Do you think Adam and Eve (assuming they were the first romantically engaged humans) had their share of communication troubles? I bet they did. Ever since we have started interacting with each other, it has always been a tight rope walk between “what we say” and “what we mean”. Something which is supposed to be very simple and organic has become a bane in many relationships. Women blame men for not understanding and Men blame women for being cryptic. Stakes are highest and we are clueless!
This is as good a time as any in history to sort this mess out, especially with multiple forms of communications going, we have never been more vulnerable in the art of expression. Although I have been a communication consultant all my professional life, I have been keeping a keen eye on the battle of sexes. Combined with my personal experiences and observations I have come up with a few important concepts/ideas which can take your communication game to the next level.
Active Vs Passive
All social media has done exactly the opposite of what it had set out to do. It has made people distant yet intrusive. I think I know what’s going on in my friend’s life without speaking to them for years. Because I get to see what they are up to on social media, I don’t feel the need to reach out for a real connection, after all, what can we really talk about? I already know everything that they are up to. Even if I do feel like reaching out, why go through the pain of talking when a chat can do.
It’s still somehow alright when it comes to regular friendships, but in romantic relationships, a passive form of communication like chats, instant messaging, etc. can do more harm than one can imagine. Already both sexes are struggling to make sense of each other, add to that, words which lack emotion (no emojis are not emotions) and tone is a recipe for relationship sabotage. If there is one piece of advice I will give to the modern-day romantics, it would be “go back to basics”. Talk, meet, get real, get active. Don’t let technology widen the already existing communication gap.
Words Vs Actions
Both are forms of communication. While actions can do without words, words are no good without actions. Words are usually an expression of intent, agreement, disagreement or any other expression of emotion. If not backed by the right action, they tend to lose their value and impact on your partner. It is important to find the right balance in both. If you have to err I would say err on the side of action, because actions leave a much deeper impact. No matter how many times you express your love to someone, if you are not going to show up for your dates on time, all expression is wasted. Because words are easy and don’t cost anything at all, they are often used to accommodate a lack of action in most cases. While being able to express yourself in words is certainly a gift, just make sure your actions cash the cheques your mouth writes.
Less is not More
Romanticism has screwed up our notion of love. We have been told time and again in all forms of literature that lovers can read each other’s minds, they complete each other’s sentences and thoughts, they just get you. To me, that sounds like an utterly boring universe. It’s one thing to be feeling the same, but there has to be an individual expression of the same feeling. That’s what makes human equations so entertaining. Unless you are chronically and pathologically introverted, in which case I would highly recommend seeking help, don’t be stingy in expressing what you feel. Most of the relationship fuck ups are because of the fact that you didn’t say or do what you wanted to at the right time. If ever in doubt, now is better than later.
Someone famous once said, “women fall in love with what they hear and men fall in love with what they see”. What better place for both to come together than in the bedroom. It is a great practice ground to hone the art of communication. When the clothes come off and you both are equally vulnerable, express yourself not just physically but verbally too. Be vocal about what you are feeling and all the amazing things that are going through your head in that space. If not to make your partner happy, do it to enhance your own sexual pleasure. It especially can work for the introverts who need a push to open up. Words can be a great add-on to your bedroom game, give it a go.
Fuck you too!
Enough of expressing love, let’s bring our focus to disagreement, anger, disappointment, and all other negative emotions. It’s most difficult to express negative emotions in front of the loved ones and in time that lack of expression turns caustic and brings down the best of romances. If you think your partner can’t handle you or vice versa when it comes to the expression of angst, then there is no chance for that relationship to survive the test of time. You have to be willing to take the risk of losing it all to win it all. It is not a game of averages. It is tough, very tough, to express your anger because most of the time we don’t even know if it is warranted, and the risk of misunderstanding is indeed very high, but still, if it is within you then it must be expressed. It doesn’t need to be as stark as the title of this paragraph, which is just for dramatic purposes. The inability to express discomfort/angst is also one of the causes of physical abuse in relationships. It’s when communication ends but anger doesn’t, the words turn into violence. Remember if it’s worth it, it’s worth it all or nothing.
How we communicate has a lot to do with the environments and conditioning we grew up in. If there was ever a time when you needed to reprogram yourself to be better at it, it is in the pursuit of love.
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