Recently on my latest Coffee Talk I discuss how we communicate in our relationships – whether it be intimate partner relationships, with our children, our friends, etc. I share with you my #1 tip for communicating in any relationship.
The source of so much conflict in our relationships is how we enter into that conversation, the idea that we have of communication. Often we walk into a conversation with this mindset that communication is finite. It must have a beginning, a middle, and an end. However, this mindset sets us up to feel a sense of anxiety and worry. We get anxious about the things we need to bring up, we worry about all the things that need to be said right then and there. And often we are left thinking “I wish I said [this]” or “I could have added [this]” as if there is no way back to this conversation now that it has ‘ended’.
But what if you could see communication as infinite? As one really long conversation that doesn’t have a beginning, middle, or end. Communication that allows you to go back to that conversation after reflection – that allows you to say “Hey, I’ve been thinking about our conversation the other day and I was wondering about [this]” or “I’ve been feeling more like [this] now“.
This isn’t a way to bring up past arguments or conflicts, you aren’t bringing things up as a weapon or a way to hold your position. But rather, you are reigniting the conversation because you have had some time and space to reflect on it. Communication is about being on the same team and having a collaborative engagement.
The conversation is never actually over. We use this concept in grief counselling as well. We can always go back to the conversations with the people who are no longer with us. It allows us to reflect and grow. And that’s exactly what communication is meant to do, it’s meant to help us grow.
Going back to the conversation allows us to not get stuck in our minds about something we could have said, it allows us to come back with a different emotion, position, or perspective.
Going back to the conversation allows us to get rid of the anxiety and worry we feel before heading into communication. It helps get rid of the conflict.
Going back to the conversation allows us to be human. It allows us to grow and evolve, to change our perspectives and ideas on whatever the topic may be.
Going back to the conversation allows us to be more concerned with sitting and listening to the other person and less concerned about how we might respond.
I encourage you to think about the conversations you have been having that you wish you could go back to? Reflect on them, do you have something to add to the conversation? Has an emotion changed about it? Do you have a new perspective? Reignite the conversation with that person again.
You could say something along the lines of “I have been thinking about the conversation from the other day and I wanted to let you know my perspective has changed…” or “I have been reflecting on that conversation we had and I wanted to let you know that I feel…“
Try to see communication as something that is continuously happening and evolving, just like yourself. In conversation you are going to grow and evolve – you might change your position, your perspective, or feeling differently and that is okay.
We are growing in communication and going back to these conversations allows us to connect and grow more.
You can watch the replay of this coffee talk here. Let me know your thoughts in the comments!