Misunderstandings in Relationships

Misunderstandings as a function of not listening

June 30, 2020

As leaders and coaches, we often hear about relationships that are not going well. We mostly hear two reasons for the situation – (1) a lack of communication and (2) misunderstandings – together with assigning blame for those two things.

When we hear about a lack of communication, we generally find that a lot of communication is happening – both verbal and non-verbal. In our view, a “lack of communication” is a euphemism for “he/she is not saying what I want to hear” or “he/she is not doing what I want him/her to do.” And that is called “a lack of communication.” 

Check it out and see if that fits in your own experience.

Also, over the years we’ve observed that misunderstandings are a function of not listening – especially when what another is saying [or doing] does not fit with what the listener wants them to say or do.

By default, for most of us, most of the time, our first concern is for ourselves – and sometimes extensions of ourselves called our children. Given that our attention is on ourselves, we become attached to what we want to do and have, and to what we want others to say and do

Often we have little interest in providing – or even knowing – what the other wants, especially if it seems that it might be contrary to what we want. We are very often quite inconsiderate of others and what they are dealing with in their lives. We’re not much interested in supporting them in resolving what they are dealing with – especially if it doesn’t fit within our own wants. 

The access to understanding and communication is listening – with an intention to “get into their world” or as close to being in their world as you can get. When you engage in that kind of listening it’s possible for a third world to emerge – an “our world.” In our experience, having an “our world,” along with the two my worlds we all start with, is intriguing, fun and fulfilling.

With our love,

Sandy&Lon

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