image Communication, Miscommunication.

Electronic communications in any form can double edged sword with our partner. The words may flatter or they may be completely misinterpreted causing a major malfunction within a relationship. 

We all know that one of the, if not the most important aspect of any healthy relationship is the ability to effectively communicate with our partner. Today we live in a fast paced world of texting, email,  Facebook, Facebook messenger, Twitter, Instagram, snap chat and the list goes on and on. These are all known as electronic communications or, e-comms for short.

We usually don’t spend every waking moment with our intimate partner, yet constant communication is essential. The forms of communication available to us though e-comms have proven to be a blessing and a curse.

In a perfect world, we would only communicate with our partners face to face; in their presence. This way, they can hear our tone of voice, read our facial expressions and body language and we can dive deeper in to the context of the meaning of our communications and conversations.

The main purpose of e-comms is to be short, sweet and to the point and to possibly set the stage for a meaningful deep conversation in person. However, often times we get sucked in to deep conversations through e-comms for various reasons. In the early stages of dating, we are still getting to know each other and since we aren’t always available (or comfortable yet) for face to face interactions and we are still in the “feeling each other out” stage, we turn to e-comms for communicating and getting to know our partner.

When we enter the realm of e-comms, we run the tremendous risk of miscommunication, misinterpretation and misunderstanding.

Even as relationships progress, e-comms can can lead and turn in to some uncomfortable and awkward conversations.

Many of us choose to communicate through e-comms in today’s society because it is simply just easier. We don’t always know where and when are partner is available so we reach out when we feel the urge and wait for their response.

I once had a long conversation through text message with a girl I connected deeply with. We texted about many of our interests. Texting was convenient because we could respond at our leisure and still multitask things we were doing. We spent many hours texting when we weren’t around each other. We would text a few times while we were at work, on our way home, and spend hours texting each other if we were not spending time together that day.

However one conversation turned to past relationships. We both tried explaining the good aspects of our previous lovers and through e-comms, we both sort of got the sense that we both still felt an attachment to our old flames. However this was not the case. We had to discuss this later in person to straighten out and fully understand what was meant by what we texted to each other that night.

It created tension built up before an awkward conversation took place in person that was uncomfortable and in a sense, unnecessary because neither of us had any attachments to our ex’s, yet texting about them to each other left us both wondering if we were still holding on to feelings of a love from the past. We both jumped to unfair conclusions. It simply could not be fully discussed in depth over text. Texting can only tell so much. In the end, we sorted it out face to face. It was actually very simple face to face and made the texting seem silly at the time.

This was just one example of many such misunderstandings or misinterpretations that happened to us over e-comms.

When we broke up, we decided to remain friends. I would text her on occasion, checking up on her (since we were friends) and sincerely wishing her the best and the misinterpretations rose exponentially.  She interpreted those texts to mean that I was holding on and refusing to let go when all I intended was to be friendly and wish her well. She had no way to understand my intent or tone. She even possibly assumed I had an ulterior motive (which I sincerely didn’t.)

A few times we met up after the break up and things were great when we saw each other in person. Our conversations were lively, we got along super and respectful. However when we parted ways, after a few days a text or email her from one of us would emerge with some random comment about how something reminded us of something between us, (in a totally friendly and non-intimate manner, usually about once every other week but the intent was always misinterpreted and misunderstood.)

My experience was that since we were no longer together, I didn’t have the same chances to express actual intent and I began to get an unfair label attached to me. I still did care about her, but e-comms have made it difficult to have any type of meaningful conversation with her because of the constant miscommunication and misunderstandings. Her experience may have been different, I can’t speak to that.

Often through e-comms, we search for hidden meanings and agendas when in actuality, things are just what they are on the surface. It’s much more difficult to fix what is misunderstood over e-comms and we have to be careful of what we say and how we say it because it’s only interpreted by the reader, and it rarely matches the senders intent.

I like to share my successes and inspirations with those who inspired me. I can’t always physically be around them to express myself so I often use e-comms, however problems keep arising that people misunderstand them as having not let go of feelings, or that I have not moved on from them, or that I am seeking “something more” from them. Sometimes they think I spend too much time and effort on their behalf when in actuality, it was a fleeting thought that I felt the urge to share with them at the time.

In my experience, it’s best to be short and sweet with our e-comms. Sure, every now and then an opportunity presents itself for an extended e-comm that is lively, fun and serves an actual purpose, but mainly, e-comms lack the emotional punch that regular face to face conversations carry with it. E-comms can easily lead to searching for meaning that just isn’t there and/or creating a hostile environment and resentment because of the lack of complete understanding of the actual intent.

Some things are better left to be said in person. Some things are even best left unsaid.

We must be careful how we communicate over e-comms because if we aren’t, we run the risk of digging the hole deeper and deeper. The best conversations are the ones where you are in the presence of our partner.

Never say anything serious over e-comms either. I was once dumped over text message and it was the most hurtful and disrespectful thing that I could imagine. It was downright cowardly.

We need to have the courage to use e-comms as a stage-setter and let the real deep conversations play out in person, face to face so that we can hear the tone of the other persons voice, read their body language, and avoid all possible misunderstandings by being able to communicate and respond in depth in person. Communication should always be a two-way equal street and e-comms run the risk of becoming lopsided and misunderstood of the real intent.

Author: Adam Wilkinson

Image: flickr-Md saad andalib

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