Communication isn’t an easy thing for humans.
In some ways, it’s one of our favorite things to do.
When we communicate, we interface with others.
And through interfacing with others, we get to be a part of something greater than ourselves.
We become a member of the social human collective. We become a part of the tribe, family, circle, or community.
And these are all good things.
In some ways, we’re the most communicative species on the planet.
This is especially true in the digital age.
We can talk, text, email, video chat, tag each other on social media, etc.
And yet, sometimes, communication still doesn’t happen very efficiently.
And what can be done when it just doesn’t seem to flow?
Not too long ago, I had a conversation with someone who was talking to a guy she met on a dating app. She was incredibly attracted to him. When they hung out together, it felt magical.
However, when they tried to communicate about anything serious pertaining to the relationship, especially via text, things just seemed to get weird.
She showed me the text messages. And as an outsider with very little context about the conversation aside from just what I saw in the texts, I got the distinct feeling that there was a lot more going on under the surface than was evident in the messages themselves.
But of course, obviously, that’s going to be the case.
There’s always more to it than just what we say.
So let’s dive into it and talk about why this happens, and how you can handle it when it does.
Most Communication Is Non-Verbal
Did you know that only 7% of communication is consists of the words we speak?
The rest is made up of a bunch of other things.
Body language, posture, voice inflection, eye contact, etc.
Needless to say, a lot of that gets lost via text message.
But what do you do when communication is just breaking down?
And what do you do when you’re not sure how to fix it?
Or perhaps even more importantly:
Is there ever a time to just walk away from a dating situation if the communication just isn’t working?
These are all really important and difficult questions. But let’s talk about the stuff that matters for a minute.
Attraction Should Be Effortless
In my work, and with everything I’ve learned through coaching, writing, researching, and also my own dating experiences, I’ve come to learn that real mutual attraction is effortless.
If it’s real, and if two people have enough attraction for each other, they’re going to gravitate toward one another.
This mechanism serves as the nucleus in the ‘process’ of human mating behavior.
The grand, beautiful human mating dance is all built upon the desire that we feel when we set eyes upon another person who registers is highly attractive in our mind and to our senses.
This is very instinctual.
It’s that feeling you get when you’re so attracted to someone that you’ll move heaven and earth to try to be close to them.
It’s a very powerful mechanism.
Trust me when I say that you can’t book-smart your way into love.
It just doesn’t work that way.
So to a point, you need this mutual attraction for anything to work.
This is, in fact, why as a dating coach, my method always begins with identifying your high and low value attraction markers, and working to increase your high value markers so that you become a more attractive ‘product’ on the dating marketplace.
Communication Doesn’t Always Tell You What You Need To Know
Now, communication (and by communication in this specific context, I mean the spoken words) is interesting because it doesn’t always convey the truth.
I often say don’t listen to what people say, watch how they behave.
People can say anything—but their behavior won’t lie.
Communication Can Also Get ‘Jumbled’ For Many Different Reasons
- Sometimes, communication gets jumbled because the humans involved in it are in different places in life.
- Sometimes it gets jumbled because there are different value systems at play.
- Sometimes it gets jumbled because the individual desires are pulling in different directions.
But more often than not, communication (especially in a dating context) tends to break down when at least one of the people involved doesn’t put as much effort into it as the other person.
When we desire effective communication over everything else (or perhaps more pointedly, when you desire to ‘make it work’ with that certain someone and are determined to do your best) it tends to be more likely to happen.
But both people must desire it to this same level in order for it to work. And by ‘desire,’ I mean be willing to put in the work necessary to make it happen.
How To Deal With Communication Breakdowns
When you reduce it all down, what I’m saying is this:
I think that a breakdown in communication could be an indicator of many things. But at the end of the day, it’s always an indication of some kind of problem.
Figuring out exactly what the problem is isn’t always so easy.
But where troubled communication happens, troubled behavior is usually not lurking far behind.
It would be irresponsible of me to say that communication is simple for everyone.
Sure, you can do all of the ‘normal’ things to try to make it work:
- You can strive to be kind, empathetic, and understanding.
- You can listen to the other person, and you can try to articulate your own points with clarity and accuracy.
- If you reach a point where you’re not understanding each other, you can backpedal just a little bit and you go over it again, in an effort to make it more understandable—and thus, attempt to overcome the misunderstanding.
But it’s not always that simple.
And it’s not always that easy.
And sometimes, we’re left to deal with it anyway… in the best of times, and at the worst of times.
And so, to those who struggle with feeling like communication is difficult, I think the best piece of advice is this:
- Don’t be afraid to be vulnerable, and don’t be afraid to try to make it work.
- Try your best to understand the person standing across from you.
- Speak your truth with empathy and strength, and be as straightforward as you can be.
But if these things aren’t enough, then it’s highly likely that you’d be better suited to just moving on and trying to communicate with somebody different.
This isn’t to say that either one of you is wrong; though sometimes, someone will obviously have to be wrong.
This is just to say that sometimes the fear of letting go of someone (particularly a potential dating partner) with whom you’re struggling to communicate with does a lot more damage than good.
Sometimes, you just have to let go, move on, continue to level up, and become a better person—and look for that person with whom you do feel that effortless attraction, especially as it manifests in your communication with that person.
That’s all I have for this one.
Just do your best, and don’t be afraid to walk away if it just isn’t working.
If you find that you often struggle to communicate, you may need to work on yourself.
Study communication by reading good books. I recommend the book How To Win Friends And Influence People by Dale Carnegie.
But at the end of the day, communication just isn’t going to work with everyone. And that’s 100% ok and normal.
Go with grace, my friends, and never give up your power.
Until next time…
Joshua K. Sigafus