Thursday, September 16, 2010


Communication is key to the relationships we hold.

Being able to discuss our needs, wants, and desires with those we hold intimately is crucial to forming loving, trusting, fulfilling bonds. We are coached by television therapists, magazine articles, and our sensitive friends that talking is the way to reveal ourselves to another.

As a writer I am supposed to be a master of the written word. It is an easy assignment when I need to write a letter, ask someone a favor, or even announce my undying love to someone via the typed/hand-written print.

But for some reason, as well as I write, I am unable to verbally communicate as effectively.

Since childhood, along with my writing prowess, I was known as a sympathetic ear, a great listener. Friends and even strangers, especially strangers, would sit down next to me and share their most intimate secrets in short spans of time.

Admittedly I am a very direct person shooting penetrating queries at my partner in conversation and simply allowing him/her to respond without interruption.

Listening is actually an art.

Many of us hear just fine, but to really listen we have to focus on what another is trying to tell us. We cannot make a mental list for the grocery store, queue up our next response and blurt it out before the person is done speaking, or drift off to LaLa Land because we have lost interest.

Listening requires complete abandon to the words being uttered. Eyes, ears, brain all need to be directed solely to the speaker. Eye contact, a vital part of listening, has all but vanished from our culture.

As our modern technical world has to deal less and less with human contact, when meetings do occur most people are wildly uncomfortable with the intimacy of looking into one another's eyes.

But that is how to focus in on the speaker and really absorb what is being told to you!

So, I am blessed with a the gift to listen and it has served me well. I have gained numerous friendships and enjoyed appreciative encounters simply because I can effectively listen as people unload the problem, insecurity, or enthusiasm they do not want to contain.

Then how do I succeed in that area so well and fail terribly in my own personal communication?

Since childhood I have been ineffectively communicating my own needs, desires, and wants.

I can speak to command a classroom, a large gymnasium filled with hundreds of competition cheerleaders and their families, lead and recite the Pledge of Allegiance loudly and proudly at a Pack Meeting, and run my household with 3 dependent children, but I can scarcely communicate my needs well to those I hold most dear.

I seemed to have been absent the day "effective communication with one's spouse" was being taught.

All of the gifts that allow me to be a fantastic listener disappear the minute my husband and I begin talking. I lose focus, talk over him, and sometimes even mentally wander away. I am incapable, at times, to organize my thoughts coherently and can rarely figure out what I really want to say/do when we connect.

And during an argument, forget it! I am worthless! My inadequacies as a communicator hit an all-time low! I simply do not understand why I live this dichotomy.

My husband is a staunch supporter of my writing, and, quite frankly, ME! He is reading this blog so I am not telling tales.

We are, for better or worse, richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, tied together forever.

Our communication needs working on, and to that fact he would agree.

But what we also have going for us is that no matter how sucky our fights can be, how frustrating our arguments get, or how scatterbrained I am, we do always end up talking.

But my husband is right, if I would have just opened my mouth and stated my position BEFORE the fight, listened to him with all of my attention, and focused on him like I do countless others, we wouldn't get into so many pickles!

It is a character flaw for me. And I do know better. Countless times a day I instruct people to work on their communication skills. What I need to be doing is working on them myself!

Are you the master communicator in your life or do you resist interaction?

Are you the taciturn one or do you talk everything out?

Have you developed excellent listening skills or are you not really present in the conversations you engage?

Communication sets apart from most other species - it is the reason humans have built civilizations, mastered technology, and explored the far reaches.

But, as important, vital as communication is, most of us need a refresher course on how to be proficient at it.

I think it's worth the time to learn. How about you?


  1. (Trying again to post response)
    I am horrible at communication. I know some people think I am superficial. I just tend to stay with "light conversation" because I am just not good at expressing all the stuff in my brain. I am constantly thinking. I tend to observe non-verbal communication. If I familiar with someone I can see in their face or even slight change in their demeanor what they are feeling.
    I do not look people in the eye when in a conversation. I am very aware and really trying to fix it. I think it comes from "LOOK AT ME when I'm talking to you!" Yeah, I wasn't being talked to I was being yelled at because I was getting busted for something. It means confrontation to me... (see flight response).
    I agree that we all could use a refresher course in communication, and for some of us, a first course.
    Another great blog Mrs. Chief! ;)

  2. I am convinced we all walk around with a giant blind spot that others can absolutely see but we cannot. I have never been able to articulate what I want. It scares me to death. I am really good at sales but I cannot ask for what I want personally.

  3. What did you say Candi, I was watching the tele as I thought you were reading your blog to me! Just a little joke to get your attention. I tend to be quite an inroverted extrovert. I hate to be around people at times and then, when I'm alone, I crave company of outhers. It is interesting to reflect on Delphine's teacher in action, she looked each of her students in the eye and shuck their hand good morning. Eye contact is important, but so is willingness to want to listen, and pay attention! I love your style Candi! Great blog!

  4. I too, am a great listener, always have been. A skill I honed when I was a bartender. I have little patience when I realize the person I am trying to 'communicate' with is thinking more about how they are going to respond, more than listening to what I am saying. Communication is a 2 way street, with both people stating their wants and needs. When one of the two feels they are being attacked, they go on the defense and communication stops. This is when it turns into ' I am right, you are wrong, and this is why...'

  5. I don't think you're that far off from most of us. We can be great listeners and still not be great at communicating. Sometimes communicating with the one we love seems hardest. I think in fact when there is an abundance of love, it makes it a bit harder if you are thinking, "I don't want to upset this person, or argue".
    Maybe being a good listener means that we can be a good listener because it's easier to hear someone else's thoughts than try to deal with our own. Maybe our own are too scattered to put into words.
    Maybe we're scared that our own thoughts won't be heard or validated. If we listen so well, is there an expectancy others should listen to us that well? If there is, maybe that creates a bit of the fear, if we're not accepted as much as we accept others, that could hurt.
    Regardless of what it maybe that holds communication back, it is always be the best policy to say what you want to say, even if it means you have o come back to the conversation- meaning, if you are unable at the time to say what you need to say, once your thoughts are clearer, come back to it and say, "here's what I was trying to say earlier..." it's never too late to communicate.

  6. I totally understand this blog...I find so much of myself in what you said Candice! So #1 take comfort in knowing that you are not alone. I believe the way that the role of a woman has eveolved from day one..we have always been the caretaker, the multi-tasker, the nurturing one...and we don't leave much time or emphasis on our own needs/wants/desires. It's like sometimes I feel I almost "lose myself" in the mix. Between schedules,taking care of the kids/household, working 2 jobs...(used to be 3, but I was smart enough to drop one), I really have gotten lost in the mix. Communication or I like to say Speaking your truth is key. OUr needs are just as imp as everyone else's in our life. We are also showing our kids the imp of taking care of ourselves. I agree being present Candice and being in the moment is so important to establish intimacy and great communication. I also think that we have to be a friend to ourselves..we all know how critical we are of ourselves..Let's try to be our very best cheerleader..and acknowledge all the amazing things we do on a daily basis. The universe has given my hubby a chance to be home with the kids this past summer...and although scarey at first due to financal concerns, it has been the nicest summer we've had...I see the bond between my hubby and our 3 kids blossoming..Since I have a bit of control issues about how I like things run..I have learned to let go of those demands, and allow my hubby to do it his way, which is refreshing for the kids. So, I believe in self nurturance and affirming our attributes on a daily basis...I still work on the communication..but I know that being inthe moment with another person makes it very sacred...Thanks for your blog candi...I guess I had alot to say:)