The struggle is definitely really ladies. I know, because I have seen it creep into the conversations I have with my closest friends, clients, and even in the whispers of a coffee shop. As women, we are finding it difficult to communicate. We discuss the annoyance of one word answers, receiving the silent treatment of friends, or even the heated disagreements shared between significant others. What’s the deal? Why is the art of conversation so difficult when it could be such a gift?
Think of it this way, if we could learn to communicate more effectively with one another, we would have the gift of understanding (not necessarily agreeing), of listening and our words being received, and a place to move forward from. Add to this the nuances of learning new ideas, exchanging experiences, and being fully immersed in a single moment of conversation; and it makes me wonder why some find themselves trudging through the process of conversation as if they were marching into war. What gives?
The realization of this struggle among women made me think about my own conversations. What makes me drawn to a conversation, what makes the communication shared between my husband and I successful, and what do I appreciate about the people who communicate well? What is this art of conversation and how do we embrace it?
Then it occurred to me-
My husband and I communicate about communicating; this is what makes our conversation feel more like an art and less like pulling teeth. Let me explain.
Black-and-White Conversationalist (The Concise)
My husband is a black-and-white kind of guy. He likes to give an answer clear and concisely in order to provide a solution, voice an opinion, and give direction. Not a bad quality to have as the man of the household. If your husband possesses this quality, respect that he wants to be clear and concise, not fuzzy, with his answer. We could use more of the “let your yes be your yes, and your no be your no” mentality today.
Colorful Conversationalist (The Expansive)
I, on the other hand, love a deep conversation. I like the color in a conversation that threads in between the black and the white. I want to know the “why’s”, share all the stories of the day, and explore an experience fully through words. Just like the black-and-white conversationalist has their strengths, the colorful has perks as well.
However, when you get a concise and an expansive type together, the conversation may lead to frustration if you do not recognize the value in each.
Communicate about Communicating
My husband and I have found the trick to communicating well with one another is the simple idea of understanding why we communicate and the value it holds for each of us. If I mention a thought I was mulling over throughout the day, Tanner might respond with an “I can see that,” or a “Yes, I agree,” or even a simple “Let’s do that”. If I was expecting an exploratory conversation- you know, those ones where you share a glass of wine, enjoy a few appetizers, and watch the sunset on the patio kind of conversation- his short answer responses may be a bit frustrating at first. However, being the expansive communicator, it is my job to speak up. When I want a deeper conversation, all I have to communicate is “I want to create a conversation. I want to explore this idea with you.” This lets my husband know I appreciate his response, but also gives him the signal that I simply want to explore it further FOR FUN.
I want to embrace a passion of mine- the art of conversation- with him, just as I might want to visit a museum, take a walk, or watch him play billiards. The conversation, for me, is the activity.
My husband knows this about me; I enjoy a good conversation, but he would not know this if I did not communicate it. If you find yourself talking with someone who has a different conversation style than you, simply talk about that simple fact, and what it would mean to you to have the type of conversation you would like to have. Often, it is about acknowledging the value you place on conversation for you to have a truly beneficial and positive experience with communication.
This is just one situation in the world of communication. Whenever you bring two different conversation types together, how the conversation takes shape will be unique to the people entering into it. The takeaway is whether you need more or less from a conversation, communicate it; and be willing to listen to what makes a conversation meaningful for the person on the other end. With respect, compromise, and appreciating the value of the art of conversation for everyone involved; you will be well on your way to embracing the conversation well.
Enjoy the art of conversation lovely lady. It can truly be a beautiful experience.