“Intimacy is squashed or enhanced by communication. Be sure your communication enhances rather than squashes.” ~LMB
Excellent communication, at its core, is compassionate. Whether you are arguing, celebrating, or only talking, how you do any of these will either bring you closer to others or push you further apart. You decide.
Typical distancing moves include:
- Dismissing: “Why do you even worry about that? Let it go; it’s no big deal.”
- Defending: “I had a hard day and was tired, so I didn’t clean up. You know how tired I am after working all day.”
- Silencing: “…………….”
- Critiquing: “Thank you, but that’s not what I asked for.” “All you do is stare at the computer or phone all day.”
Intimacy building moves include:
- Acknowledging: “I can see how you might think that and how that would be frustrating.”
- Compassion: “Wow, that does sound like a hard day. Would you like a big hug?”
- Accountability: “You’re right; what I said was mean. I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to hurt you and promise I won’t make those comments again.”
- Appreciation: “Thank you for picking up around the house! I appreciate it.”
If you’re feeling distant in your relationships, look at the lists above and notice what type of communication is prevalent. Are you often complaining, defensive, dismissive, or withdrawn? Is the other person? If so, change your approach. Distancing moves get tiring. No one likes to be ignored or continuously told what they’re doing is wrong. Neither do they want to have to push through your defensiveness repeatedly. It gets old.
Challenge: Rather than repeatedly shutting the relationship down with your distancing moves, find the courage to radically show up. Be accountable. Hear and acknowledge what others are saying and feeling rather than arguing your case or acting indifferent to their experience. Relationships are give and take; be sure you are giving. If those around you aren’t giving as well, then find the courage to get help or move on.