*Disclaimer: This post was originally on another blog I was involved with and I thought it had relevance to where I am going with my “Thoughts on Leadership” blog. While I talk specifically about personal relationships here, the words could easily be interchanged to fit the leadership role. Enjoy, please comment and I look forward to our journey ahead!
Ok. We all know that relationships in general are a complex maze of different facets all coming together. Whether we are talking about long-term dating, marriage or a parent-child relationship doesn’t matter. However, with everything that goes into a relationship, there is one specific tool that ultimately ties it all together. You may already be saying this word before even reading it. The glue that keeps a relationship going, or not, is communication.
“The imparting or interchange of thoughts, opinions, or information by speech, writing, or signs” (dictionary.com)
Sounds simple enough, right? Well, if it were so simple I don’t think we would have so many wars, protests, strikes or divorces. Communication is a thing that we all want to do well, and yet seem to fall short on more than anything else. But, just focusing on communication and relationships, I can personally attest that the lack of open and honest communication has been the reason for two divorces in my life.
How do I mean? Well, without good communication, there is bad communication. Bad communication is what leads us to distrust, feel disrespected, get our feelings hurt and even feel resentful. Granted, I do think every relationship will have this issue at some point, but by engaging in honest and respectful communication we eventually are able to understand each other better, and ultimately learn to trust and respect each other in our sharing of opinions and thoughts. Even the best communicators hit bumps in the road. Maybe we need to just self-reflect, or internalize our thoughts in order to understand something. I often tend to over-analyze even the simplest of things and crave communication to gain knowledge to better continue analyzing. It can be ridiculously insane.
The bottom line is that a relationship will last, or not, based on the communication skills of the persons in said relationship. Learn to listen, try to see their side, think about your answer before ‘reacting’ as an answer. Try not to get defensive and be open to hearing criticisms and compliments. It is a continual learning process, but if you are willing, having an open communication that goes both ways will ensure a lasting relationship. Alas, a relationship will be short lived if, as the attached picture shows, there is a lack of communication; and not just a lack of communication…but a mutual and agreeable understanding that only comes from open and honest communication.