Do you speak English?!

We’ve all been there. Slightly aghast at what has happened you wonder, “Am I speaking a foreign language?” No matter how clearly you think you’ve expressed yourself, how carefully you clarify the points of possible confusion and reiterated your key instructions, you can almost guarantee there will still be misunderstanding.

20150121 Communication

It can be frustrating, upsetting even, when having given clear instruction it feels as though you’ve been disregarded. Was the problem your directions, or perhaps with the person listening? The answer is probably “Yes”.

It’s likely the instructions were not as clear as you thought and perhaps little details were missing. It is likely that the way the message was delivered wasn’t perfect. It’s not just the words, but context, expression and tone that add to the meaning of what is said.

And words can have different meanings. To a Brit “I’ll do it now” means “right now” but to a South African it means something closer to “when I’m ready”.

So how does this impact on how we communicate on a day-to-day basis, particularly and most importantly with our spouse? How do we communicate our needs? How do we understand their needs and wants?

Many people now are familiar with The Five Love Languages. If my primary love-language is ‘receiving gifts’ and I continually express love to my wife with presents but her primary is ‘physical touch’, the gifts would mean little to her. She would feel unloved, even though I thought I was doing an amazing job of loving her. We’re just not speaking the same language.

No matter how well you think you’re doing at loving your spouse it is a good exercise to take a little time, sit down and ask “How loved do I make you feel?”

You may be doing a great job. Alternatively, a bit like having your car serviced, it’s better to find out that something needs fixing before it’s too late.

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