How we communicate with others can influence our relationships with them. The problem is that the process of exchanging words can become the trigger that can get you stressed out. Unfortunately once you are stressed out by what another person is saying, it becomes difficult to get the most out of that relationship or encounter. Do you know what I mean?
Here is an example. Yesterday, I called my friend who I had not seen or talked to for the past 3 years. We had drifted apart because we had been busy dealing with work and family life. I decided to call him yesterday to find out how he was doing because of the COVID 19 pandemic. He answered the phone and before I could get past the pleasantries, he told me he was very disappointed in me. He told me he had been going through a lot but I never bothered to call him.
I was upset by what he was saying. I wanted to point to my friend that I was the one who called. I wanted to tell him that communication was like ping-pong, it required two people to make it work. In the end, I decided that he must be hurting and getting into an argument would only lead to greater emotional tension and more stress. I decided to hear him out and save the discussion for later. The good news was that instead of getting stressed out, my approach helped me to reduce tension and leave the door open for possible positive future interactions.
Keeping in mind that your interaction or communication with others is part of a continuum is one of the ways you can communicate better and manage stress better. Why? It helps you to keep open the bridge of interaction with others. Sometimes this will mean keeping your word and your thoughts to yourself, at other times, it would mean speaking in a way that reflects empathy.
This part of the process of effective communication which will help you to reduce stress. The more you reduce stress the less likely you will speak in anger or say things you may never be able to take back. Talking calmly even when under pressure is one of the ways you can keep your conversations with others strategically effective.
Ask yourself questions that will help you recognize which aspects of your communication with others could either be contributing to your relationship getting better or making it more difficult for you to keep your relationship healthy and positive. Do you listen well? Do you cut others off before they finish their sentences? Remember that when you are communicating with others, they will interact with you from their own perspective, worldview, personality or experience. Their own personal interest will drive the relationship more than equity or the truth. Don’t let this frustrate you or disrupt your focus on managing stress better through better communication. This is part of the process of self-mastery for stress management.