I believe that clear, healthy communication is the mecca of all relationships. It’s the pillar around which everything is built or everything crumbles.
There’s an old story from ancient times which suggests that God was pissed off with the Babylonians because they were trying to build a tower to reach him. Apparently he didn’t want to be reached.
It was known as the Tower of Babel. Why this was such a bad thing is anyone’s guess, but God didn’t like it. So in response, he caused the people of Babylon to begin speaking in different languages, messing up their communications. Kind of like scrambling the signal. This was so that they would all be confused about what each other was saying, and could not finish building their tower to the heavens.
It worked. The tower never happened and God was never reached. People have been building towers and getting mixed signals ever since.
Now whether you believe in God or any other thing is not my concern. This is not a religious sermon. I just use the story to illustrate the importance of clear communication when you are trying to build something.
And if the signal is getting scrambled, and the communications are breaking down, you’re gonna end up like the Babylonians. A rabble of babble.
When you’re in a relationship with another person, if your communication styles are not working, chances are that neither is your relationship.
If what you are saying is not what the other person is hearing, or vice versa, good luck trying to achieve any kind of harmony or unity. It just ain’t gonna happen.
What will happen instead are arguments, misunderstandings, tension, and resentment. Yay. Sounds like fun!
Communication is everything when it comes to building a relationship. It doesn’t matter how much else you have in common. It doesn’t matter how sexy they are, how compatible you are, how you went to the same school and love the same flavor of ice cream, If you can’t communicate clearly, without judgment, you can’t build a relationship.
It really is that simple.
This goes for intimate relationships, friendships, work colleagues, business colleagues, or even just trying to order food at a restaurant.
I call it the Babylon effect, because clear communication is the mecca of relationships. In fact, it’s everything.
We all have a particular way of communicating. This includes how we hear and receive messages from others. All of us have filters, past experiences, personalities, stories, beliefs, attitudes and behaviors that affect the way we communicate.
It’s not rocket science right.
However, communicating in a way that builds a healthy relationship can be treacherous ground. Few are great at it. Some are ok at it. Many suck at it.
Misunderstandings, fears, insecurities, and ego are the dark lords of the communication world and can wreak havoc.
So how is clear communication in relationships achieved?
It’s not just a matter of following a formula because we are humans, not machines. There are too many variables.
For me, it comes down to one thing from Steven Covey’s “7 Habits of Highly Effective People”. It’s this. Seek first to understand, then to be understood.
Put your ego, assumptions, and expectations to the side, just for a minute. To do this, you really have to get clear on wanting to build clear communications and not win arguments or stubbornly stand your ground.
Whether it’s with your wife, your kids, your friends, your work colleagues, whoever.
You’ve really got to learn to slow down your own thought patterns, so that you can start to mellow out your own internal head chatter.
Seeking first to understand does not mean waiting for the other person to finish so that you can dump your version of events on them. It really does mean, putting your own agenda to the side, for the greater good of building lasting relationships.
It comes down to this. Do you want to be right or do you want to be happy?
I’m not talking about shutting up just to keep the peace. I’m not talking about being condescending and self-righteous. We all have different views and opinions on things. We all disagree from time to time. That’s not the issue.
The issue is, when you’re hell-bent on being right, rather than committed to building a team or partnership, your relationships are never going to thrive.
The next time you start to feel that tension rise in your body, you hear your own thoughts starting to build a case for your own defense, or you are waiting for the other person to finish so you can start, check if you’re truly understanding what the other person is trying to communicate?
Listen for the meaning behind their words, rather than just the words.
Check your ego, your fears, and the story you are telling yourself at the door. Be kind in your communications, with empathy and understanding.
Build a tower of clear communication rather than a tower of babel. Stop the ‘he said’-‘she said’ BS. And if you meet god, tell him to stop scrambling the signal.
Join The Good Men Project Community
All levels get to view The Good Men Project site AD-FREE. The $50 Platinum Level is an ALL-ACCESS PASS—join as many groups and classes as you want for the entire year. The $25 Gold Level gives you access to any ONE Social Interest Group and ONE Class–and other benefits listed below the form. Or…for $12, join as a Bronze Member and support our mission, and have a great ad-free viewing experience.
Register New Account
Please note: If you are already a writer/contributor at The Good Men Project, log in here before registering. (Request a new password if needed).
ANNUAL PLATINUM membership ($50 per year) includes:
1. AN ALL ACCESS PASS — Join ANY and ALL of our weekly calls, Social Interest Groups, classes, workshops and private Facebook groups. We have at least one group phone call or online class every day of the week.
2. See the website with no ads when logged in!
3. MEMBER commenting badge.
ANNUAL GOLD membership ($25 per year) includes all the benefits above — but only ONE Weekly Social Interest Group and ONE class.
ANNUAL BRONZE membership ($12 per year) is great if you are not ready to join the full conversation but want to support our mission anyway. You’ll still get a BRONZE commenting badge, and you can pop into any of our weekly Friday Calls with the Publisher when you have time (Friday calls only). This is for people who believe—like we do—that this conversation about men and changing roles and goodness in the 21st century is one of the most important conversations you can have today.
We have pioneered the largest worldwide conversation about the changing roles of men in the 21st century. Your support of our work is inspiring and invaluable.