We have more ways to connect, yet we are more disconnected than ever. Advancing technology rapidly multiplies our ways to “reach out and touch someone.” But more ways to connect doesn’t translate into more personal communication.
How many of your social media “friends” do you know well enough to have a deep conversation on Facebook? We may be more socially networked than ever before, but I don’t think these mediums are where personal connections are made.
I think we have lost our way in the vast sea of ways to communicate. We focus more on convenience, speed, and quantity. Yet we are missing out on quality. I am not anti-technology. I love a quickie text but nothing compares to face-to-face time with my best buds or loved ones.
Would you like to have more meaningful interactions with your loved one? Spend less energy looking for more avenues to communicate. Instead focus more energy on how you communicate and what you talk about.
Self-Check Your Personal Communication Skills:
Use these questions to check in with yourself. Let your awareness be your guide as you grow yourself in order to grow your connections.
- Do you share more personal information through texting/emailing/social media than face-to-face?
- Do you do most of the talking?
- Do you share every feeling you have?
- Do you keep most things to yourself because you are cautious to share personal information?
- Do you share more about what others are doing than you do about yourself?
- Do you give unsolicited advice?
- Do you pressure others to talk or look you in the eye?
If you answer yes to one or more of these questions, then your communication style may be a barrier to more intimate interactions. You can grow your connections by changing how and what you talk about.
Grow Personal and Meaningful Communication:
While each of us may define personal communication differently, I think these tips will help you navigate the sea of communication possibilities.
1. Connect One-on-One: It’s hard to communicate personally in a large group of people, even at family gatherings. Our attention floats from one person to another but never settles on any person. So our most personal communication occurs when we have private, one-on-one time with our significant other. Think about how you can clear space in order to have one-on-one time with your spouse.
2. Be Face-to-Face: There are many ways to communicate one-on-one that use technology. Interact face-to-face at least as much as you do with technology. When you rely heavily on texting or typing to communicate, it’s easier to say things without thinking. Seeing each others face or hearing each others voice is much more intimate than reading their words.
3. Share Yourself: Think about the topics you share with your spouse. Do you talk mostly about running the house or your annoying coworker? While communication about tasks is vital to co-leading a household, it doesn’t do much for intimacy. Expand what you share to include something personal about yourself. Tell your spouse about you – how your day impacts you, what you appreciate, what excites or stresses you.
4. Listen with Open Curiosity: Balance telling with listening. But listen without pressuring the other to talk. Instead be curious and respectful. Well intended pressure quickly builds a wall instead of a bridge to communication. And remember that not all communication is verbal. Sometimes the best way to listen is to be attentive and completely present.
Grow your connection by growing your own intimacy. When you work on your part, you build a bridge for more intimate and meaningful interactions with your loved one.
What can you do today to give more personal communication to your loved one?
Want more ideas, inspiration, and resources for growing confidence and connections? Follow me on Twitter @marcipayne
Photo credit: “Iced Tea” by Ed Yourdon