By Salome Akpan
There exist communication difficulties with family and friends and that is why the majority of us believe that since we have spent a lot of time with our spouse, other family members or close friends, communication with them should be simple and effortless.
The way we typically think is along these lines: “My spouse, parents, siblings, or friends know me very well, so he or she should know what I am thinking and feeling, as well as what I mean. When people close to us misunderstand what we are saying, we are frequently surprised and annoyed. Although it’s tempting to place the blame elsewhere, the issue also originates from us.
Our relationships’ fundamental cornerstone is communication. We share our thoughts, feelings, and connection with one another through communication. Effective communication is essential for successful relationships, whether they involve a parent, child, spouse, or sibling. The key to a successful working family and friendship is communication.
Communication Difficulties With Family, Friends
In order to communicate with family and friends, you use more than just words; you also use language and actions. When communicating negatively or not at all, it can worsen situations as we grow older and even have an impact on our development as adults.
Because communication issues with our family and friends stem from a variety of different factors, communicating with people we know well is actually more difficult than communicating with people we hardly know at all.
First of all, the majority of people vastly underestimate their capacity for effective communication. We are frequently mistaken when we believe we have been understood. We don’t take the time to make sure our family and friends understand what we are saying because we assume they do.
There are numerous opportunities for misunderstanding because we speak with our friends and family frequently. Even if you speak to someone frequently, it doesn’t guarantee that they will always understand you. This is especially true if you don’t speak clearly and in a way that is appropriate for the situation.
Second, we have the propensity to believe that other people can see or understand what we know. It is frequently challenging to consider another person’s point of view while we are speaking due to the mental effort required to speak.
Communication difficulties with family
We fail to consider that not everyone is familiar with the topics we are discussing, even those who spend a lot of time with us. One such situation is when you believe your spouse will naturally follow your conversation because you both have a lot of similar experiences.
Your spouse can forget things, just like your friends can, so each time you want to remind them, there’s no need to beat around the bush. How many times have you said to your spouse, “I thought I told you this already”? Just be honest and communicate clearly.
Third, given how frequently we communicate with family and friends, there are times when our messages are subtly intended, whether they be ambiguous, sarcastic, or emotional. Unfortunately, it can be challenging to communicate nuanced messages. Our tendency to miscommunicate increases with the subtlety of the message.
And to make matters worse, the more subtly a message is delivered, the less likely it is that we will notice a communication error. If your best friend apologizes for being busy, for instance, and you reply, “It’s hard to be a good friend,” you might be saying anything from “You are not being a good friend” to “I understand that you have a lot going on right now.”. Or, depending on your intended message, you could be serious or sarcastic if you tell your spouse, “I’m happy to take care of it,”.
Combining the aforementioned elements, the most difficult circumstances involve telling our friends and loved ones new, subtle information. Even though you know that ambiguous and sarcastic words can occasionally be difficult to understand and interpreted to your perfect description, we frequently use short, ambiguous messages in these situations to imply that the other person already knows what we are talking about.
These “bad habits” in communication might be challenging to completely break, but by being conscious of our actions, we can err on the side of caution and assume that the messages we send are complex and likely to be misunderstood. Check-in with the other person frequently to make sure that she or he is actually receiving the message that you are trying to convey, especially during an argument or an emotionally charged discussion.
Most of the time, through our attitudes and reactions to situations, we unintentionally foster and introduce poor communication within the family. It’s possible to have poor family communication by yelling, harboring grudges, keeping secrets, blaming, giving silent treatment, using ultimatums or threats, labeling someone bad instead of their behavior, and causing harm. If these issues persist, it’s entirely possible that you won’t ever feel close to your family again.
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When children, adolescents, or young adults are growing up, the way parents talk to them or the way siblings interact can have a positive impact on how they develop. If negative emotions are still present and have never subsided, young people can also develop anxiety and depression. When children disrespect authority figures or engage in risky behaviors like substance abuse and criminal activity, they can also develop behavioral issues.
Poor communication can result in erroneous assumptions, the impression that you can read people’s minds, or a tendency to make snap judgments. Unnecessary worry, fear, and concern can arise when you don’t know what’s happening with members of your family, which can result in stress. Arguments will start up more frequently. You might feel uncomfortable talking to members of your family, and your self-esteem might drop.
If this disconnect persists, your family will be torn apart because no one will care about the other. It is advised to ask questions rather than assuming you know what someone is thinking or the course of action they want to take because you can’t read or understand someone else’s mind or get it 100% of the time. If you keep making assumptions, you’re likely to be wrong every time.
Spending time away from your busy schedule and talking with your family members is the best way to improve family communication. Make sure it is in a quiet place without any interruptions, such as the television or your phone. Inquire about the other person’s feelings while paying attention to what they are saying.
If you’re having trouble understanding, repeat what the other person says back to them. Give them a hug or a soft touch to demonstrate that you understand how they’re feeling. Saying that the person is being dramatic or wrong for feeling the way they do will not lessen their feelings. Otherwise, they won’t contact you again.
Speak to people how you would like to be spoken to. Maintaining that channel of communication is crucial if you want to have your family and friends in your life forever