Between Friends - Communication

By Doreen Barber

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“The problem with communication is the illusion that it has been accomplished.”  -George Bernard Shaw.
As a society, we are individualistic, for the most part, and do not care much for debate or conflict. It is safer to only share closely held beliefs with family and close friends. Discussing topics of interest with like-minded people makes us feel comfortable and accepted, when there is contention, the situation becomes stressful. Even close friends shy away from topics that may result in an argument. As a result, what could be an opportunity for an exchange of ideas is lost. 
Communication is a skill in which voice intonation, body language, gesture and speech all play a part. The gist of what is being said can be crafted to the framework of personal concept and understanding.
Men and women often perceive words in dissimilar ways. Steve Harvey wrote a book entitled, *Act Like a Lady Think Like a Man*. He recognizes disconnects and miscommunication between the sexes and writes to bridge that gap in a humorous manner. 

“Communication leads to community, that is, to understanding, intimacy and mutual valuing.” -Rollo May

Without the element of mutual respect, our conversations can best be described as a speech or report that rarely has any shared benefit. 
Words hold power to either build up or tear down on the most personal level.   
Meaningful dialogue can deeply empower us; build respect, trust, and self-esteem. 

“Flatter me, and I may not listen to you
Criticize me, and I may not hear you.
Encourage me, and I’ll never forget you.”  
-Author Unknown

Positive dialogue affords an opportunity to explore new ideas and for our hearts to grasp and hold on to new sources of purpose and connection with others, which results in personal growth. Our intellect searches for new data while our hearts seek and grasp onto sources of inner strength, well-being, and awareness.   
Good communication is an art; it requires focus and a willingness to risk rejection and misunderstanding. There is, however, great reward if heard, and understanding another’s point of view. 
“Communication works for those who work at it.” -John Powell


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