02 December, 2011

What We Have Here is a Failure...

Family on Friday!!!

As everyone over the age of Sesame Street can tell you, communication is the cornerstone of any relationship.  This blog has already touched upon communication during the Table Time series, but table time is more than communication and communication goes beyond table time.

Familial relationships can suffer the most during a communication breakdown.  Walls are naturally and appropriately built between generations.  Spouses fall prey to the fallacy that they already know everything there is to know about one another.  Siblings come to a point where they don't want everything to be known about them.  Now that's all well and good, but... everything in moderation.

Habitual non-communication can lead to misunderstandings can lead to distrust can lead to injury can lead to a family not being a family.  The longer you allow the bad communication to take over, the harder it will be to get back on track.  If you're coming up with ideas of what you can do better rather than what other family members need to do, you're off to a good start.

Children that see their parents communicating effectively are more likely to communicate willingly.  Would you open up to a boss that has a reputation for getting too upset, responding harshly, or talking when they should be listening?  I mean if you didn't have to.

If you'll permit me to generalize on gender types:  Women need to stop with the attitude that they shouldn't have to verbalize and that the other person should just know.  Men need to stop thinking that asking for help or discussing emotions emasculates them in some way.

The more we can all recognize that other people are separate beings with separate lives, bridged through relationships created by communication, and that we are all people experiencing ninety-five percent (my own completely arbitrary figure pulled out of thin air with no statistical backing) identical circumstances, then the easier it will be to throw gender types out the window and just be ourselves.

Opening up the pathways of communication will rectify a wide range of ills.  Try it.  All you have to lose are those misconceptions your family may have of you.


Anonymous said...

So men and women should act the same and pretend there are no differences between the sexes? I feel the differences between men and women and the way we communicate make us human. It causes confrontation which then lets us show compassion and forgiveness.

Raymond Henri said...

Rather than pretending there are no differences between men and women, it behooves us to recognize barriers from within that prevent effective communication. Using gender types as a crutch hinders complete communication. Confrontation is communication. The gender type problems I mentioned are avoidance, not communication. Every personality (across gender lines) responds to confrontation differently. Some are better suited to further communication than others. And you are certainly right about the benefits of confrontation. It brings compassion, forgiveness, and more.

Brian Coleman said...

Hmmm... Gender confrontation... I don't think I have ever had a problem where I said to myself "Gees the only reason I am having this confrontation right now is because she is a woman!" Confrontation boils down to expectations and what the other party expected (rightfully or not) the other party to do. You can stop confrontation before it starts just by thinking before you talk. Like with my son for instance. Recently I realized that he is stubborn and when he is not getting his way and perhaps emotional already (hungry, tired, etc.) he will escalate his behavior based on our reactions. If we yell, he will take his reaction one stop further and yell back, yelling continues (because he won't stop to hear what we are saying) he will go one more step and start using bad words or throwing things. Last couple times I have tried a different approach and keep my anger from showing and remain calm and friendly. He still got upset, but the confrontation was much shorter and less stressful for all involved.

Raymond Henri said...

I should note to have a post after the holidays about confrontation specifically. I mainly wanted to focus on communication (of which confrontation is a subset) here. I don't think confrontations on the basis of gender was Anon's point. I felt like it was more to do with confrontation from the bias of gender. Your example helps show how confrontation is effective communication and that learning to make confrontations more amicable yields better results.