Are We Really In Touch? How to Enhance Communications

How to be in touch - communication

Take this a step further: What about experiencing the sensation of being understood, when you felt empathy from someone?  Rare?  I’d say so.

Many people are resigned to the fact that not being heard or understood is commonplace.  I read an article addressing the rise in teenage suicide.  I had the thought that if more of these young people had actually been heard, or better yet – understood, it might have made a big difference in their lives.

This is a serious supposition I admit, but I also know the art of listening, and communication in general, is disappearing.  Our lives have become fast-paced and technology-filled.  I’ve heard many people comment that although technology keeps them in touch with so many people, they rarely have meaningful conversations.

Our world has become on-the-go, with most interactions happening through brief communications over electronic devices.  This can get confusing.  Phone calls are made while doing other things like driving home from work or shopping causing our attention to become divided.  Let’s not mention texting – often misinterpreted – “Did he mean this?” “Why did she write it that way?” Too confusing, too hard.

Electronics, social media, texting all have their place, but if this is all we do – then there’s a huge part that has gone missing: Face to face interaction.  Human contact and communication need to be reunited at some point.  Are we really in touch?

Listening effects many areas of our life.  A neighbor of mine was on a trip to Italy with her sister when their mother passed away.  She felt guilty for not being with her and was grieving heavily.  She shared that her guilt was the worst part of it all.  I must admit, I was flabbergasted and dumbfounded when she told me her doctor put her on antidepressants.  She’s not depressed – she’s grieving.  Did the doctor not hear her when she said her mother just died?  Is this what we get now – a pill instead of an ear and a referral for grief counseling?

When a genuine opportunity for human communication presents itself, we:

  • tend to listen with our busy, cluttered minds
  • believe we already know what the person is going to say
  • have our response formulated – while they are still talking
  • listen with fearful hearts – for the proverbial bomb to drop

Few people are listening and available with quiet minds and open hearts.  How do we put a pause on our busy lives?  It could mean massive changes are needed.

Let’s have an honest look at our lives then . . .

Many of us are being pushed to our max.  Life is tough at the best of times.  Our minds are assaulted with negative programming, people are being divided, we’re being treated as slaves at our jobs, trying to make ends meet, and our emotions (if we can feel them) are all over the place.  Many of us are asking if it’s even safe to let our children outside.  Life as a human being is very challenging – we’re being pushed and pulled, stressed, controlled and manipulated left and right.

And then . . . someone wants to talk . . .

  • I need to get dinner going.
  • Oh no, not her again, so many problems.
  • I’ve got to get the kids in a half an hour.
  • My to-do list is waiting for me.
  • I don’t have time.
  • I can’t take another interruption.

Yes, this may be true, but what about the cost of not listening . . . to our children, or to a spouse or friend, to yourself?  Being open and available allows you to sense if something is off with a loved one or even within yourself.  It takes work, time, patience and discipline – but it could literally save a life.

Not listening in the moment can cost us lots of time and stress later.  Problems and unwelcome circumstances can be averted if we only stop and listen.  Make this a priority, you do have the time.

And if you truly don’t have the time in that moment – be honest and say so.  Most people will welcome your honesty and respect you for being truthful.  I appreciate it when someone is honest with me as opposed to only half-listening.  I can feel the difference and know you can too.

“I’m very sorry but I can’t give you all my full attention right now, can we talk later?

This will continue until you say: Stop – enough!  You must literally say STOP for you to have some peace in your life.  That is step 1.  Breathing is step 2.  You may even shed a few tears when you find a quiet moment for yourself.  That’s ok.  Time to get your Self back with an open mind and open heart.  Stand in silence, if only for a few seconds, listening to your heart beating.  Take stock, be honest – Is this the life you really want?  If not, put out an intention for what you do want.

Listening is a very important asset, as is speaking from your heart.  If you want to say something, but are struggling with how to communicate, grab your closest friend and tell him or her: I have something I need to say, but unsure of how to say it.  Can you listen to me and help?  This frames the conversation and hopefully sets up a safe space for which to speak, and with all probability – you will be heard and understood.

