True communication begins with getting the exact meaning of another’s communication. When someone does not get the same meaning to your communication a lot of problems can arise. Did you know that no one will ever 100% duplicate what you communicate, ever? You will understand this more as you read on.
We all see the world through our own eyes and experiences which is unique to every individual.
If I say the word ‘house’ and ask a hundred people to draw one, I will get 1oo different forms and shapes of houses from each person. I am sure there will not be two houses drawn that will have the same size and an exact match when the drawings are put together one on top of the other. Sometimes you think you are communicating something to someone but people will always have a total or slightly different version of what you are saying. It is worthwhile to remember that from this example, everything you say to someone is a negotiation to help them to see how you see things and not a statement of fact to them.
Everyone has a world of their own which has an understanding and different perception from yours. So whatever you say initially to anyone is not necessarily a finality in that the other person will always have a version of their own, but, as you continue to explain your exact meaning they will get where you are coming from although they may not necessarily agree with it. At least you will have reached a point where you know the other person has duplicated your meaning or context. This is a lengthy process that feels cumbersome to some and requires a lot of patience. So, true communicating is about comparing notes and negotiation even though it may seem like it’s just a conversation. It’s always about comparing notes. If everyone understood it this way, we would all respect each other’s perspective. No one would impose their thinking on anyone.
Most people do not think they are negotiating with another’s world when they talk to someone. Failure to see it this way creates situations where people do not accept differing viewpoints from other people. Unfortunately this is so subtle that sometimes people are behaving in a manner that says I don’t accept your communication. They go into all sorts of handling of other people other than just letting the flow of communication proceed. Things like ‘you don’t think’, ‘you are stupid’ or any such is really an attempt to shut down another’s way of seeing things and instead impose another idea or perception.
Communication can easily go into misunderstanding, name calling, up-man-ship and whatever else that signals disagreement. A negative control of communication will cause more damage both to the relationship and the person who has been asked to bottle it. An inability to perceive the aspect that each person understands things from a different perception than ours is the cause of almost all negative communication and maybe over 90% of relationship breakdowns. It is an inability to take another person’s world into account in communicating and it is therefore not communication at all and it will destroy a relationship in the same way total lack of communication does.
Full communication is about walking another person through what is going on in the other’s mind for the purpose of helping that other to fully understand what is going on before they can participate in a conversation. Trying to make sure the other person gets as close as possible to an exact copy of what is communicated. When one does not fully get what the other communicates their response can be so off the mark and create trouble that escalates into many more misunderstandings. Like I said before, this is because everyone has their own personal world in which there are different and unique computations of experiences and so we always associate things through our own unique perceptions.
Success in a relationship is NEVER about not upsetting the other person, we are human and we will always make mistakes. Success is in being able to communicate to the point that every effort is made that any subject being discussed’s meaning is fully understood by the other in the context it is being delivered. This sounds simple but it is not. It can take days to get to a conclusion and understanding of what one meant in a specific communication. This is the step where most people give up and a promising relationship goes down the drain. This is also where the other person chooses to block continued communication on a subject. Some do this from fear of hearing unpleasant things. This creates incomplete communication and there grows a kind of withdrawal and dislike for each other. The relationship begins to erode.
Many a time communication becomes a muddled affair because one person takes personal what the other is saying because they have misunderstood what is meant and the communication escalates into a fight . Some ways to look at and handle incomplete communication are explained in this article.