Communication is incredibly important to me. The older I get, the more I realize how very important communication is to my everyday life.
We all have struggles and have had to bear our own share of conflict. While some of us like to rise up to conflict, others would rather do anything than have to confront someone.
I need to communicate in my job to let my clients know what to expect from me and what I can complete. I need to talk in my marriage to make sure that my husband and I are on the same page since no one is a mind reader. I need to communicate to my children on a daily — sometimes hourly — basis on what the plans are for the day. I need to talk with friends regarding what I can commit to and when we can get together. I need to communicate with my long-distance family members about how life is going and when the best time to chat would be during the week.
I have found that I am most easily upset when there has been a lack of communication. I still consider my family to be new to the area, although we are coming up on seven years living in Illinois. There are many times when I have been in contact with someone who has lived here their entire life, and they assume that I know what they are talking about. It has led to many comical and sometimes awkward conversations. I have learned that if I don’t ask questions and ask for more details, I will be left in the dark.
I am convinced that all of the strife and arguments that we have in this world can boil down to a lack of communication. When you don’t communicate well, feelings can get hurt and assumptions can be made. It also results in chaos when rules or intentions are not made clear.
Miscommunication is another piece of the puzzle. There have been many times in my life when I have miscommunicated with someone. This can be a slight lack of communication as well as not clearly stating what I wanted or needed. On the other hand, you can also overcommunicate, which can lead to even more issues. I have to say that I am one to overcommunicate to my husband and kids. I check, double-check and sometimes triple-check that we are all on the same page. I know there is a fine line between communicating and nagging, but I would rather over- than under-communicate.
As a mom, I have also learned that communication is a learned skill. It doesn’t always come naturally to everyone. When my kids are talking with their grandparents on the phone, I have to help them learn how to have a conversation and actually show that they care about the other person. I have to teach my kids the right way to converse with someone and how silence can be construed as rude.
My daughter doesn’t have as much trouble communicating as my boys did. She is great at letting her thoughts be known at any time and is quick to stand up for herself. I admire that she isn’t afraid to share how she feels, even though many times the delivery isn’t quite right.
If you look back on your week, how many times did you run into a problem? How many of those times could have been avoided by communication? I must admit that I still stumble with communication even though it is so important to me. We can all learn to communicate just a bit better.
Kristina Phelan writes a regular column for the Ford County Record. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.