Another important thing to consider – communication is a two-way street.  When it’s your turn to speak, make sure you have your listener’s full attention before communicating.  It’s your responsibility to ensure that you’re being heard.  Speaking to someone in the kitchen from the upstairs bathroom isn’t a way to be heard.  If you want to be heard, you must set the stage.  Turn off electronic devices, minimize distractions and sit comfortably.  Your conversation has a greater chance of being successful.  And in turn, be available to someone else when needed.  Remember, no one can read your mind.

Things to ponder:

  • Think of some ways you can approach communication ensuring each person will be heard.
  • Is there something you need to say that you really need someone to hear?  How can you make this happen?
  • Visualize a situation when you’re approached by someone who needs to talk. How can this situation be a win-win?
  • Are there ways you can create more space for personal communication?

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12 thoughts on “Are We Really In Touch? How to Enhance Communications

  1. So, so many good points you make here Donna. an Excellent piece of writing and thoughts my friend. Yes we have been pushed to the Max.. and this post could have been written for today not in 2018.. As we know suicides are still up even more and people are wanting quick fixes, and haven’t the time to listen to others.. Yet they want others to listen to them..
    Technology has is good points and Negative ones and I have to escape it myself every now and again..
    So enjoying reading your wisdom in words Donna..
    Sending Love and Blessings for 2022… May we all get more deeply in touch with ourselves..
    Much Love Sue ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Sue! Happy New Year blessings to you too! I really appreciate your comment, thank you. Yes, it’s a tragedy about suicides. People are on the fast track of life, with little time to spend with others. There are loads of symptoms and signs showing us we need to slow down and spend more time with each other face-to-face. But, will we listen? All to be seen. We do what we can to help each other become aware of these issues. Take care – sending love and hugs! Donna

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  2. Nice to read this article. Fully agree with u that technology has made it as every body even if no busy pose to busy.
    I read what Amyhas written about doctor. It happened to me also here in Canada. Last year in May I was with my dog on evening walk I fell down had could not make what happened .For a second I saw darkness in my eyes. I reached my home told my daughter in law she immediately rang emmerdgency.Went there had a scan sitting for five to six hours. The duty doctor told there seems to no problem in scan but he referred me to Neurologist.After a week I went to Neurologist he saw scan asked me few question Iwas replying but he was reading .He asked MRI but also prescribed me Stroids for six months without waiting MRI Without listening to me when I had MRI report after two weeks it was alright .I took the medicine given by Himuda to which my blood sugar increased.Then he stoped the steroids but it all happened due to his not properly listening .

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Raj, thanks for your comment! Sorry to hear about your ordeal. Wow, your story is very similar to Amy’s. It’s amazing to me that these doctor’s will hand out powerful prescription drugs (steroids for 6 months???) without even listening to the patient, doing a basic assessment or waiting for scan results. It’s what we’re left with – how does that make you feel? Certainly not valued or respected. I suppose what’s next is that we have to demand to be heard and treated with respect – like saying to the doctor – “Hey you! I’m over here! Please pay attention!” Hope you are healing well! Thanks again for stopping by! Take care! Donna

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  3. Donna, I could write a book on the experiences I’ve had lately about listening. Where to start? People are not listening and that is because they are so busy with technology that the listening part of their brain to hear VERBAL conversation is atrophying. In other words, it is not being used. I have a sister who will not pick up the phone unless God tells her to. (sorry sis!) I’ve had conversations where I’m trying to explain myself but before I can get to the second sentence I am being talked over. Someone asked me a question the other day and as I was attempting to answer this person turned and began to talk to someone else. I talk with thought, I pause, reflect, I like to explain fully and not in shorthand. And those Heart to Heart conversations … OH MY GOSH I treasure those then anything else. When they happen I am lifted so high. I used to have those all the time! I didn’t know what a good thing I had when I had it. I LOVE sit-down face to face conversations that flow back and forth. Those are fast disappearing. No one it appears wants to listen anymore but do want to go on and on and on non-stop about themselves. Powerful post, dear friend. And right on!!!👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼

