Who Taught You how to Communicate ?
Communication is defined as exchanging information. While it sounds Simple, it’s actually a challenge for most of us. We all have our own communication styles and methods. Some styles are effective and some can make situations worse.
If you look at the tweet and my response, you’ll see I had to learn to change the way in which I communicated in my marriage. My style sometimes did more damage than good. If you look at the tweet again, you can see a number of people agreed with what I said. This made me wonder, why all of us from various parts of the country and world had all had the same experience?
As with any other custom or value, you often learn the communication style of those around you. This is what happened to me, I communicated with my husband based on how I saw my parents communicate. The same was true for him. Outside of those who agreed with me on Twitter, many people that I know personally had similar experiences.
I learned that arguing was mainly the only way to work through disagreements. This method of communicating became a major issue for me, not only in relationships but friendships as well. It never really crossed my mind when I was younger that people were able to talk things out. This is one of the reasons why I shied away from confrontation, as I was sure that it would lead to an argument. But what I named was learned from modeling. However, I learned from my parent to confront others when I had an issue in nice way and to communicate my feelings. The complete opposite of what I saw lol.
Modeling has a strong effect on us. For those who are unfamiliar with the term, modeling is when “people learn from one another, via observation, imitation, and modeling” (Learning Theories, 2016). What we see is what we do. There are four steps to learning through modeling:
“Attention — various factors increase or decrease the amount of attention paid
Retention — remembering what you paid attention to. Includes symbolic coding, mental images, cognitive organization, symbolic rehearsal, motor rehearsal
Reproduction — reproducing the image. Including physical capabilities, and self-observation of reproduction.
Motivation — having a good reason to imitate. Includes motives such as past (i.e. traditional behaviorism), promised (imagined incentives) and vicarious (seeing and recalling the reinforced model)” (Learning Theories, 2016).
Think about it…. As kids we soak up things like a sponge. We pay attention to things unconsciously, we remember them because that’s just how our brain works, we recreate these actions mainly with our peers, and based on our responses, we do keep doing what we learned or edit it so it works for us.
Despite knowing this, I still struggle with communication. Not because I’m unwilling to change, but it’s hard to change behaviors/habits that we’ve been doing for years.I have accepted that it will be an ongoing battle, especially when sensitive topics are involved. It is unrealistic to think we will handle every situation perfectly.
If I feel like someone won’t be receptive or be aggressive in their response, I will either put off having the conversation or avoid it all together. (I’m trying to get better about this) I have also learned that perception plays a major role in communication. Are you willing to accept that someone’s experience of the same situation is different? I’m not talking about lying or omitting facts, but literally what they felt and experienced may be different from yours. This another area where people mess up. Instead of trying to hear the other person’s experience, they just want to argue over how they perception is right. I will say that I’m more aware of how I communicate with others and careful about my word choice.
When I asked people on social media about what they learned regarding communication, I got a variety of answers. Some people spoke on what they were told directly. Sadly enough, the majority stated that they did not learn anything directly (being taught or instructed verbally) about communication or they learned through modeling. In addition, many of them included how they’ve had to learn as they go, which continues the generational curse of not being able to communicate effective. However, if you become aware and make necessary changes then you can stop this. Ironically enough, I tried to find studies on why people do not talk to their children about communication and had difficulty finding what I was looking for. I guess it’s one of those things that is unconsciously passed down.
But I’ll leave you guys with some tips on how to communicate effectively from loveisrespect.org :
“-Find the Right Time.
-Talk Face to Face. (Text messages, letters and emails can be misinterpreted. Talk in person so there aren’t any unnecessary miscommunications. )
-Do Not Attack. ( Using “you” can sound like you’re attacking, which will make your partner defensive and less receptive to your message. Instead, try using “I” or “we.” )
-Check Your Body Language.
-Use the 48 Hour Rule. (If your partner does something that makes you angry, you need to tell them about it. But you don’t have to do so right away. If you’re still hurt 48 hours later, say something. If not, consider forgetting about it)” (loveisrespect, 2017).
Check out more helpful communication tips from loveisrespect.org!!
Remember, when communicating, it’s not all about you and your feelings or experience. You must be open to what the other person has to say. Believe it or not, this can be a barrier to others communicating with you and how receptive you are.
Communication is a challenge for all of us, but we have to start somewhere!
So tell me in the comments did/have you learned how to communicate or are you modeling what you saw growing up? What did you learn from your parents about communication?
How Can We Communicate Better? (2017). Retrieved from https://www.loveisrespect.org/healthy-relationships/communicate-better/
Social Learning Theory Bandura Social Learning Theory. (2016, September 14). Retrieved from https://www.learning-theories.com/social-learning-theory-bandura.html