The key to effective communication is transparency of intent and clarity of thought. Add a dose of candour and you get an open and honest dialogue.
Sample this one that I had just this morning. It was one that I had been putting off for a while but I finally bit the bullet and decided that procrastination wasn’t really helping my cause. Summoning up my reserves of patience and kindness, tempered with compassion, I knocked on the door. When there was no response, I pushed the door open a crack to see her curled up on the bed, her back to me. The outline of her shoulders suggested that she was angry and rightly so. Taking a deep breath, I stepped into the room.
Me: Can we talk?
Her: NOW you want to talk? Why? What changed?
Me: Nothing really, except that I feel we haven’t really spoken to each other for a while now.
Her (sitting up and turning around accusingly): A while?! Try a month. Actually, try a bit longer than that!
Me( holding up my hands): Agreed. It’s my fault entirely. But you need to know why.
Her (turning away): Oh, I know why! It’s because of HIM! He’s all you’ve got time for these days. Suddenly, I’m not important anymore and guess what, that’s fine by me! You go ahead and make the waves you want.
Me (gently): You have every right to be angry. I would too, in your position. But, hear me out? Please?
Her (relenting): Fine, say what you have to say.
Me: You’re both very important to me, you know that. It’s just that he’s rather young, a baby actually, while you’re almost nine. You’re stronger, more independent and more capable of holding your own. He needs me, just a while longer, to help him through some bumpy patches.
Her: But, you need me. You know you do. I’m your comforter! You’ve said it out loud!
Me: And that will never change. You’re always going to be the one I run to when I have all these wonderful things to share about being a parent, the life lessons I’ve learnt and the joy that comes from writing about it all.
Her: So. . . does this mean that we’re done talking?
Me: Never. I will continue to talk but it may not be as often as I want to. Did you know I’m working on a memoir? It’s something close to my heart and hey, you helped give me the voice to say it! I’ll always be grateful for that.
Her (sitting up with more interest): Okay then! What’s in store for us?
Me: Well, for one thing, I know I promised we’d talk every week, but if that doesn’t happen, I don’t want you to feel bad. Hey, you should know that I get the most requests for campaigns for you, not for him! Isn’t that something?
Her (making a face): THAT’s what I’ve come to? Campaigns?
Me (soothingly): No, no, of course not. I just meant that you’re still sought after, the most loved and the main focus of everything I’ve ever wanted to blog about. I just need some time to really align what I want to do with my writing and blogging together with the whole ball of wax that’s parenting. Let’s face it: that’s a lot!
Her (smiling): You know something? I’m glad we had this talk. All this while I’ve been misjudging you.
Me: So, we’re good then?
Her (embracing me): Of course! I am after all your first blog, right?
Me(hugging her back): The first and the closest to my heart. Always.