I know, it’s a word that everyone knows, but is it a concept that everyone understands and uses well? Not really. I had (and still do) intend to write about words that aren’t commonly used in everyday speech, so people can learn something new. But “communication” has been on my mind a lot recently, so here we go.
: the act or process of using words, sounds, signs, or behaviors to express or exchange information or to express your ideas, thoughts, feelings, etc., to someone else
: a message that is given to someone : a letter, telephone call, etc.
First known use: 14th century.
I don’t know how it came up, but the other day, Addison (the girl I nanny) interrupted my reading of “The Three Little Wolves and the Big Bad Pig” (not a typo) to ask what “communicate” meant.
“It means talk to someone… or just let them know how you feel, in anyway you can, even if you can’t use words.”
She just stared at me. I wanted to make sure she understood that it wasn’t the same thing as just “talking” and that it was more general and overarching, but how do you explain that to a 4-year-old?
“Like… if you had a friend who couldn’t hear you, how would you tell him you want to be friends?”
“I’d get closer.” But, of course.
“What if no matter how close you got, he couldn’t hear you?”
“There are other ways to let someone know you want to be their friend that don’t use words. Can you think of anything?”
“A hug! Or a kiss!”
“Yeah! Or just a smile and a wave! Those are all different ways to communicate. Does that make sense?”
“Mmmm… no.” Well, maybe next time. She did, after all, only just learn how to identify a “pneumatic drill” after seeing it in the aforementioned story book 30 times. She was so proud of herself.
But back to “communication.” The other reason it’s been on my mind is that COMMUNICATION IS SO VITAL FOR A HEALTHY MARRIAGE. My word. For that matter, it’s incredibly vital to any relationship at all. Why do humans have such a hard time grasping the fact that, without communication, every relationship we have will continue to be needlessly difficult? Ladies, no one can read your mind, even someone to whom you’ve been married for 10+ years. Men, the same goes for you. The exact same. Please, everyone, no matter what stage of life you are experiencing, talk to the people in your life. Talk about your feelings. Tell people when they do something that bothers you. Well, if it would do any good. There’s a reason I don’t send a private message to a certain person every time I see her pointlessly attack someone on Facebook. I know she’s wrong and it infuriates me, but saying something to her would only result in my fearing for my life. Which is why she’s blocked now. But in all other situations, communication is the best! Face your fears and talk to people about issues that need to be resolves, because, trust me, it’s so much better than keeping it all in, because that never solved anything. If you trust someone, you’ll let them in. If you don’t let them in, they’ll think you don’t trust them, and why should they trust someone who doesn’t trust them? And without mutual trust, you can’t really have a meaningful relationship, can you?
Can you think of a time when communication solved a problem for you?