I recently did the “love languages” test online, as a bit of fun. The books been recommended to me and the partner-in-crime had a go at the quiz on a quiet evening where there wasn’t much on TV.
The results weren’t got me thinking, however. It was more the question of how people interact with one another, friends, partners, family. How one person can act in a certain way, with a certain intention, and yet that intention can simply not be received because they haven’t communicated that intention.
Whilst there is always the “most communication is non verbal” statistic that is drawn up in every presenting workshop I’ve ever taken part in, it seems to me that people don’t use their words enough. For sure, non verbal communication is important, it’s the gut reaction or the wrongness sense when someone tries to take advantage or the laugh as you finish someone’s joke for them.
But using words – that’s something else. Especially when you’re trying to put your finger on the hard stuff – the fear, sadness, the emotion that underlies the thoughts that race through your head. You have to choose your words, pick them out carefully to ensure that your meaning isn’t misinterpreted, but conveyed how you intend to mean it.
That’s on the person speaking, the person giving the information, in my opinion. It’s not just the intent, but speaking up about saying why you did a thing. I’m annoyed about something. I feel strongly about something. No, listen to me now about something.
But there are those in the world, in families, in work, who don’t listen no matter how hard you communicate. As a writer, and someone who tries to communicate to the best of her ability, those are the people that frustrate me more than any. There comes a point that no matter how well you communicate, no matter how careful you are with the words, the message falls on deaf ears. Not because you haven’t explained yourself well enough, but because it’s not what they want to hear.
I’m blessed that my partner-in-crime doesn’t fall into this category. And whilst our love languages might be different, we endeavour to communicate better. And so, I feel like I also learn to be a better communicator generally, in my writing and my life, no matter how convoluted the lessons I learnt as a child were.