ mentality.  If you both resolve the problem, you both win because the relationship improves.  So, let go of trying to win, prove yourself right, prove them wrong or defend yourself.  Instead, work towards a goal of compromise and resolving the problem.

One closing thought – in the absence of information, people tend to think the worst.  If you don’t know why someone said or did something, or you haven’t heard from them in a while, don’t take it personally.  Don’t assume the worst.  Ask.  If you remember that the person you’re concerned about loves you, you’re more likely to give them the benefit of the doubt.  Before worry, fear, hurt or anger creep in, just reach out and check in with them.  Ask what they meant, why they did that or if they’re okay because you haven’t heard from them in a while.

This article is not meant to provide clinical, therapeutic or legal advice.  This is not a substitute for professional therapeutic help.  If you’re in need of professional help, please contact me or a professional like me.  This is offered as educational information only.