July 19


What Communication is Not?


That’s one word I can use to describe my dad. 

Boy, that man could talk. 

He could spend hours on the phone talking.

No sooner than he hung up with one person, he’d pick up the phone, dial it, and chat it up with someone else. 

You could be a complete stranger and he’d engage in a conversation. 

Case and point. 

We, my mom and I, helped my sister move into her dorm at NYU her freshman year of college. 

Where was my dad?

He was doing two things. 

One was “watching the car.” 

The other was talking to other “watching the car” parents moving their kids into the dorm. 

On the ride back home my dad told my mom and I all about the families of people he struck up a conversation with as we were going in and out of the dorm with my sister’s stuff.

For one family, he had practically learned their family tree. Dad was big on genealogy. 

As you can see, talking is something my dad loved to do. 

He, however, was a terrible communicator. 

Rather than confer with my mother on important matters he just did them. 

Instead of letting my mother know well in advance about plans, he’d give her short notice. 

Another thing about his poor communication skills is something that’s akin to not just lesbian women, but women in general. 

He didn’t communicate as a way to avoid confrontation. 

Does that sound familiar?

I don’t know if he ever avoided communicating because he didn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings, but some women are big on that too. 

Being a talker, but not communicating, especially on important topics, is proof that loving to talk and communication are not the same. 

My dad said several times, especially in his older years, “I don’t like to argue. I don’t like confrontation.”

So instead of communicating, he said nothing. At times he’d go as far as avoiding people for days. 

That included church folk. My dad practically lived at the church. 

So when he didn’t attend a church conference or deacon meeting or church board meeting, we knew someone had made him upset and he was avoiding much needed conversations. 

The man who loved to talk didn’t know how to communicate. 

And I knew that not just about my dad, but also about my mom. 

Sadly, my mom fell in-line with the patriarchy. 

As a collective, my parents' relationship communication style was abysmal. 

To the day my dad passed away, communication between my parents’ was horrible and it was affecting me. 

All I wanted was for them to communicate better.

Observing my parents’ relationship is one of the reasons why I was determined my next relationship (which is with Kelly) was going to be built on the foundation of good communication.

I was (and am) living what good communication looked like. I wanted that for them. Heck, I want that for you too. 

I’m not a big talker like my dad, but I do communicate, even when those conversations are uncomfortable. 

Thankfully for us, because we communicate so well, Kelly and I don’t have too many uncomfortable conversations. 

Our relationship is happy, healthy, and as of this writing 12 years strong.

Do you want a healthy and lasting relationship?

Make communication a priority.

If you pride yourself on being a talker, make sure to not confuse your love for talking as loving communication. 

Those are not the same. 

Talking is a component of communication, it’s not communicating. 

Loving to talk, but avoiding hurting someone's feelings, or not wanting someone to hurt your feelings, is not communicating. 

And if you’re looking for someone and she tells you she loves to talk, know whether or not you like a talker, but also pay attention to whether or not she knows how to communicate.


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