If there is one thing I see time and time again causing waves in relationships, be it romantic, friendship or family, is a breakdown of communication.
With the increase of communicating via technology rather than in person or even talking on the phone, I find myself feeling more and more disconnected and frustrated. SO many misunderstandings occur because of a text message! You cannot convey context, tone or emotion through a text message – no not even with emojis (and god knows I love my emojis)! It is so easy to be in a pattern of avoidance when a simple text message or email can prevent you from actually having a conversation.
A conversation is simply an exchange which gives both people an opportunity to share. But when we don’t share with the other person how we truly feel, we are not being authentic or honest with ourselves or the other person. Think about a time when you’ve discovered a friend has a lingering issue with you that they’ve fessed up about weeks or months (or even years!) later. This is dangerous because it creates a vibe of mistrust in the relationship. Now think about how it makes you feel when you avoid an issue or emotion – chances are it feels pretty icky?
I was recently in a situation where a friend was not upfront with me about their feelings. Instead of being honest and telling me how they truly felt, they chose to ignore my phone calls and text messages. When we eventually spoke on the phone we have a VERY difficult conversation that was awkward and painful but the sense of relief after the conversation and the clarity it gave us about our relationship made it so worth it.
Often we will guise our inability to share our honest feelings behind not wanting to hurt someone, when in actual fact it’s that we don’t want to be the “bad guy” or cop the reaction that may be thrown back towards us. Yet festering misunderstandings only lead to more pain. With the situation with my friend, their blatant ignorance only created more pain for me.
I’ve come to realise that the key reason we don’t speak up in relationships is based on fear. Fear of being judged, attacked or rejected. Fear of no longer being loved. We must dissolve this fear with love and when we share from a loving and authentic place, what we have to say will be much more readily accepted by the other person than when we explode at them later down the track because we’ve suppressed our feelings for too long.
So if you want to improve your relationships then you need to start practising what Melissa Ambrosini calls Crystal Clear Communication. Be 100% clear about how you feel and what you need from someone, leaving no room for interpretation. Don’t skirt around the issue. This is something I have really been focusing on of late and it can be tricky but trust me you will feel SO much better for it.
Ask yourself these questions:
It is necessary?
Is it kind?
It might be hard to start with but once you get the hang of it, your relationships will truly flourish and you will encourage others to feel safe to share as well.
Share in the comments below if you can relate