The communication of non-communication; building a reputation of trust and respect


This month has been special. For a month dedicated to sharing about unconditional love, it has truly been a trying one for me.

I find it interesting that sometimes the advise we give to others are just laid out for us to critically review and receive for ourselves.

I am of the opinion that the five love languages are not exhaustive and I personally believe that every person appreciates each of the five love languages to a certain extent- I am open to dialoging on this. Most people will agree that communication is a central part of any type of relationship. Yet, effective communication does not make it on the list of love languages. From the most superficial to the deepest relationships I have witnessed, communication seems to be the main determinant of sustenance or durability. Try following an abusive thread on twitter; by observing someone’s communication style, it is hard not to quantify an amount of respect or trust! There are certain accounts you just know for sure you will not follow- and these are sometimes people you barely know.

Also, no one really educates you about the communication of non-communication; the ‘silence treatment’. Wikipedia defines this as the refusal to communicate verbally or electronically with someone who is willing to communicate. Wiki suggests that this may be a passive-aggressive behavior in the form of emotional abuse, which may be used to communicate disapproval, displeasure or contempt (1). Clinically, it has been identified as a form of manipulative punishment (2).

For someone as expressive and blunt as myself, I have often wondered and I still wonder till date, what positive motif one could have when offering the silence treatment and here, I am not referring to situations where you need to cut communications with a stalker or an abusive person. Here, I am referring to people you meet in your life every other day or maybe everyday as acquantainces or friends. I am also referring to the simplest form of non-communication like ‘hey, I will get back to you- which we all know will never happen’ to literally ghosting (a modern dating term that makes me wonder why I was born into this generation). 

Why is effective communication important?

  • It shows how much you value yourself and your time; You’d be surprised how your actions speak more about you than the person you intend to affect. 
  • It could potentially reflect on your time-management skills and your priorities; I never use the excuse “I was busy or I am busy” not because I do not have a number of things on my plate, but because everybody is technically busy. Choosing to relax for 1 hour technically makes someone busy, as this is an intentional commitment to oneself to rest. Even not choosing to do something is a choice to do nothing(which is something I would personally struggle with). But my point is, communicating and developing the attitude of responding to people truthfully goes a long way to harness relationships positively.
  • It shows one’s level of maturity; Saying ‘no’ is something  you learn. I believe that phase in life is a direct reflection of one’s competing priorities. Having no competing priorities implies not exposing oneself to the diversity around himself/herself (hopefully, that diversity even exists and is perceived. I believe it is never too late to create one and we can delve into why diversity is important if y’all want to discuss it).
  • You build a reputation of trust and respect; I cannot tell you how many times I have admired and gained so much respect for people who have been able to stand their ground to say ‘NO’; 1. No, I am sorry, I really would have loved to but I can not. 2. No, I have prior engagements 3. No, I am sorry if you misread my actions, etc.. 

This is the beauty of communication- it establishes intent. Have you ever wanted closure for anything that happened abruptly in your life? The power of closure should not be underestimated and do not deprive others of it

References:

  1. The “silent treatment”. Its incidence and impact. Paper presented at the sixty-ninth Annual Midwestern Psychological Association, Chicago, IL. Ferguson, M., and .. 1997
  2. Kipling D. Williams Wendelyn J. Shore Jon E. Grahe. The silent treatment: Perceptions of its behaviors and associated feelings – Group Processes Intergroup Relations October 1998 vol. 1 no. 2 117–141

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