Relationships have always fascinated me. Why do some couples always fight about every-little-thing while others seems to have a very good understanding of one another? What keeps one couple from flying off the handle when hearing bad news while another couple is ready to rip each other apart?
Part of the answer to this, I think, is that we live in a world where everyone wants to talk and no one wants to listen. Everyone is trying to get their two cents in at exactly same time as everyone else. Which brings up a very interesting point. The world likes listeners.
Maybe it’s because in this highly addictive world of Twittering, facebooking, Google Plusing, and blogging everything that happens to you, we have forgotten how to listen to and console each other. Just by listening to what someone has to stay you are gaining that person’s trust and friendship. This puts you, the listener, is a position of importance to the people who are talking to you.
So, why do some couples in a relationship struggle and fight with each other while others, seemingly fewer, thrive and communicate better? I believe a majority of the blame for this kind of behavior can be placed on the media. Movies that are romantic comedies, books that are about love and life. These forms of entertainment have to have some kind of conflict built into them otherwise the movie or book would not be very long at all. Movie studios and book publishing companies would collapse and life as we know it would come to an end.
Have you ever watched a movie where the two main characters, who are in love with each other, over react to a situation or do something completely stupid that jeopardise their relationship? When that happens do you ever think to yourself; That is not how I would have handled that at all? I hate when that happens in a movie or a book. Nothing pulls me out of story more then when the characters do something so out of character. I think it is this kind of media. This kind of over reaction that happens in movies and books that affects us as a society and bleeds into our everyday lives causing us, a generally understanding and calm people, to overreact when similar issues arise in our private lives.
So how do we become an understanding and caring people again? How do we not fly off the handle the next time someone close to us tells us some bad news? I think the answer goes back to what I said earlier about listening. Listening is the key.
You have to teach yourself to listen. You can do this in small steps too. Lets say that tomorrow when you go out to lunch with your friends you are going just listen to what they say. How their day is going? How’s their job treating them? How’s the wife and kids? Whatever they want to talk about, go with them. Let them guide the conversation. If there is a lull in the conversation ask them questions based on what they have been talking about. But do try this selfless act. You’re going to learn a lot about your friends and what they go through. Who knows? You might even have some insight for them that would improve their life greatly. But the key here is to learn to listen and to ask questions that keeps your friends engaged. In their eyes you are going to become a very important and understanding person.
Next, how do you not overreact when you are in a relationship and your partner just gave you some disturbing news? Well, I think what you have to do is breath and listen to all that they have to say. Take in everything. Your partner is, in a way, exposed at this point so any lashed out retort on your part is going to only make the situation worse. I think the key here is take it all in. Don’t be like the characters in a movie or a book. Take in the information you are being told and process it. This may mean taking a day or more to yourself to do that. But do it so that when you do replay you are a rational and calm human being about it.
Look, I don’t claim to be a psychologist or to understand human behaviors or reaction. This post is a result of my own personal fascination of relationships and my observations of the world around which I live.