Communication Breakdown

20 10 2010

So far I have talked about the importance of respect, honesty, and humor in getting along with other people. But it also takes a lot of understanding to maintain a close friendship of any kind. 

Often we grab whatever we hear a person say to us at face value and run with it, becoming offended or hurt. But if we will stop and consider what the other person is truly meaning to say, we may understand that they are actually trying to encourage us or give a compliment. They just didn’t word it correctly.

Words are hard to come by sometimes, and it is even more difficult to say precisely what we intend to when we are tired, emotional, or in a hurry. It’s in those critical times that our knowledge of the other person comes in handy. If the person is close to us, or if we have known them a long time, we may (or may not) be able to “hear” what they are saying to us in spite of the words they use. If not, it may serve us well to give that other person the benefit of the doubt until we can ask them – at a better time – exactly what they did mean to say. 

Understanding another person may consist of trying to hear “the heart” of what they are saying. This is simply allowing other people to be fallible and make mistakes when speaking with us. It is reminding ourselves not to pick apart every word the other person says, and to give a little leniency and grace to them.

Communication goes beyond words. When we give understanding, we move beyond mere “surface” communication and begin to sharpen our awareness skills, show deeper perception, and convey a new level of kindness to those we are in relationship with.

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