Thursday, October 1, 2009

If the other person does not communicate:

Often we have been told and taught the importance of communication. We do understand that the basis of a good, warm and long-lasting relationship is communication. We also understand that communication is not just “talking”, but being able to express, emote, and understand each other. Hence many of us go out of the way to communicate with the important persons in our life. But what do we do if the other person does not reciprocate? Here are some ways to overcome that hurdle ………

  • Let your non-verbal communication reach the other person before your words e.g. your smile, your hand-shake, your step forward. Do this on a continuous basis. In fact, often you may not have to use words, your gestures are enough.
  • Start with commenting on a neutral but positive topic e.g. good weather, nice incidents of the day, etc.
  • Then make a statement of concern. Do not take up a touchy or sensitive topic, something minor—that he drives many miles through heavy traffic.
  • When you need to get information from him, talk in statements rather than questions e.g. “I trust you would have tried to get the extra money we need,” or “I was wondering whether you would like to go to Mother’s house today.”
  • After some gap of silence, express your feelings positively, “I would be very happy if you share whatever is important to you. I always feel nice when you do so.”
  • When you want something from the person, say so directly, using “I” sentences. “I would love to go to a movie this weekend with you.” “If you’re not tired, I need to get the loft cleaned.”
  • Make it a habit of ignoring short temper outbursts or irritation of the other person. On the other hand, give him positive strokes when he is nice (or even neutral) to you e.g. “Today evening was so pleasant because we just spent time together in each other’s company watching TV.”
  • When facing intense or long-lasting anger from him, keep reminding yourself that it is his inability to communicate better, and try to keep yourself mentally insulated. Never get into an argument when you know you cannot win.
  • When upset or angry with him, tell him in calm and assertive tones, with the focus on your feelings rather than his action e.g. “I felt very hurt when I heard you telling your mother that I am lazy.” Then tell him what makes you happy, or give him alternatives, “I would be very happy if you tell me and give me an opportunity to change, or to present my view point.”
  • Use alternative means of communication, such as Post-It slips, notes (particularly those kept in unexpected places such as his tiffin box), emails, sms, etc.
  • Do not put all your emotional dependency on him. When you find he is not communicative, develop alternative persons you can emote with.
  • Keep reminding him of whenever he communicated well, and how happy it made you, expressing it in the form of “feeling” words e.g. “When you supported me in my argument with my sister-in-law, I was thrilled, and felt very proud to have you as my partner.”

At times a person close to us can be very closed, difficult to interact with, or even perpetually angry. Once you have identified his personality traits, work on yourself to keep your feelings aloof, and build an emotional wall around yourself. Seek the help of others who are positive towards you, or appreciate you, and reinforce your self-worth as you continue in your struggle to improve communication with this person.

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