Communication has been a key structural element in every society since the beginning of time. Through the use of communication in our everyday lives, people are able to live with one another and interact with the whole world. Sometimes however, we take communication for granted and expect or assume people will know what we need, want or like. This puts huge strains on our relationships.
What makes relationships work?
That, is not always an easy question to answer as there are numerous parts that make up quality relationships.
One aspect however does stand out above all else, and something I have seen to be the most important theme in any and every relationship I have ever had in my life, and that is communication.
How we communicate with others, can literally make or break a relationship – dictating wholeheartedly the quality of all our relationships. This is why communication in my opinion is the cornerstone of all relationships. Without this, it is very difficult to have a good relationship with anyone.
To help expand our awareness of how important proper communication is, let’s explore the purpose and elements of good communication between friends, lovers and families. Let us look at how we can improve our communication in each of these areas, in order to have the best relationships we can with all those who cross our life’s path.
Communication Among Friends
There are as many definitions of friendships out there as there are friends, but the one thing that is for certain is that most people seek someone for a friend whom they can trust and be themselves with. Friendships play very important roles in our lives, sometimes even more important than family relationships.
Most people become friends quite easily, but whether they stay friends or have a solid friendship that will last, is a whole other story. When friends share openly and honestly their thoughts and feelings, trust in each other grows naturally. The relationship continues to expand and both parties feel more and more at ease. Intimate conversations among friends provide opportunities to monitor the emotional depth of the friendship. These are motivated by the compelling desire to honestly reveal emotions and thoughts to develop a bond.
As the years go by, some friendships may go through hardships or simply drift apart and may be in need of some recharging. In these cases it is especially helpful to talk to the friend about the changes taking place, to reaffirm the friendship if both of you so choose. If we ignore issues that bother us, or give up talking and sharing our feelings, friendships continue to deteriorate. Recharging a friendship may be as easy as discussing topics that were touched upon briefly or ignored in the past, but now need a deeper approach.
Sometimes in our friendships, a small difference of opinions can lead to disagreements. This is not necessarily a bad thing. On the contrary in many cases if approached from a conscious way, it can lead to insightful and stimulating conversations as long as the people involved do not attach their egos to the outcomes or turn it into a debate with a winner and a loser.
When friendships falter, it is at these times that friends need to consider proper communication about an outstanding issue more than ever, if the friendship is to have a future. Consider taking time out to sit down and talk together by sharing your feelings and opinions openly.
As friends learn together, many qualities that attracted them originally will be highlighted and brought out in these conversations. That is why even though friends may know each other well, intimate conversations provide excellent opportunities for both friends to expand their friendship and discover each other even better.
Of course sometimes, as both parties grow and evolve in different ways, the loving thing to do may actually be to end the friendship. If people start bringing out the worst in each other, or simply grew to hold completely different interests, there is nothing wrong with lovingly going separate ways. At yet other times, friendships just naturally drift apart.
In the end, it is not about staying or not staying friends with someone, but about always communicating your needs and feelings openly and honestly with the other person and being open to the same in return. It is not always easy, but honest, clear and open communication always moves us in the direction of our highest state of being.
Communication Among Lovers
Apart from friendship, love plays another important role in our lives. These two areas are closely linked as friendship is normally the basis for building an intimate and long lasting love relationship. Communication in romantic partnerships therefore may be seen as playing an even more important role, especially if two people want to commit to each other on a serious level.
An essential part of communicating successfully with a lover is establishing good conversation patterns. The conversation patterns that one establishes early on, will be the foundation upon which the rest of the relationship is based on. Poor communication habits are later hard to change without hard work and even bruised feelings. This is why honest, open and forthright communication right from the beginning of a relationships is critical to making it a good one.
Another key element to good communication between lovers is being able to talk freely about anything, without fear or shame. Talking openly and sincerely about sex, passion, commitment, and one’s dreams from the very beginning and throughout the relationship helps it grow into a long lasting love relationship. This helps the bond between you and your partner grow, evolving the relationship into a true unity.
Being intimate with a partner is more then just showing physical affection for each other, it is showing that you care enough to be your partner’s best friend. Being there for your partner when they need a shoulder to cry on, or a friendly ear to listen, becomes even more important as a relationship matures.
