We’ve Got the Definition of Communication All Wrong

According to Google’s dictionary, communication is information exchange via speaking or writing. And where is the receiving part?

Head propped on his laps, I stared at the yellow fluorescent light on the ceiling that was bright enough to hurt your eyes. He ran his fingers through my hair very gently…

Me: What are you thinking? *eyes seeking his*

He: Just… I haven’t felt listened to. *voice soft*

I stayed silent, waiting for him to continue.

He: Every time we argue, you sound so right with your words. You react fast, and those words are so convincing that I thought, maybe I’m wrong, maybe I’m the one to blame.

Me: I… I didn’t know that’s what goes on in your head… *looking back up at the ceiling*

He: And when I try to speak, you refute my speech faster than my brain processes. It really hurts… when you don’t listen… almost a suffocating feeling. *subdued*

Sitting upright, I put my arms around and hugged him into my chest.

Me: I’m so sorry. That must be so painful… I didn’t realize… *whispering*

Photo by Nathan Ziemanski on Unsplash

And I actually thought I was a pretty good listener.

Until we are confronted with our incompetence, we continue to pride ourselves on the quick wit and fast tongue.

To those I have hurt with words, I’m sorry.

Trusting the advertiser’s claim of my phone being waterproof, I often set it on the window track as I shower. This is so that I don’t interrupt the flow of a text exchange, and, sometimes, simply for the joy of listening to audiobooks.

As the screen lite up with notification, I rinsed my hands off the soap bubbles…

She: He’s better than me at communication. He speaks well and can express himself clearly, but I can’t. So I feel like, okay, maybe it’s my fault.

Me: Hmm… you know communication is a two-way street, right? Do you think he’s been listening to you?

She: You’re right. I feel like the one person who is supposed to listen just keep letting me down. Then I feel hurt and snap back. This is exhausting. *eye-roll emoji*

Me: Must be 😦 you are entitled to your feelings, but listening doesn’t come naturally to some. Same goes for expressing your own needs and feelings.

She: Yeah… let’s see if we can work on it. I think this will either make or break us.

Photo by Nathan Ziemanski on Unsplash

We put communication on the resume without a blink of an eye,

but perhaps this is a skill only a rare few have mastered.

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