If a relationship is in trouble, and you are looking for answers, almost every article you read will tell you to work on your communication skills. Actually, even if a relationship is not in trouble, you will still hear how important communication is to get the results you want out of the relationship, such as happiness, support, and satisfaction. But why is communication so important? Or, rather, why is the lack of communication in relationships so devastating to them?
If you do not communicate properly, then misunderstandings are going to happen. This occurs when you say something and the person you are talking to hears something completely or slightly different. I know this has happened to you, and I’m sure you understand how frustrating it can be for a relationship, but if you don’t, let me make it real clear.
When you are not clear with what you want from a conversation or what you are trying to say, you cannot let someone else know what you require of them or what you want them to understand about you and your message. This results in them doing something that you don’t want or reacting in a way that you don’t want, which eventually leads to conflict.
Also, hearing what you want to hear is not going to help you understand what someone is trying to say to you. You may get offended if you don’t understand what they are saying or you may carry out a request in wrong way. This will be extremely frustrating later when the message is made clearer, and you better believe it will feel like a huge waste of time on your behalf. You could have avoided the frustration, and possibly the extra time and energy, by just listening and clarifying the first time you had a conversation.
2. Lack Of Trust
A lack of communication will result in a lack of trust. When you are only willing to give so much information to someone, they have to make up the rest in their mind.
For instance, if you tell your partner that you are going to go out with some friends, but leave key details out, such as where you are going, who you are going to meet up with, and what you are going for, they will have to make up the rest of their story in the mind.
Unfortunately, when people are left to make up stories in their mind, they are not usually full of lollipops and rainbows. Worries and fears creep up, and people tend to imagine unpleasant scenarios. Visualizing unpleasant scenarios results in unpleasant feelings, and eventually conflict arises.
In addition, not giving the details makes it seem like you are hiding something. People who have nothing to hide are open and willing to get detailed about their life and what they are doing.
3. Broken Connection
Relationships are built on communication. You get to know each other through communication. You get to understand where the other person is coming from and what they want. And, you develop a bond.
In fact, did you know that falling in love can happen within just over a half an hour with almost anyone you are attracted to? According to Your Amazing Brain, a website focused on exploring the brain, falling in love can be done in three steps: meet someone, communicate some intimate details to each other for a half an hour, and then stare into each other’s eyes for 4 minutes without talking. Done! You are in love!
That is the power of communication. It creates a bond as you get to know the intimate details of each other’s lives and release chemicals, such as dopamine, that make you feel really, really good about the other person.
When there is a lack of communication in relationships, that bond starts to dwindle away. You lose the connection, you lose interest, and eventually you lose the relationship.
4. Unresolved Conflict
Conflict will happen in every relationship, and how you communicate when it happens will have a huge impact over the health of your relationship. Proper communication can help you work though an issue quickly and feel better about the situation, but when there is a lack of communication, it is hard to resolve issues and they usually don’t get fixed.
Relationship issues that are left to linger will impact both people negatively. The person who focuses on the issue will suffer from anger or hurt, while the person who is in a relationship with someone focused on the issue will suffer from being the target of an angry or hurt person’s emotions.
5. Hearing Things From Other People
If you have a hard time communicating with someone, then you will likely hear about things that you should hear from them and not from someone else. For instance, if someone you are in a relationship with is feeling sad, then they may be more inclined to tell a family member their issues than you. That family member may feel that other people need to know about this issue (especially you), and so you will find out from someone else something you should already know. That is a painful way to learn the truth about someone you are in a relationship with. It makes you feel like you were not worthy enough to talk to and it further disconnects you from them.
6. Not Getting What You Want
A lack of communication in any area of your relationship can cause you to miss out on what you want. For instance, in an intimate relationship, not communicating about what you need in the bedroom will result in a lack of pleasure and satisfaction. Pleasurable intimacy is important in an intimate relationship as it increases trust and the desire to keep doing intimate things!
People are not mind readers. They need to hear what you want straight from your mouth. They can’t guess, and if they do, most of the time they will get it wrong. Plus, why make someone guess when you can tell them exactly what you need them to do and make it happen quickly and with less effort.
