Retrograde is in the air and people around me (including myself) are
dealing heavily with communication issues.
I had a thought that general busy-ness of people nowadays is causing
communication problems. Communication takes time. A LOT of time. You
have to train someone to properly interpret what you say in order to
get your needs met. This can probably take many many hours upon months
to understand what a person means when they say something.
The more emotion that is brought into communication, the greater the
chance for errors in interpretation. My high school choir teacher, Mr.
Peter Park, once made the extremely astute observation that: “In the
void of communication, people connect dots in the most pathological
ways possible.” His remedy was to “communicate without ceasing.” This
is especially important in the midst of emotions. If someone is left
in a state of confusion, he/she has only to rely on emotional data to
interpret what the other person means. Emotional data is based on
fears/hopes, which are probably wrong about 80% of the time. So when
you do not perfectly spell out what you NEED to another person, they
are left with their own assumptions about themselves and you to fill
in the blanks.
Never assume a person knows exactly what you mean. Many times people
will nod heads without exactly knowing what you mean. Only through
repeated exposure to similar information with observed outcomes can a
person accurately interpret what you mean.
Don’t take it personally when someone doesn’t understand you. Do not
assume that others don’t love you if they don’t understand something
you were trying to communicate. Communication is a NEVER-ENDING
ITERATIVE PROCESS. My brain will NEVER work the same way yours does,
no matter how much time I spend around you.
Communication takes TIME. And it takes a willingness to admit errors
and vulnerabilities. I have found, for example, that immigrants
necessarily place a large importance on being UNDERSTOOD. If you think
about it, being UNDERSTOOD is critical to SURVIVAL. If you cannot meet
your needs, or get your needs met by others, you will not prosper. So
an immigrant already has a handicap entering a community without full
communication abilities in basic language skills, so they can be
especially frightened if they are not understood by someone, knowing
deeply what communication can do for them.
Kindness goes a long way in letting someone know you did not
understand them. Blame is useless. Removing all emotion from the
process is key to getting results. “I did not understand you. This is
how I could have understood what you meant. Next time would you
We must all slow down and invest the patience it takes to learn how
each other thinks and operates if we are to get our needs met and meet