Just Stop Talking

In her memoir, You’re Better Than Me, comedian and copreneur Bonnie McFarlane (who co-hosts a podcast with her husband Rich Vos) writes that she once gave Rich the silent treatment for an entire seven days. At the end of the week he turned to her and said, “Hey, we’re getting along pretty great lately!” Now we’d be the first to say that communication is essential to a healthy relationship. But there are also times when more communication is less. 

When you’re in the middle of an argument and things are getting heated, more talk is often unwelcome. The hardest thing to do and one of the most important skills to master is to mutually agree to disarm and disengage rather than perpetuate an unhealthy debate. More communication is less when it will only add fuel to the fire. 

If the two of you still have the final say in most business decisions, more collaboration may be ineffective. Maybe it’s because you love working together so much, or maybe it’s because you haven’t sorted out your individual roles yet. But while people wait on the two of you to coordinate a decision, productivity declines and frustration rises. More communication is less when it just creates a bottleneck. 

People who know we love to hike often comment that we must enjoy the uninterrupted time for conversation. We just smile and think to ourselves, “Not really!” What we love most about hiking is the chance to get away and not talk. It’s a luxury in our busy lives to spend time together in nature in companionable silence. More communication is less when what you’re really seeking is connection. 

Sometimes, more communication isn’t more, it’s less – less welcome, less effective and less necessary. If you can’t improve upon the silence, it may be time to just stop talking. 

This Week:  What partnership issues might you have mis-labled as “communication problems”? How could you improve your communication without talking more?

Sometimes you say it best when you say nothing at all.

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