7. Feeling Disrespected
When there is a lack of communication in relationships, people can feel like they are being disrespected. For instance, not wanting to share your day can make someone feel unimportant. And, not listening to someone discuss something important can make them feel as if their thoughts and emotions are not valid to you.
Being insulted by the people closest to us makes us feel as though we are not worthy of their approval, interest, and effort. This often happens in one-sided relationships where only one person shares and only one person listens. The person who does all the listening, but none of the sharing feels as though their life is not important enough for the other person to listen, and the person talking feels as though the person listening has no desire to share intimate details with them.
8. Feeling Abused
When there is a big lack of communication in relationships, it can get to the point of being mentally abusive. For instance, the silent treatment is a form of abuse. It keeps one person in control while the other person has to struggle, cry, beg, and live in a state of desperation or confusion. To make someone else feel like that is cruel and is considered mental abuse.
However, the silent treatment isn’t the only way to mentally abuse someone. Leaving out important details is abusive, and being rude, angry, or offensive is abusive. Moreover, yelling at each other is abusive.
All of those things can occur when communication is lacking in the relationship, which means that anyone with poor communication skills has the potential to get into an abusive relationship. When you feel bad about yourself and your relationship due to a lack of communication, abuse is more likely to happen by one person or by both.
How To Avoid A Lack Of Communication In Relationships
You must change what is going on in your mind if you want to change what is going on in your relationships. Therefore, the way to start changing your mind is to become aware of how important communication is in a relationship.
You should now have an understanding of how a lack of communication can really impact your happiness, your relationship, and your future in a big way. It can lower your self-esteem, cause you to be in a constant state of anger or hurt, and it can break down your relationships from healthy to unhealthy to non-existent. If there is one thing that everyone needs to work on their relationships, it is communicating properly.
6 Steps To Overcome A Lack Of Communication
Step 1: Make communication a priority in your relationship. If you know that someone wants to talk to you, then give them the time and the energy that they deserve by shutting down the TV or computer and paying attention to what they are saying. In addition, if you feel that you need to talk to someone, make that a priority as well. Don’t put it off until after you finish watching a show or something else less meaningful because, if you do, you may never end up taking the time to communicate an important issue with them.
Step 2: If things get heated and you can’t have an effective conversation, then don’t give up on the conversation altogether. Instead, let the other person know that you want to talk through this, but you need a few hours to gather your thoughts and be more proactive with your words. Make it a rule that you are both coming from a place of calm and rational thinking before you try to communicate about important things in your relationship.
Step 3: Make honesty important. The only way to really communicate in a way that solves problems and gets your true message across is to be honest. This means that you have to let other people be honest as well and get yourself ready to hear some things you may not want to hear. Remember, hearing something honest is better than hearing nothing at all.
Step 4: Take the time to really listen. Most of us are good at listening in a way where we prepare ourselves for the next thing we are going to say, but not so much in a way that helps us understand key concepts that someone is trying to get across to us. Try to focus on their words and the meaning behind them rather than what you want to say. You may want to paint a visual picture in your head as they speak so that you can visually see what they are trying to say to you, or you can rephrase what they say to clarify what you hear and show them that you are listening.
Step 5: Pay attention to their body language. You’ve probably heard that it doesn’t matter what you say as much as it matters how you say it. That saying stems from the fact that people use their body language to convey their true feelings and reactions. While some people can hide themselves in their words, it is much harder to control every facial movement, gesture, or twitch while in a conversation. Even if someone thinks they are being honest with you, their body language might give you a hint of the feelings they are locking away inside. If you can become a master of reading body language, you will have a much easier time understanding the real emotions behind what is being said.
Step 6: Stay present in the current conversation. Don’t dredge up the past and throw in some shots to try to make yourself feel better about the conversation. The past is the past and there is nothing you can do to change it now. Therefore, communicate in the present. Talk about where you are, what concerns you are having, what you want to get done, and what actions you can take right now to make sure all that happens. When you stay in the present, conversations will feel much more fun and productive.