We heard the same thing but you misunderstood
In elementary school we played a game in class where one person would whisper a sentence or phrase into another student’s ear, then that student would whisper what they thought they heard to the next student and so on and so forth until the last student whispers what they heard back to the originating student. By the time the sentence/phrase got back to the originating student, it would sometimes be so jacked up that it didn’t even remotely resemble what the originator started with.
Fast forward to adults and with only the two people in a relationship and the same problem still exists. An adult couple could have a conversation and the person talking could say something that is taken completely differently than how they meant it to be by the other person. The reason for this is that two people can hear the same information and will have two different understandings of what they just heard. This is due to people not only processing information differently but also having different ways/styles that they like to communicate.
You need to communicate better
When it comes to communication, there are many different types of people. Some use fewer words and are straight to the point with no fluff, while others may try to use 1/3 of the words in the dictionary while trying to explain every single point making sure that they are clear and that you understand everything they are saying. The problem with both of these types of people is that the “no fluff” person leaves the “explaining every single point” person hanging waiting for more of an explanation. While the “explaining every single point” person loses the attention of the “no fluff” person because their explanation is way too long. When dealing with two different types of communicators words and even entire sentences may get lost or misunderstood because you are expecting the other person to communicate the way you do.
So how will these two different types of communicators have an effective conversation you may be asking yourself (and if you’re not I’m going to give you my thoughts anyway). The key is to be sensitive to the other person’s style of communicating. The “no fluff” person can throw an extra sentence or two in to appease the other person, and the “explaining every single point” person can shorten their explanations down a little bit to keep the “no fluff” persons attention, which would keep them from daydreaming. This may sound silly but above all there needs to be a conversation between the two of you about how you like to communicate as well as how you will try to add more or less when speaking with each other. There are more examples of different ways people communicate, but I won’t go into them because I’m more of a “no fluff” person so use your imagination and figure them out on your own.
Why aren’t you listening to me?
Have you ever just sat around and people watch and paid special attention to couples when they are communicating? Sometimes one of them is so in tune with making eye contact that it looks like they are trying to play the staring game to see who will look away first. We all have seen this and how uncomfortable we felt looking at it, so imagine how it felt for the person on the other end. They are probably missing a lot of what is being said because they keep having “when will they stop staring at me, or how can you talk for 5 minutes straight and not blink” kind of thoughts. While the other person appears to be in lala land just looking around, enjoying the sights, yet still listening and communicating just as effectively as the eye to eye gouger. But now the other person is missing some of the conversation because they are thinking things like “why won’t you look at me, or do I have spinach in my teeth”.
Hey to each his own, but you need to be aware of how your significant other likes to communicate. So every now and then the intense eye contacterer (yeah I know I made that word up, but you know what it means) needs to look away and make it more comfortable for the person they are talking to look in their direction. While the eye wanderer may need to come back around and make eye contact with the person they are speaking to more often. Remember, just because a person is looking away or staring directly into your soul doesn’t mean that they are not hearing what you are saying. If you want to be sure that they are listening, throw in a “so what do you think about what I just said” and see how they answer. A conversation needs to be engaging on both sides to keep both parties interested.
No matter which one (or any other type not mentioned here) you are, the key is to know your partner and accept that they communicate differently than you. As long as they are actually listening and engaging in the conversation it shouldn’t matter if you are an eye wanderer or an intense eye contacterer (yup said it twice), but only that the lines of communication remain open.
Please feel free to leave a comment with your thoughts on communication and/or this article.