Before you decide what this post is all about keep reading! I truly believe a lot of the problems we face in the world at large, but more importantly in relationships centers around communication. We think we know how to do it but we really do not. We hear things and take our own interpretation of what was said, and often the message is unclear to begin with.
Communication is more than talking; it is the foundation to a healthy relationship. We use communication to share feelings, needs, expectations, ideas, schedules, and create intimacy. Something that important we should make sure we do it well, right? There are so many different aspects to communication but for today I want to talk about timing.
It seems obvious, but one of the main components to communication is timing. Imagine you had a rough day at work, argued with your boss, traffic was awful, you enter the home and trip on a toy and before you put your purse down your man is asking you about bills. Wrong time huh?
Timing can change a simple exchange into a full on argument depending on the circumstances. I can remember when my husband and I were dating and I worked late on Wednesday nights. It seemed issues always happened on Wednesday morning’s drive to work. Now I knew what lie ahead at work (3-4 intakes, 4 groups, and as many individual sessions as possible all crammed in) and it pissed me off he even wanted to talk about anything serious on a Wednesday morning. So as soon as he started talking I heard nothing, felt frustrated and attacked, and it would go down hill. It was awful. However, once I explained to him how my Wednesday would go at work and why I did not want to have emotionally charged discussions on the way to a monster day he understood, and changes were made. We still had issues, or things that needed to be discussed just not on Wednesday morning, problem solved right?
Wanting to discuss your feelings, the finances or the state of your relationship is a great thing. What makes this bad is when you do it at the wrong time. For example, on Sunday during the football game. I promise you the thoughts and feelings you are having did not start when kick off happened, or in the end of the 4th quarter and his team is down by two. You were probably feeling some type of way a few days ago.
Now before you get mad and tell me how much more important your feelings are than a game consider this. When you are watching Scandal, Empire, or whatever show you truly enjoy do you want to talk about something serious? No you want to know what is going to happen with Fitz and Olivia, and how the roles are going to change now that Luscious has been dethroned. No football nor Scandal or any other show is more important than your relationship but geesh, you could not have had this conversation last night?
Wanting to have a serious discussion while either of you is preoccupied is not ideal for several reasons.
- One person is not fully invested in the conversation. - So I am the only one who has simply agreed to whatever just to get back to what I am doing?
- One person is already irritated before the conversation starts. The person who was interrupted is entering into what may be a difficult conversation already on edge, and this may make a hard conversation even harder.
- When a person is defensive or irritable they are more likely to misinterpret the information they are receiving.
So yes communication is great! Talking and listening are crucial parts to communication but so is timing. Your relationship is too important to argue over a misunderstanding because something was misconstrued while the other was watching Scandal or Football.
Want to learn more about communication? Sign up for my FREE email course below. In this course I will discuss non-verbal communication, the three types of communication, and listening skills. Hope you will join me.