Communication in Relationships How to Stop Arguing!

I am FAR from perfect as far as communication in relationships is concerned, but I’ve detected one interesting fact about communication in my tiny little life.

In November, I was 6 months away from graduating as an engineer in Paper Science from IIT Roorkee, India. And I wanted to quit college.

I did not like paper. ‘Coming into paper’ was a mistake. I wanted to devote myself to this website and personal growth. That’s what interested me. I did not want to attend paper classes!

On November 30, I came home to talk to my parents about quitting college. What was the point of pursuing something I did not believe in for another 6 months?

I sat on a sofa and my parents sat in front of me.

Now I could have told them I was quitting college. And they would have resisted it and scolded me and argued. And then I could have fought back. And then a big fight would have erupted with everybody hurt and no happy ending at all.

I don’t know what struck me, but I decided to NOT let this happen.

I told them – “Please interrupt me as much as you want. I want to listen to you people. I want to genuinely understand what you are saying. “

As soon as I started talking, they stopped me and agitatedly asked me many questions. I tried to genuinely understand what they were saying. Then they advised me on what to do and why I should not quit and a lot of things. I DID NOT INTERRUPT. Even though I was convinced that I wanted to quit, I listened to them with all my interest. I tried to understand exactly what they were saying. I shut up and listened.

After they had talked a lot, they finally asked me to continue. I started talking again – as soon as I did, they interrupted me and started questioning me again and advising me against quitting. I listened intently with all my attention, AGAIN. I didn’t say a word. I absorbed whatever they had said. This happened many times. Every time, I would start talking, they would interrupt and start talking and advising and every time, I SHUT UP and listened intently to what they were saying.

After a while mom said , “Let him talk – we are not letting him talk at all.” So they noted down what they felt on a paper and I completed my speech. After I had talked my all, they started talking and advising and questioning. I tried to pay complete attention and listened to them. I was open when I was listening –and I did not say a word in defense.

Can you believe what finally ensued? I actually agreed to continue my college studies and my parents and I even discussed how I could pursue the website plan. They even told me they would support me financially as I worked on the website. I decided to not take up a job for a short while as I worked on the site – as they promised to support me.

Whatever the final solution was – one thing that I learnt from this conversation was THE POWER OF LISTENING.

I realized that had I done anything but GENUINELY listen to them, had I even once interrupted them – had I thought – let them LISTEN to me first and forced them to listen to me and argued – we would all have ended up fighting.

Instead, we ended up feeling understood and reasonably happy in the end.

I am still grateful to the Universe that I could somehow muster the patience that day to really listen to them.

I think – while communicating, we generally want to force our point upon the other person. If we only listen first – completely, with full attention NOT interrupting the other person, I strongly believe the other person will listen to us too and we will both reach a wonderful solution.

So the next time you’re in an argument or a sparky discussion – will you FIRST listen to the other person? Why not just try it ONCE? Instead of first proving your point – next time, could you just SHUT UP and listen to the other person FIRST? And then after you have completely, genuinely listened – THEN state your point?

I myself have a long way to go, but I firmly believe that though this is very, very tough to do – listening completely first and then making your point will definitely improve your communication in relationships.

Here’s what Stephen Covey says about trying to understand first before wanting to be understood.

“Think about it: Why do people shout and yell at each other? They want to be understood. They’re basically yelling, “Understand me! Listen to me!”….People do not care about anything you have to say when they’re gasping for psychological air – to be understood, the first evidence of caring.”