Communication is key to all kinds of relationships. We seem to have new methods of communication arriving each day. This may increase the speed and convenience of interacting. Sadly, it doesn’t seem to be helping us foster deeper connections. In the end, however, it’s not about what avenue you choose. Healthy communication requires trust, honesty, clarity, and consistency.
There are countless ways in which our communication can break down. Of course, some people may have underhanded reasons for being vague or dishonest. Beyond that, even those with the best intentions can find it difficult to deeply connect. Among other factors, these are worth considering:
- Social anxiety: it can feel almost impossible to speak up and speak bluntly.
- Fear of consequences: we may choose to avoid conflict by holding back.
- Taking others for granted: in an age of digital communication, we can lose sight of others’ needs.
- Expecting others to intuitively know what you mean: “After all, if they know and love me, they should be able to read my mind.”
- Poor role models: it’s entirely likely that you didn’t have health communication modeled for you as a child.
Then, of course, there are those tiny — yet high-powered — devices we all carry around. Modern technology can encourage bad habits. The convenience and speed of a text or a tweet make them irresistible. However, by downplaying the need for IRL contact, we can begin seeing such connections as disposable.
We can delete, un-friend, and block our fellow humans with just a few clicks. In addition, we can stop and re-start any video game if things don’t go our way. These are dangerous, anti-social messages that can impact how we connect with others (or not).
7 Ways You Can Communicate to Foster Deeper Connections
Accept the Process
Sign up for the evolving process that leads not to a destination. Rather, you will be taken on a never-ending journey of invention and re-invention.
Embrace Radical Honesty
Trust your connections enough to speak directly. Invite your loved ones to do the same with you. This will involve an adjustment period but the learning process is well worth it!
If you’re not sure, ask. Guessing and/or assuming is practically a guarantee for miscommunication.
Learn How to be Accountable When Necessary
An important part of our social life involves the navigation of our inherent imperfection. When we mess up, it’s our job to hold ourselves accountable. We must take responsibility, be accountable and genuinely communicate our regrets, and what we would do differently next time.
Choose the direct path. Words said in secret quite often come back to haunt all of us. The radical honesty mentioned above is a path toward clarity.
Don’t Assign Meaning to Social Media Activity
Each like, re-tweet, and comment is like a jolt of confidence. Conversely, when the hit we crave does not arrive, we can get caught up in assumptions. If you’re unsure what a social media activity means, as #3 states above: ask questions.
Express Your Gratitude
Let those in your life know how much you appreciate the healthy communication you’ve fostered. Reinforce this bond through regular reminders of how important it is to you.
Some Unhealthy Communication Habits Require Help to Address
We may have learned unhealthy communication from family or friends or pop culture — or a blend of all three and other factors. Sometimes, we may not even recognize our own habits. In such cases, it can be helpful to seek counseling. An experienced guide can help us identify the patterns that require examination. These “a-ha” moments can serve to be the catalyst that leads us to healthier communications skills and deeper connections.
Posted by Counseling Wise s on February 11, 2019