Updated: Dec 6, 2021
Every once in a while, I do a bit of couple's counseling. Communication is always an issue that comes up, and when I say always, I mean always. Really, communication can be an issue in every relationship from co-workers to lovers. We just don't view it the same way.
One of the biggest problems are misunderstandings. We thought we were clear and the other person heard something totally different. And when we're having a disagreement, we tend to argue instead of listening. I’m sharing this exercise that helps. I promise.
Listen as the other person talks. Do not interrupt them. Do not line up your arguments. Do not try to make a clarifying point. Just listen.
When they're done talking, tell them what you heard. Don't repeat it all verbatim but tell them how you interpreted what they said. You want to make sure that what they said and what you received is actually the same thing.
If y'all are on the same page, respond to the other person with your points and concerns.
Have them tell you what they heard to avoid misunderstanding.
Repeat if necessary.
No lie, for most simple disagreements if we actually listen to each other one time, they'll be resolved. Deeper issues require more time and work. But we can make a practice of listening to understand AND ensuring that we understand instead of getting our feelings hurt by a misinterpretation and sticking with that.