Can You Hear Me?
How many times have you heard “Talk to me for once!” or “I can’t communicate with you right now!” or “Are you even listening to me?” As a therapist in Orlando working with couples and families, I hear these sentences almost every day. Communicating with others is not an easy task, but any healthy relationship is based on being able to communicate.
A friend of mine called me sometime last week and asked, “Why can’t I talk to my husband and actually say what I want?” She went on to say, “He just thinks he knows me so well. Before I know it the conversation has ended, and I haven’t said what I wanted to say.” Instead of assuming what your loved one is going to say, take the time to have a real conversation. This can be done by following these important steps:
- Make time for a conversation– taking time out for having a conversation or discussion without any distractions is extremely important. This means make sure your children are sleeping or busy, turn off your cell phone, and move away from the computer or Ipad.
- Make eye contact– be sure to maintain eye contact throughout your entire conversation with the person in front of you. This means don’t try to have a conversation through text message or email.
- Use “I” statements– it’s best not to play the blame game and say, “You don’t listen to me,” or “You don’t pay any attention to me.” A conversation will be going around in circles if these statements are made. An example of using an “I” statement would be, “I feel annoyed when you don’t spend time with me. I feel unimportant, and I would like to spend time with you.”
- Take turns– be sure not to talk over one another. Actively listen to the other person until they have finished what they have to say, and then respond. Take your time in really listening and soaking up the information that is being given to you. Be sure not to make any assumptions, or you will end up like my friend who had an entire conversation without being heard!
- Choose a solution– try and work on this problem together. Choose a solution that may work for the both of you. If it does not work out, choose a different solution. Keep going until you both find one that works. Keep in mind that working together as a team is better than working against one another.
- Body Language– be sure to watch what your body is communicating. Be mindful about crossing your arms and legs; look comfortable, and at peace. You are not going into battle!
- Speak softly– be sure to speak without taking a tone, or raising your voice. Keep in mind that this is not a war zone. You are most likely to be heard when speaking with love not anger.
So going back to my friend, I explained to her that I was once told that communication is like a free flowing river. When your thoughts, feelings, and emotions are being communicated and heard, the river flows smoothly. When you are not able to say what you feel, you become disconnected. If you’re not being heard, the river can become turbulent; much like the flow of your negative communication. Before you know it, you are caught up in the current. You feel as if you are drowning and no one can hear you.
Perhaps you feel as if you and your loved ones are not communicating effectively. If you are not being heard and need help communicating, please contact Life Enhancement Counseling services to speak with one of our experienced counselors at 407-443-8862 to schedule an appointment.