In a previous blog (Oct. 16.2020 POLITICAL CORRECTNESS IN ITS ABSURDITY) I wrote about fairy tales and the censorship of the same, how absurd that would be and how wrong. We grow up with beautiful stories and learn soon enough that there usually is no happily ever after for most of us. I do not want to sound disillusioned, quite the contrary. I am still a sucker for tacky romance, for grand gestures and a great believer in love.
I am also realistic enough to know why the fairy tales end when the princess and the prince fall into each others arms – no one wants to see the work that goes into a good and healthy realationship. No one wants to see the princess in her sweat pants, with bag lady hair and without make up, having gained several pounds, Or the prince, who has also gained weight and the six pack has turned into a one pack and he would rather spend the weekend on the couch than go out dancing or do something exciting with his princess.
I have written quite a lot about how to keep the fairy tale going in my blog series starting with a list of the “7 RULES FOR A HEALTHY RELATIONSHIP” in which I elaborated on each rule on how you can lead a healthy and respectful relationship. But of course there is a lot more to it and the key – yeah, I know how many times I have said it and will keep saying it – is good communication. Easier said than done though.
We all communicate differently and have our personal preferences. Especially today with the many channels that are available to us, it becomes more difficult than ever. Although I love to write and find great pleasure in my love for words, when it come to communicating about important things, especially when emotions are involved – and trust me, I can get very emotional – I absolutely prefer to speak in person. I have good reasons why that is my preference. Especially when you write through messengers, there are so many bumps you can come across. Let’s just take WhatsApp as an example- You write someone a message and due to the settings most people have, you can
a. see when they were last online
b. see when a message has been delivered (you see the two grey check marks)
c. see when a message has been read (you see the two green check marks)
The frustration begins when you see the person you wrote has been online but didn’t bother to read your message. This causes a feeling of being ignored, unwanted and even unwelcome. The frustration gets stronger when you see that person has finally read your message but won’t reply. As we all do not have a crystal ball and don’t know what is going on on the other end of the phone, the frustration reaches a level where you possibly lash out and write things that you will most likely regret very quickly. It doesn’t matter that the other person was possibly just very busy or wants time to think about a good reply you deserve. You are simply helpless.
But I wanted to tell you why I prefer to speak personally. It is actually quite simple. Communication to me is more than just words…
a. when you hear a persons voice it makes understanding so much easier – you can clarify misunderstandings immediately and alliviate and even avoid a lot of frustration. The intonation says so much and if you don’t just listen to someone but actually hear that person (something most of us struggle with and I am no exception) you learn so much more.
b. the facial expression of a person says so much – sometimes more than the actual spoken words. A real smile, sadness and perhaps even anger show in a face – so much better than emojis.
c. the body language is also essential. Similar to the facial expressions the body language says so much and is important for every communication.
Of yourse we can write, and the possibilities to communicate quickly are great but they do not replace – at least when it comes to really important topics – the personal conversation.
I do understand (took me a while) why for some people writing is the easier way to communicate and I believe there are several reasons for that
a. you can sort your thoughts, edit them and bring order into what you want to say. Not everyone is comfortable and can give ad hoc answers to possibly difficult questions (although it is always – or should be – alright to ask for time to give a reply to a certain topic, but don’t forget to voice that and don’t leavve the other person waiting when they don’t know what they are waitig for).
b. as you can edit what you write before sending, you can minimize the chances of regretting some of the things you put out there.
c. Some people prefer to write instead of talk though because they like to hide behind the safety of their phone or computer to not make themselves vulnerable.
So if you want to communicate with someone that has different needs from yours, help each other understand why and how you can find a compromise to suit both needs.
One possibility could be if one person prefers to write and the other to talk, that you start off by writing and then talk about what was written to ensure that you are both on the same page. Or if the talking person starts off, leaving a voice message that the other person can reply to in writing. Just get creative and find ways to make yourself heard while hearing (or reading) the other person as well. And sometimes a kind word, a gesture or even just a hug (even if it cannot be in person) can change someones world.
And to finish what I started off with….
Even if life isn’t always the beautiful fairy tale you might have dreamed of, remember to put in the effort and the work into every relationship that is important to you, the key being a good, open and respectful communication.
And whatever you do, don’t stop believing and loving fairy tales, but enjoy them for what they are; beautiful stories that (almost) always declare a happily ever after…