Simplify: Transparent Communication

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People make relationships so complicated. Whether its dating, friendships or family, we always find a way to complicate communication. If we were all honest with the people we love and trust, maybe life would be a little easier. I’m not the expert on relationships here. I complicate everything. I’ve contemplated this over and over again. Could it be because I’m a complex human being, or that I actually just think too much? Probably the latter.

While I do think each of us are individually and uniquely complex in our own ways, I believe most of our problems come from communication issues. Why is there social stigma about expressing how you feel? If you don’t like something, say it. If you do, express it. With the exception of feelings that can cause physical or emotional trauma to someone else, there is no reason to keep that from people you share a connection with.

I’m one of those crazy people that still believes in romance, faithfulness and soul mates. I don’t know how that’s possible. My parents don’t live a fairy tale life, my relationship status has never been functionally stable and I’ve yet to find a model couple to sustain my beliefs. Maybe Walt Disney really brainwashed me as a child. Who knows? I’m no princess and I’m not waiting for any man to sweep me off my feet. I learned a long time ago that we all need to be able to stand alone before we can commit to standing faithfully beside someone else.

So why is it that when we develop feelings for someone, we don’t talk about it? Courting has obviously gone out of fashion, but I’d still like to go on dates. If a man called me and asked if he could pick me up and take me to dinner and a movie, you might have to pinch me to see if I’m dreaming. That shit doesn’t happen anymore. I hear it used to all the time. I’m beginning to think it’s folklore. What happened to telephone calls, showing up with flowers and walking me to the door to kiss me goodnight…without coming inside? There’s no anticipation. Most men know they can get laid by just showing up. C’mon ladies. I know society has given us a shitty hand of cards, but we’re not making any good plays with them here. What happened to making them work for it?

There are always exceptions. So you meet someone and you become friends, and then it turns into more than friends. Maybe you were drunk. Maybe you were sober and let it slip. Maybe you both felt it. Maybe only one of you felt it. Whatever the situation, disasters could be averted if we could just COMMUNICATE. Stop with the nerves. If he likes you, great! If she doesn’t like you, oh well. There are other fish in the sea. And you know what? If you’re in any shape to be in a relationship to begin with, it shouldn’t shake you. Especially if you get that conversation out of the way in the beginning. It’s not that difficult. See below:

John: So, we’ve been hanging out a lot recently.Jane: Yeah, I really like your company.
John: So are you feeling what I’m feeling, or is this just platonic?

Who am I kidding here? I pegged the man in that scenario wanting to see where this was going. That may be the case if he hasn’t seen Jane’s panties. Sorry for the vulgarity, if you consider that remotely inappropriate or sexist, but for the most part it’s true. Ladies, again. Be a lady. Make him work for it. When the time is right, have that talk. What talk? Oh, right. Here’s a thing that has become taboo again. The sex talk.

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No, I’m not talking about your preteens when your mom and dad (or your health class, if your parents had a lack of communication skills) sat you down to talk about puberty, your privates and the forbidden… SEX. Yes, I felt the need to shout it. Why is it taboo to talk about sex? Most importantly, why is it taboo to talk about what having sex will mean for your relationship with your partner? It should be as simple as five yes or no questions.

1) Do you find me attractive?
2) Do you care about me as more than a friend?
3) Are you ready to take that next step?
4) Do you want this to mean something?
5) Will this make our relationship better?

If both of you are on the same page, it’ll be a good night. If not, take it with a grain of salt and count your blessings. At least you didn’t have this conversation the morning after, or worse… the second or third morning after. Because we all know, that’s when sex gets messy… and not in the good way. Don’t end up with shattered self esteem and a broken heart. Save yourself the hurt and just talk about it. Or end up like Gotye… Your choice.

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Friendships work off the same communication model, but seem to have similar malfunctions. While it may not be as complex as my five-step “Are We On the Same Page” relationship program, friends can get into fights that never get resolved. Just because one person decides their feelings are kept safer inside their own head than out in the open where the issue can be resolved. Stop complicating things. If you love your friends, you should be able to talk about it. You should be able to tell them what’s on your mind. My best friends have seen me at my worst and at my best. That’s the beauty of friendship… It gets you through the hard stuff.

If you have an issue, just talk about it. If you care more about the drama the problem creates than you do about fixing it, you probably didn’t care much about the friendship to begin with. Think that’s harsh? Well, don’t ruin your friendships for a drama high. I’ve lost several good friends to poor communication, and as much as I’ve tried to fix those problems, there’s too much pain there for them to revisit. Whether you were in the wrong or not, it never hurts to apologize… at least for the way that they are feeling about you. If you had anything to do to contribute to that emotion, a well thought out apology may help… along with time.

The communication with family is something I have yet to master. I think it’s because you have to first understand your loved ones before properly communicating with them. I’ve yet to fully comprehend their way of thinking, but not due to lack of trying. Everyone experiences the generation gap. That could nearly kill you if you have parents stuck in the 60s and 70s. It’s amazing how much can change in 50 years! Normally I would recommend transparency in all of your relationships, but here I’ll let you use your best judgment. Everyone has issues with their families. And unfortunately, I have no advice on how to handle your family, so you’re on your own there. Never fret, though. If we’re alone in this, at least we’re alone in it together.

With all of that said, all of our relationships could be so much easier if we were just open and honest about who we are, what we need and how we feel. I am the worst when it comes to over analyzing and over thinking every minute detail of my interaction with others. But the thing I’ve learned through my years of over analyzing every little thing is that you can destroy perfectly functional relationships by over thinking, but you will never destroy something real by being yourself. And if that advice blows up in your face (which it might because let’s be honest… some people just suck), it wasn’t worth your time anyway. I promise. Been there, done that. Don’t sell yourself short.

Every individual is beautiful in their own way. If your relationships don’t grow you, find ones that do. You have every right to be loved, if you are giving love in return.

That’s my pep talk for the day.

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