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    1. I forgot another instance and this one you will get a laugh. At my GP’s appt. with a doctor I was meeting for the first time, I mentioned what a horrible time I’ve been having with allergies. I described to her ONE of the things that has been happening and that is very painful herpes like blisters on my face …. my eyes and mouth. Extremely painful! She heard “herpes” and next thing I know she wants to know if I want to get tested for an STD. I laughed SO hard I couldn’t stop and when I managed to get my breath I told her how many years I have not had sex (a lot!) and that it is impossible for me to have an STD. She was so uncomfortable (DUH!) she just looked at her computer. Here I am married for one ( I know that doesn’t mean much to some), I’m over 60 years old, and I’m a “mature” woman past menopause. IF you don’t know, the sex urge decreases once menopause hits. At least it did me. Geesh. I’m giving out some pretty personal info here and you know what? I don’t care! LOL *A little blushing going on*

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      1. Oh my Gosh – makes me laugh, but really . . . what an idiotic doctor!!! Not listening was she and jumped the gun just a bit? Oh well, that’s what it’s like now-a-days. Why she jumped straight to STD’s – really is hard to believe. It’s a damn shame yet not listening to patients is all too common.

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        1. Sooooooo cool you laughed, Donna!! Yep. Idiotic! She said a few other things too that proves she doesn’t know how to THINK. The moment I saw her I was shocked to see how young she is. She could be my Grand-daughter! Or thereabouts! And for her to talk STD with me? Really? Honestly? I’m giggling out loud. This tidbit was just too good not to talk about. I actually did have a post about communication but because of how “pissed” I was when I wrote it, I deleted it.

          My symptoms are clearing up lately on my face and I don’t have proof but I believe it is because we no longer are wireless in this house. Yep. Our ethernet is directly hardwired now. These wires (the ones that are exposed) are a PIA but …. the difference in my cats and in me are worth the added trouble. That is a post coming I intend to write when I have more “proof”.

          As for doctors …. I will NOT allow a doctor take MY power away from me on how I want to be treated. I had to sign a waver that I would not hold this doctor responsible IF I became ill all because I REFUSED (her word) all the vaccines and testing she wants me to have. My WBC is too low due to all these allergies and such and to subject me to these invasive and toxic tests is ludicrous. Again, no THOUGHT. Oh oh. I’ll stop. Now. Oops.

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        2. Good for you Amy for sticking to your guns!! Glad to hear your symptoms are clearing too. There is such an agenda to “pump” more and more toxins into us humans – and that includes wireless too. My wireless is off at night and actually, you are correct – the cable is better. A doctor wanted to give me benzos (addictive mood enhancers) to help the swelling in my knee?? I looked at my doctor and said REALLY? You are going to give me a benzo for inflammation??? I suppose we could trash the medical profession all day long really! Things just don’t make much sense anymore. Take care Amy and I am so glad you stick to your values – what a great example you are!! Thanks!

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        3. Aw, Donna. Bless you. The path I walk is so darn hard sometimes as you well know. I’m relieved you have educated yourself about medicine. How shocking what that doctor wanted to put you on. Unbelievable! For swelling I highly recommend CBD oil. I can honestly only recommend one brand that I take (all my cats are on it too!). That brand is Kokoro Way. Yes there is a website and the store is local here. I take the unflavored as do my cats. These meds are getting way out of hand! Good luck with that knee. I just checked their website and they do not offer unflavored CBD oil. IF you are interested call directly and ask for Erik or his Mom. Tell him Amy who asks all the questions and takes care of cats recommended this oil to you. Here is the link:
          https://thekokoroway.com

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    2. Thanks Amy for your sharing. Somehow respect and good manners have disappeared from conversation and people are literally interrupting and talking over each other. Maybe people talk so much about themselves because the are not generally heard? Makes you wonder. A good-hearted conversation is worth a lot these days, as you say, and to be treasured! Take care!! Donna

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