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Effective Communication

March 2012
Written by: Dame Wotta Tripp

The Importance Of Honesty

Effective communication skills are a key factor in all relationships, business and personal alike.

What is communication, after all? It is the interaction that occurs between two or more people, both verbally and non-verbally.

What is said with actions (or lack of actions) is equally as important, if not more so, than what is said with words.

What couples can impart to each other with their eyes alone is incredible.

If eyes were weaponry, many people would be lying dead on the ground as Wotta Tripp sits writing her excellent advice, and she would not have nearly so many letters to answer. Oh well!

Communicating with other people using words is something we nearly all have to do on a daily basis, whether we like it or not.

Sometimes however, being expected to communicate in particular situations can make certain people lock up, and they find themselves at a total loss for words.

Trouble Brewing!
Why? Mainly because when you have to think about what to say, you suddenly become concerned about what you're about to say.

Think of your past relationships and where communication failed you very badly.

Was it something you said in a particular conversation that you came to regret later?

Telling your girlfriend, for instance, that you've been lying each time she asks you if her behind looks too large in her outfit is neither tactful or kind, however vapid and bird-brained the question is correctly percieved by you to be. Have patience.

Or was it something your boyfriend said that you either treated as unimportant or simply didn't hear at all? Something that may well have been very important to him.

Or could it have been a time when you should have said something to your significant other but didn't, and the results were equally regrettable?

Such things have happened to nearly everyone at one time or another. It's easy to hurt someone and we have to be constantly mindful of other people's feelings and individual needs.

This means becoming consciously aware, something that certain people seem to have a lot of trouble with.

The trick is to not let these past failures define how you communicate now or in the future with your meaningful relationships.

What about the things we do? And what about the things we omit to do?

What messages - communications - do people send to each other with their actions, or lack thereof?

Slashing your boyfriends tires because you suspect him of cheating is a sin of commission, whereas not remembering your wife's birthday is a sin of omission.

Forgetting special occasions is something that many people find particularly hurtful.

Keeping a little notebook with a list of special dates that you can check weekly can help you avoid a lot of hurt looks, pouts and possible tears - men so hate being forgotten.

Remembering those little things - making someone a cup of tea, giving them a hug, picking up a special treat for them - that's the kind of action that brightens people's lives.

Pouring them a hot bath after work with a candle and a large glass of wine set on the edge of the bath can be a really nice gesture.

This is particularly handy for those with passive-aggressive tendencies who aren't sure whether they want to give their partner a treat or drown them.

Who knows what little mishaps wine and lit candles left next to someone's elbow in a steamy bathroom will lead to?

Most women tell a lie an average of 3 times daily, while men lie twice as much with an average of 6 whoppers a day.

And yet men converse a lot less than most women, less than half as much. What could this mean?

Well, it could mean that if they talked as much as women they might be telling at least 12 or more lies a day, and many women believe that they do this anyway.

But what makes people lie so much?

They lie because they learned to do so as children. It was a way of getting out of trouble, and then it was also sometimes a way of getting things. One way or another everybody did it, and everybody does it.

This is something people thoroughly resent. Nobody likes to be lied to, yet that doesn't stop them from telling heinous lies themselves.

Anything to avoid admitting what they did or having that dreaded conversation or argument. Anything to get people off their backs!

And then of course, people lie to make themselves look good, or at least better.

Except for you, gentle reader, because naturally you are the one exception to the rule.

Trust is really very important in a relationship, and yet everyone tells lies. There really is only one conclusion to be drawn.

The only question is the degree to which you can trust any given individual, and this is something you have to learn separately about each person you know, and even then it's a dicey business, because life and time changes everyone.

Can you even trust yourself?

Physical Communication
For some people this generally means giving someone a slap upside the head.

The ladies of Northern England, for instance, are famous for their ability to wield the cast-iron frying pan in times of familial need, and both men and children are often home in time for dinner.

This ancient and effective pastime does not however take us forward into a new age of tolerance, understanding and enlightenment, with the particular focus on non-violence and equality that is necessary for the raising of group consciousness.

In the best of circumstances, communicating through touch and body language should be both positive and gentle, but as we know, quite often it is not. Not even close.

This is something that should be worked upon until you can talk to your partner without lunging at them and attempting to put them in a head-lock.

Ouch - Those Words Hurt Me!
Who says that harsh words don't hurt? Of course they do! They leave scars that can continue to cause anguish to the ones you love (or don't love) for many years.

And of course, people use words to lie freely to save each other's feelings all the time, and then later on, often after a few drinks, go ahead anyway and tell the brutal truth when they suddenly decide that instead they want to mortally wound their beloved with knife-edged words.

Even if you feel they fully deserve it, try and hold back.

Once your blue-eyed beloved becomes aware that you think they're one sandwich short of a picnic, you prefer brown eyes, that their relatives act like a pack of baboons and that their voice grates on your last nerve, and if on top of that you have also delivered the ultimatum that if they lock the keys in the car one more time you will pack and leave, it will all be jolly hard to take back.

You see, when you finally do tell the truth, and your lover knows at an inner level that you mean it, then they have finally received the honesty a part of them has longed for from the very beginning.

This will almost certainly signal the first death knell for your relationship.

Thoughtlessness - What Were You Thinking?
My goodness, the things we say and do!

Make an effort to be tactful and kind with each other, because nobody is perfect. Forgive each other for the little things and let them go.

One day you will realise that they weren't really important, but that will probably be after you shuffle off the mortal coil and remember who you are once more.

Talk to each other openly and try to be honest. Learn to discuss your problems respectfully together in a way that gets positive results.

Remember that compromise is sometimes necessary on both sides and is vital to a healthy relationship.

If you cannot resolve your problems together, seek counselling before it is too late. Love is the most important and valuable substance on this Earth.

Men, an important little tip that can help you avoid pot-boiler arguments:
When your girlfriend or wife is a bit upset, and Wotta Tripp is sure with good reason, it is not wise to utter the words 'calm down!'

It's worth repeating, but I won't. Acting as though she's hysterical merely because she's having an emotionally challenging moment is the height of insensitivity and bad manners, especially if her upset is due to something you did.

After all, many of you make enough bluster and noise when you're unhappy about something. It's enough to make a grown woman cry!
Go Back To Night Letters


Wotta Tripp teaches couples how to communicate more effectively.




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