Nobody wants to talk anymore and it’s something we’ve become all too comfortable with avoiding. Part of adulting is knowing how to communicate effectively. The question is why don’t we want to?
When we were children we were accustomed to having our parents as the safety net; there to catch us when we fall. They corrected us when we mess up. They held us when we cried. It’s why people love social media so much. It allows us to throw tantrums and scream whenever we aren’t getting our way because for so many people it’s a substitute parent. A place to project all of our insecurities in exchange for the attention and affection the real parent never supplied.
Children throw tantrums for various reasons. They are usually tired, hungry, or uncomfortable. It is common during the second and third year of life, when language skills are starting to develop. Because toddlers can’t yet say what they want, feel, or need, the expectation is for the parent to understand what it is they are trying to communicate and be complicit. Much like the tantrums kids throw adults do the same thing. It’s called complaining. Many grown ups don’t view adulting as actual responsibility but rather a hobby. It is why one of the biggest struggles for adults is how we communicate. Instead of stating a desire or thought overtly, we nudge or throw signals in the right direction leaving it up to the other person to figure out for themselves. We don’t discuss the things that upsets us, instead we opt to find small passive aggressive and petty ways to piss people off so we feel justified in our complaints to them.
Here’s why it’s toxic: We struggle to behave as adults should without a care only to cry foul when we are confronted with the consequence that is the result of this kind of carelessness and irresponsibility. We don’t want to do things as our parents did them because we feel like we’re not only smarter than they were but are happier doing things our way. We’ve been on this ego trip since we were kids. We like to pride ourselves on the things that indicate that we’re in line with where we ‘should be’ in life. Behaving this way has not only made us more stubborn and lazy but we are also regressing because of it.
In this digital era, we avoid direct communication at all costs. No one wants to be the first person to pick up the phone. We’d rather text or send an email than to hold an in-person conversation. It’s why there are countless internet memes. It’s become easier to communicate how we feel about a certain something by way of passive aggressively posting pictures that hold text captions. It’s created this boxed fragmented way of thinking; we’re really not interested in getting anything right — we just want to be right without any objection. But, no matter how valid our feelings may be concerning certain situations this kind of behavior encourages lack of personal accountability. While our adult insecurities drive us into defensiveness and self-justification, everyone involved in a communication problem bears some degree of responsibility. So, no matter how much adulting may annoy you — effective communication is extremely important. Conversations are not an act of war therefore, they should pose no threat to you. A conversation is a two-way street where the course of direction is listening and understanding as much as you speak. Whether personal or professional they are a must-have. You should be clear and intentional when speaking and express yourself without any scope of doubt or misunderstanding, making sure to listen and address the concerns of the other person. It is an art that develops over time but is necessary and doable.
The responsibility of accountability that comes with this is owning the results of what gets communicated. Failure to do so hardly ever generates the results you are looking for and nobody wins. Not even you.
In order to understand the world around us meaningful conversation is necessary. It’s not only fun and infectious but it empowers you to become the kind of adult you need to be.