When I am coaching folks in their health matters, a very high percentage of the time something about a relationship will arise that is causing stress in their lives.
Do you have stress in a relationship right now?
Well, if you do, you may inadvertently be making it worse – especially in today’s day and age.
How? I’ll give you a hint by giving you an observation challenge…
I challenge you to observe when speaking with your friends, family and the people around you and see if they happen to use this telltale phrase that will signal you of what I am talking about.
“We spoke just yesterday.” (or some kind of facsimile of that)
Seems innocent enough, doesn’t it?
But here is where the innocence dries up, as it did with a client of mine.
Through further questioning, what actually happened was that a text message was sent and was responded to. It didn’t go well. The key thing to notice here is that in the mind of my client, they ‘spoke’, but in reality a text or two was sent back and forth.
Check this out for yourself…
Pay attention to whether you come across this or not.. a friend saying ‘spoke’ when what they really meant was ‘text’. It demonstrates a justification happening unconsciously within their mind.
If you are one who communicates by text, especially around matters of the heart, then you are likely unwittingly drilling holes in the hull of your relation-‘ship’.
The reason is because when texting, the intention of the text is always implied by the emotional state of the receiver.
What this means is, because a text is devoid of emotion, it will be received at the current emotional level of the receiver. So, if you are the receiver, and you just got screwed by your boss or something, and then Mr. Wonderful sends you a text about something that has been on his mind, your perception of that message will indelibly be coloured by your mood.
Next thing you know, you are telling your girlfriends about how you can’t believe he had the gall to write that.
The sender had no idea.
Top 3 Common Communication Mistakes
At this point, let me list the top 3 common communication mistakes that sink relationships:
- 1) Texting: Using text messaging for anything other than factual, measurable information is very dangerous indeed. When I say factual and measurable, I mean a time, a date, an address, etc. Some kind of information that is measurable.
- 2) Email: The next worse one is sending an email. The reason why texting is first is because of the instant message quality of it. At least with email, it is usually not as available.
- 3) Voicemail: Oh the relief when you phone and you get the voicemail! After all, hey, you tried didn’t you? So now you have the opportunity to dump your emotional content into a digital recording device and now it’s up to them.
If you are into any or all of these communication styles, and you want great relationships, I have a piece of advice for you…
… stop it.
I understand the pull toward these communication styles… it’s mostly because they are safe. If you know anything about how the interplay between the masculine and the feminine works, you will know the feminine always moves towards safety.
Therefore, even if you are a man, and you utilize these communication styles, it is your feminine aspects that drive that behaviour to be safe.
Hitting “Send” DOES NOT equal “Safe”.
It is the illusion of communication.
Healthy communication requires interaction and presence.
The healthy form of safety comes from feeling safe enough with someone to be able to empty the emotional reservoir without being judged for it.
This is why when men are present yet quiet while a woman is discharging her emotional capacitors, and he just holds the space for her to do so, she will see him as the best guy in the world. He didn’t try to solve her problem, he just let her empty herself.
So let’s move to the constructive.
The Top 3 Ways to Communicate that Strengthen Relationships.
- 1) In Person: Face-to-Face is the best way to communicate, bar none. You are able to see and feel the other party’s context. Words are a poor substitute for feelings. Remember that and use grace while someone struggles to find the words that actually match their mood. It can be difficult, but worth it.
- 2) Skype (or some other video call service… I like Jitsi): If you can’t meet face-to-face in person, this is a decent substitute. Just be aware that it is really easy to hang up if things get tough, which is why it doesn’t compare to in person. You can send documents during a call, website URLs , and more to help with the communication.
- 3) Phone: If you can’t find a way to be able to communicate visually with someone, than voice is the next best thing, period.
- 4) (Bonus) Write a Letter: If you can’t find a way to discuss something utilizing the above 3 communication styles, consider writing a letter… you know, with actual pen and paper. Putting pen to paper is a very different experience then typing an email. You have to take the time to write it, there is no ‘Delete’ button, so what you get is what you get. You have to take the time to get postage and mail it, and then wait for it to get to your destination. What this gives you is time.
Our ‘instant message’ society is training you to not cultivate patience, especially in relationships. If someone doesn’t answer your text in the next 5 minutes, it may upset you.
Or, if you sent an email and didn’t get a response in the time you expected (with no basis for it), it may upset you.
This all leads to the cultivation of volatility, something that appears to be abundant in relationships today.
So if you want healthy relationships, on top of becoming the expert of how you operate emotionally, be sure to use communication styles that cultivate success, trust and openness.
Never try to communicate matters of the heart by text, email or voicemail.
Always do it face-to-face when possible, and then trickle down your options if that isn’t possible.
Be good to yourself, you deserve it. Communicate like you want it to work.
Using the top 3 communication styles that strengthen relationships won’t guarantee success that you are a match, but using them will get you to truth as quickly as possible.
Govern Your Digital Transmissions Accordingly
As a final note, know that whatever you put in digital form will be archived forever by data collection tools like Google, so govern your digital transmissions accordingly. 😉