What is "Communicating" Anyway?
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Politics and Activism

What is "Communicating" Anyway?

We’ve set the standard for communication so low that we aren’t even recognizing that it’s bad anymore.

What is "Communicating" Anyway?
“The biggest communication problem is that we don’t listen to understand, we listen to reply.”

Think of this in three forums: the classroom, friendships, relationships.

This is most easily understood in the classroom. Our greatest class participants can do poorly on exams. Why? Because in class, they hear their classmates’ point and they respond to participate: to speak. They do not listen to understand their classmate’s point of view or to gain a greater understanding of the material. We listen to answer teacher questions, and not to analyze the construction of the discussion question that has been asked- though looking deeper into that skill would prove beneficial to our learning. We raise our hands in the middle of questions and discussion so that we are able to remember what we were going to say; we generate answers before they are even through speaking. We are a society that looks for instantaneous answers, and feel the pressure to provide them when we can. Everything must be done now, or in reality moments before now. The readiness of our society to give and accept these knee jerk reactions, especially in the classroom, is teaching us only to speak our mind and not consider long-term scenarios.

The same can be said of friendships. When our friend is in distress, we listen to their scenario and before they even express their reaction to the events we react. We give them an answer, presumably what they want to hear. But we interrupt. We miss the point. We stop their train of thought and demonstrate our skilled “listening” by interjecting with our own opinion, feelings, and to-dos. That is not communication. Communication is a two way street. It is taking the time to hear, to process, and then to respond to the questions or concerns at hand. Our friends are lenient with us, though, and we let each other do this all the time. We cancel plans last minute. We say things we don’t mean, but we say them timely. We are becoming desensitized to the fact that communication goes beyond words and instantaneousness. We are developing shallow friendships because our conversations, themselves, are shallow. Our communication is shallow.

Finally, we take these habits into our personal relationships. In a society where “talking” is cool but “dating” is work, we overlook the foundation of relationships: IT’S COMMUNICATION, PEOPLE. But that’s why it’s hard. We feel but do not know how to express. We think but do not share. We assume. We become resentful. We act out.

OR we remain silent and put our needs aside. This is not being an ideal candidate for a relationship. It, unfortunately, is the expectation but it is not “good.” It is being careless with your emotions. It is putting your needs aside and it is breaking you down. Not communicating doesn’t make you strong, either. Building walls around yourself isn’t a sign of strength, it’s a sign of being cold. TALK PEOPLE. I don’t mean “talk” like fake be in a relationship and question everything. No. I mean speak. Listen. Tell people how you feel. Be open, be honest. If someone does not accept you and your needs and wants and baggage than it isn’t meant to be. But that’s just it. Why force something that isn’t meant to be? And trust me it’s much easier to discover this early on rather than later. And if it hurts it’s okay to communicate that too. If you’re confused, express. If you’re upset, vent. If you’re in love, SHOUT IT FROM THE ROOFTOPS.

Just live, people. And in order to live you must communicate with other humans. We’ve set the standard for what is expected of communication so low that we aren’t even calling attention or recognizing that it’s bad anymore. Recognize it. Be absolutely aware of how you communicate to others and vice versa. We need to make a change. Life is not all smartphones and computer screens. It’s not Snapchats and Instagram likes. Give a phone call and give hugs. Send texts but also send consolation. If you need help, or clarification, or someone else, ask. If someone needs you, listen. Be responsive but remember it doesn’t have to be instantaneous. Put effort into your knowledge and your relationships. Be mindful, be present. Process the information given to you. Be thoughtful. Be considerate. Communicate. It’s that simple.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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