A Story Of How To Avoid Misscommunication
Ironically I can relate with a quote from a book that was about a wife and her husband arguing about chores and how she didn’t realize how much he really did around the house. But my personal experience is more of the “I thought it was your turn” variety. Yea I know those are always great.
So recently there was a time that our panda bear hamster needed food, I had bought the food last time, so henceforth, it was my boyfriend’s turn. It was already pre-discussed and in the bag, no quarrels. But when I talked to him a day later in a sleepy state and right after I had just gotten off work, he wanted me to take his debit card and go get the food, and he thought that was fair and square. Which I can understand in retrospect, he works third shift and he’s tired at 5 O’clock in the afternoon.
But seeing as how errands usually fall back on me during the day, when places are open, I felt pretty offended that he hadn’t taken the time to plan out when he was going to get our tiny hamster’s food. I didn’t feel good, I was tired and it was a whole bunch of “physical noise” that was making an emotional thought worse. I now realize my expectations when I thought that we had clearly talked about him getting the food, but what he was talking about was getting the food money wise, not physically.
Needless to say we argued about……wait for it……hamster food. I think we both felt pretty stupid in the end. But what happened was I told him blatantly how I felt, thinking that that would let him see my perspective, when really all that did was make someone who had almost as much “physical noise” defensive because he told me he felt attacked. Sometimes I will also over explain, making something that was really simple “abstract”. I also felt that he was un-interested because he was facing away from me, and I view that as a sign of disrespect usually. Like an Interpersonal Communications book says, westerners are taught that eye contact is a sign of interest and respect. But in reality he was just really tired and his back hurt, so he was laying in the recliner on his left side. You don’t really realize how many factors go into the communication process until you boil it all down and the fights already over sometimes. Then you get to look back and say “Oh my god, did we really just argue about that? Why?” and then it becomes depressing and humorous at the same time.
At the end of it all we both ended up going to the pet food store together and having a good time. We decided that we should not talk about obligations when either of us is sleepy, and we made a chore list with each other’s names next to each chore so nothing gets mixed up and we can focus on more important things.
Using the chore list and making sure that we are both in a state of mind that will let us think to our fullest potential, we will be able to actually engage in each other to see how we feel. Cutting out all of the noise that may come with fatigue, something that happened earlier that day that was bad, and using the hypothetical method of what might happen later to plan out when we should talk since our schedules are so different will help us communicate better.
I sure that issues will still come up later, but we have that experience to fall back on and the self-inflection that we can use to say “I know I’m tired and probably more emotional that I should be, do I really need to be talking about this?”. No, the answer is probably not.