Communication conflicts, open communication and listening

By communication we generally mean the exchange of messages between living beings or between living beings and things. The interpersonal communication process includes a person, the communication and a second person. The first person broadcasts a message, acting as the sender or communicator. The second person receives the message, and acts as the receiver or hearer. Communication serves to convey information to each other. But we also speak of communication when it does not take place deliberately. And if it does not lead to mutual understanding.

It’s impossible not to communicate

We don’t communicate just through words, called verbal communication. But we also communicate through emphasis, pace of speech, through pauses, laughter, sighs, eye and skin contact, gestures, facial expressions. In short, through all our behaviors, called non-verbal communication. And because every behavior involves a communication that can be interpreted by other people, we can conclude that it is impossible not to communicate.
When we examine a communication, we can distinguish the content aspect and the relational aspect .
The content aspect of a communication concerns the statement and the associated information. While the relational aspect generally determines how the sender would like his communication to be understood by the receiver. The relational aspect therefore contains the personal attitude from the sender to the receiver.

Communication conflicts

When people communicate with each other, misunderstandings and disagreements often arise. That has to do with the fact that on the one hand we do not understand each other. And on the other hand, that we have not systematically learned to express ourselves clearly, sympathetically and unequivocally. Man has worked for thousands of years to improve his communication skills.

The fact is that every communication has both a content aspect and a relational aspect. This can lead to the conclusion that there are also two areas in which malfunctions can occur. The ideal case of communication is an agreement on the content and on the relational level. The worst case is disagreement on the substantive and on the relational level. But there are also mixed forms.

Disagreement on the substantive level, agreement on the relational level

This concerns the most mature form of human discussion with differences of opinion. The sender and receiver, called the partners, may disagree on the content, but these differences of opinion do not damage their relationship. We agree to disagree!

Agreement on the substantive level, disagreement on the relational level

Agreement on content is the glue that keeps the relationship together. But any substantive disagreement jeopardizes the relationship. The partners therefore like to avoid substantive disagreements. They try to give their relationship or bond stability by unconsciously looking for substantive similarities. For example, in common concerns and difficulties.

We often try to solve a relationship problem on a substantive level . We also often attempt to resolve an objective difference of opinion on the relational level. However, these two attempts usually lead to even greater confusion. And often do not offer a satisfactory solution. If disagreements occur on both levels at the same time, we first begin to achieve agreement on the relational level. To this end, we must make the relationship itself the content of the communication. Only then should we resolve the substantive differences of opinion with our partner.

Open communication

Open communication is communication that brings us closer to other people. It is a form of communication that allows us to understand them. And that allows us to build a deep, satisfying relationship with them. But to communicate openly, we must open up as both senders and receivers. Being open as a receiver first and foremost means listening with understanding. We cannot force openness from others. That is why it is wise to start with openness first. By communicating openly with others. This makes it easier for your partner to communicate openly. Someone always has to indicate the wisest move!

Listening comprehension

Open communication depends on listening comprehension. Listening with understanding means that we try to understand the message as much as possible. As the sender experienced and intended it. To achieve this we must place ourselves in his reference system. We must begin to see the world with His eyes as we listen. To achieve this, it is important that we accept the thoughts and feelings of our conversation partner. No matter how indifferent what they are about, and how different they are from our own thoughts and feelings. The position we must take is: Take your conversation partner seriously, appreciate his or her person and value his or her personal opinion.

Our basic attitude must therefore be one of openness, honesty, sympathy and appreciation. We will have to adopt a non-biased attitude towards the other. This positive basic attitude encourages certain behaviors that promote listening comprehension. And will lead to many benefits.