This week, we are discussing the different ways you can work on avoiding communication traps, whether you are the speaker or the listener in communication. Today, we will finish up with the following tips for communication when you are the receiver of communication or feedback from others. 23. Discuss the feedback you are receiving from another person. Don't just say "thank you" and let it drop.
24. View feedback as a continuing exploration. It's important to be open-ended with communication and be willing to explore what someone is telling you-- asking for more information can create more intimacy in your relationship if it's done the right way.
25. Indicate what you intend to do with the person's feedback to you. You can accept it, reject it, or take time to think about it, but either way, let them know your thoughts. Many times it's helpful to think about their feedback and respond 24 hours later, letting them know you need a chance to think about what they have shared. Not reacting immediately allows you to process what you have just heard, and to give a genuine response.
26. Watch out for becoming defensive. When working with couples (and individuals), I tell them that if you could picture words as objects, defensiveness is like someone handing you their words and you immediately throwing them back at the sender. Defensiveness doesn't allow you to "sit" with the other person's thoughts, so you generally won't get anywhere productive!
27. Try to avoid getting mad, seeking revenge, ignoring what is said or the person saying it. Think about what it feels like to be on the receiving end of having someone do this to you... it doesn't feel very good, does it? You are more likely to be "heard" if you avoid doing these things. Plus, it creates a safer environment for sharing.
28. Don't look for motives or hidden meaning. No one likes their communication to be under a microscope, or having everything they share being sorted through with a fine-toothed comb. Take what the person says for face value and...
29. Ask for clarification when needed instead of assuming hidden meaning.
30. Think about what the person is sharing with you, and try to build upon it.
These tips will hopefully spark some introspective thought for how you communicate with others, whether you are listening or sharing. We hope they have been helpful. As always, thank you for joining us this week! Check back next week, where we will be discussing the role of toxic and healthy secrets in relationships.
Joleen Watson, MS, NCC, is a therapist at Imagine Hope Counseling Group. She enjoys doing marriage counseling, relationship counseling, couples counseling, and individual counseling. Imagine Hope also specializes in family, child and adolescent counseling and serves Indianapolis area including the surrounding areas of Carmel, Noblesville, Zionsville, Westfield, and Fishers.