You're not good at *reading* people. (What does this have to do with this photo?….read til the end)
“THAT IS what you were saying."
I often hear some form of this when couples are revisiting a conflict they couldn't get through in the past week.
"That's NOT what I was saying!"
"Oh, YES it was. I'm good at reading people."
Nope. No you're not. Of course, I don't say this in the moment, I show them instead by dragging them through effective verbal communication about nonverbal communication.
WHY is communicating about nonverbal communication so important? First, some examples.
What if you’re at lunch with your friend talking about a particularly hard scenario you’re trying to navigate and you say, “Oh, gosh, this is a long story. Are you sure you have time?” And your friend says, “YES, OF COURSE!!!” but then proceeds to look at her watch every minute or so.
Which are you going to believe, her verbals or her nonverbals?
You come home to your partner slamming kitchen cabinets, and you ask, “Is everything ok?” And he/she responds, “FINE!”
You will, most likely, not believe the words.
We give more weight to nonverbal communication than we do to verbal communication, but there’s SO MUCH MORE ROOM to miscommunicate about nonverbal communication. Yet most of us don’t have the skills to check out our perception in the moment with a big question mark at the end and we fill in the blanks, assuming meaning, instead of getting clarity from the person expressing themselves.
“I’m interpreting the silence as judgment. Is that what it means?”
“I hear you say you’re fine, but it doesn’t seem like you’re fine.”
“Did that sigh mean you’re irritated with ME?”
I am constantly listening for how communication could be heard another way, checking out my perception of the communication (because I know the same sentence said in different ways can mean SEVERAL different things), and waiting until I get the all clear to respond in the form of AGREEMENT from the person I’m communicating with on what’s being said before I respond.
I NO LONGER assume I understand another person’s intent without checking It out. I’m highly trained in communication, have several letters after my name, and I will tell you I’m right about 50% of the time when I check out my understanding of what the other person is saying.
This will be even less if the rose-colored glasses you used to have for your partner have been replaced with poop-colored lenses after years of miscommunication….making miscommunicating even easier. Ugh.
This pic? Looks like we’re having a great time, right? Lots of fun? Maybe playing a game? Maybe just participating in some Mom-of-the-year type of behavior?
Nah. My new 12-year-old social media manager took my phone, told me to put my little one on my back and laugh. I thought, “This is ridiculous,” but did it anyway. And then she took THIS picture. Super AMAZING....and super fake.
Nonverbals are hard to read, should have known.
You deserve happy relationships,
PSSSTT - It’s SO EASY to miscommunicate and to slide down the slippery slope into a roommatey relationship. Check out my super relatable FREE Training for Busy Couples for lots more super do-able ways to get your relationship back on track.