Regular communication with our partners can also help us learn more about them. Learning as much as we can about our mate by talking and listening to them can greatly improve the relationship. By doing this we can try to understand the person in depth so that we can respond to their needs in the best way. Good knowledge of the other person’s needs, wants and standards also eliminates many unnecessary fights or arguments, since we will know how the other person may react or respond to a certain action or situation. This by the way is an ongoing life process, as long as you are with your mate.
Good communication in relationships is also based on good conflict resolution. If any kind of problems arise, they should not be avoided but brought out into the open. You and your partner should feel comfortable to share your feelings openly, but always in a respectful way. By keeping negative feelings in, they decrease the level of honesty in a relationship and therefore they start to deteriorate the relationship itself.
When a person is upset or frustrated, it is of course difficult to communicate effectively. Getting angry without specifically defining the problem, sets the stage for an emotional war of words with angry accusations. Therefore at these times instead of resorting to any kind of screaming or yelling clearly describe the reasons why you are unhappy, making sure at all times to keep conscious of the part your ego is playing in all of this. The other person should at this time try to be understanding and show a willingness to openly talk about the conflicting issues.
There are times too when lovers are faced with serious problems which may take many discussions and require great amounts of time to steer the relationship back on track. It is at these crucial points especially that couples should concentrate on acquiring good communication so that they may truly try to resolve the problem, and not just turn their backs on each other and give up.
In the end however, whether one is a man or a woman the best way to a good love relationship is to build intimacy through good communication. This can be achieved by being more open about one’s feelings and also spending more time with your partner to have more opportunities to communicate together.
Communication Among Family
Apart from friends and lovers, another important part of our lives is our family. Sometimes a person can be all three things to us – a friend, a lover and a family member. It is here that communication must not only be effective, but also continually emphasized in order for the family to function well together.
Communication between parents and children is one of the most important aspects here, since the way parents communicate with their children teaches and effects how they will communicate in the future. The words parents choose make a big difference to a child. Although children also perceive their parent’s attitude through their voice and body language, what is actually spoken to a child no matter how old, plays a big part in their lives.
It is important not to make the child feel low or bad about themselves. This can be achieved by avoiding hurtful criticism, sarcasm, insensitive comments, unrealistic expectations or the withholding of love and praise. It is also important for parents to get their kids to talk about their feelings. This helps children deal with their feelings and emotions but also builds strong bonds through the production of intimate conversations.
In families, parents should also be comfortable and able to talk to their kids about any issue that may surface no matter how difficult. Frequent and meaningful communication between all family members is crucial for talking about important issues, but also for resolving problems, heading off destructive confrontations and reinforcing family unity. Without open conversations, a family’s growth can be stunted by resentment, conflicts and passivity.
Families should always have an ability to establish a conversation network that provides an equal opportunity for airing grievances, presenting opposing view points and most importantly for creating mutual respect for all its members. Parents need to keep their pride, ego and authoritarian ways in check here especially, as that sets a huge tone for the attitudes, behaviors and future communication styles of the children. Once such a network is established and functioning, parents and children alike will understand where other members stand on vital issues that affect their family. This way the conversation network is the family’s lifeline where its unity provides personal strength and emotional support.
The way to establish such a network is first, and most importantly, talking to your spouse about house rules, expectations, discipline, etc. This also establishes good communication between both parents, which must be effective in order for the rest of the family to function properly. Another step is putting aside certain times strictly for family activities. These shared times provide important opportunities for conversations. This ensures that all members can bring up their own issues and no one is left out or neglected. This is also the key to family decision making, since it gives everyone the opportunity to express their opinion, encourage discussion and try to find a solution based on compromise.
By following simple rules such as these, families can improve and strengthen their communication skills. This in return will help the family grow in deeper love, honesty and unity.
Communicating well with friends, lovers and family members is a very important part of our lives, at least if we want to be happy. We must all remember to communicate with others, as well as we wish to be communicated with. This builds respect, trust and honesty among people and benefits all those involved.
Communication is a crucial bridge between all people. When communication breaks down, the relationships themselves break down. Communication requires perhaps the most conscious effort of us in our daily lives.
Conscious communication also takes into account your body language, listening skills and the type of language you use. Equally important is the maintaining of and having intimate conversations with the people in your life. Even though these are not always easy to initiate, breaking through the barriers of mutual understanding and respect is worth the risk since the superficial layers of chitchat are stripped away and we become closer to the people we love.
Together friends, lovers and family members all influence our lives and it is through the gift of communication that we can stay close to these people, expand our unities and maintain great intimacy which enriches all of our lives.