Life Coaching with Tereasa Jones - Navigate the World of Relationships

Life Coaching with Tereasa Jones - Navigate the World of Relationships

Tereasa Jones

Communication

Communication Connections

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Two twin little sister girls whisper in ear

Communication, Connections, & Relationships:

How to decode the mysteries of misunderstandings in your relationships

     Your communication style in relationships is the way you interact with other people.  If your style compliments the other person, the communication will probably be successful. If not, you will probably have problems communicating.

Many communication problems aren’t with the words we use, but with the tone and the way we string the words together. Sometimes it’s even body language or lack of it.

Most of us are blissfully unaware of the styles we use to connect with others. When our words don’t strike home we are often surprised and maybe even hurt. When we realize that we are misunderstood, we often say that we “just didn’t connect”. This failure to connect underlies most relationship problems. Without connection, relationships fall flat.

Some of us talk to think and others think to talk. In the first case, talking things out helps us come to conclusions.  In the second case, we listen to what is being said and  think before we respond.  Either way it is difficult for these two people to connect unless they understand what is going on.

The person who thinks to talk often feels flooded with all the chatter and the sheer quantity of words that the person who talks to thinks uses. On the other hand the person who talks to think is often offended at the slow response of the person who thinks to talk. His/her words are often measured and few. Either party might be offended or hurt just because they do not understand their roles in this communication.

Neither way is better. They are just different. You might have already guessed that most women fall into the talk to think category and most men fall into the think to talk category.  There are, however, plenty of role reversals with communication styles and it is best to evaluate each person’s style independent of any preconceptions.

Coaching Corner:

My daughters, daughter in law, and I are definitely the talk to think types, and my husband, son, and one son in law are definitely the think to talk type. My other son-in-law, I think might just be the talk to think type. It’s too early to tell about my grandchildren, but suffice it to say that my granddaughters and my grandson use a whole lot of words! As you might imagine communication issues in our household have been among the top issues we have dealt with. Fortunately we are all pretty well educated in communication (sometimes against the will of my children especially my son who once said “I wish you weren’t a therapist!”).

Even though we are all aware of these differences we still experience difficulties from time to time. One of the hardest things for me is when my son doesn’t share his thoughts, dreams, and intentions with me. Well, he says he does, I think he doesn’t. You see, he uses very few words. I have to admit that he may use very few words because I use so many! Either way, for the last few years I have had to learn to patiently wait for him to share. You’d have to ask him how he feels about my communication style (he hasn’t said).

The girls and I are doing better than we did when they were teenagers. I think they still think I say too much and I think I can’t get a word in edgewise with them, but all in all we are doing okay. My two sons-in-law and my daughter in law are fitting in well with the rest of us and we are all learning to communicate and respect each other’s style of communication.

I have discovered that all my children and their spouses have some pretty deep thoughts if I just be quiet long enough for them to say them! Ah, my husband, well he does a wonderful job of listening to me and encouraging the kids to listen to me. In fact, he might just be up for sainthood when it comes to all the listening he does. Sometimes I get frustrated with him for what seems to be lack of feedback to me, but now that I realize that he is just “thinking” so he can figure out how to respond, I don’t take it personally. We are all definitely works in progress, but the important thing is that we keep on learning and growing in our relationships with each other.

Coaching Challenge:

  • Try to determine which style every family member prefers.
  • Identify your own style.
  • Observe and record in your journal the styles of each family member and how your style and theirs either helps you connect, or disconnects you from them.
  • Talk with your family members about your discoveries. Ask them to work with you as all of you learn to respect the styles of the others.
  • Widen your circle to include extended family and then friends and co-workers. Do the steps above to determine their styles and deepen your understanding of them.
  • Have compassion for and patience with those who have styles different than your own.

Have fun with this exercise. Not everything has to be work! Learn to laugh at your own shortcomings in communications and encourage humor and tolerance when discussing the shortcomings of others.

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Unspoken Truths

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Man and woman sitting on a chair

 

 JUST STEP OVER IT

     Few things can be as harmful to relationships as unspoken truths. Unspoken truths are those things that are really bothersome to us that we refuse to share with those we love. I hear unspoken truths often as I work with my clients. The things “not” said. These things I have been trained to listen for, but what about those of you who are not trained to “hear” these unspoken truths?

The unspoken truth is often felt rather than heard.

The husband says to the wife, “I’m working late tonight. Don’t wait up”. She feels uneasy and thinks, “Why is he not telling me where he is going or why he will be so late?” But, fearing conflict, she just lets it go (steps over it). The next day she is distant with her husband because she is still uneasy about last night’s situation. He realizes that she is distant, but not wanting to “rock the boat” he remains silent (steps over it).

A mother is talking to her grown daughter on the phone and the daughter says something to offend the mother. The mother lets it pass (steps over it) because she wants to have a good relationship with the daughter. Several times the next day the mother remembers what the daughter said and feels hurt all over again. The next time that they talk the daughter can tell that her mother is distant. She “feels” the distance. She says nothing (steps over it), however, not wishing to start a discussion that might lead into an argument.

Can you see how these things can lead to disconnection between the people involved? Every time we “step over” the unspoken truth we put distance between ouselves and those we love.

By the same token, we need to be careful in situations that might cause injury to those relationships we hold dear. I am not suggesting that we “confront” each other. I am not suggesting that you become the “unspoken truth police” with constant reminders to speak the unspoken truth. I am simply suggesting that it would improve our relationships immensely if we would take the time to collect our thoughts and then go back and speak our truths. If we do this often enough, we become quite good at it and then we can often speak our truths on the spot without much thought. It is all a matter of training ourselves to notice the unspoken truth, we make a decision about how to deal with the unspoken truth, and then act on that decision. Relationships are not usually harmed by the truth, but they are often harmed when unspoken truths pile up and assumptions are made.

Coaching Corner

An unspoken truth occurred between me and someone I care about just the other night. She said something that hurt my feelings. I stepped over it, feeling that it would do little good to say anything about it at that time. Now I have a choice to make. Should I call her and tell her that my feelings are hurt, and clear the air, or should I remain silent knowing that the relationship will remain strained if I don’t speak up? It is a difficult decision. It is one that I have not yet decided how to handle. The thing to notice here is that I am deciding. I am intentionally deciding how to handle it. I will, in the next few days, make a decision and proceed with it. Is the relationship worth me “putting myself out there?” I don’t yet know, but I will tell you that I will follow the same steps that I am about to outline for you in the Coaching Challenge. You see, even the coach is hard at work on these suggestions. It makes your life more peaceful and purposeful. I promise!!!.

Coaching Challenge

  • Get your journal out.
  • Think of a person that is important to you and write their name at the top of the paper.
  • Examine your innermost thoughts and feelings about your relationship with this person. Are there unspoken truths between the two of you?
  • Write out any unspoken truths you thought of. These can be on your part or their part. Is there anything between you that needs to be cleared up?
  • What would your relationship be like with this person if you cleared up the unspoken truths?
  • What will it be like if you don’t?
  • Is the relationship worth it to you? If so, go forward and clear it up, if not…just know that there will remain a distance between the two of you and move on.

 

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