Wednesday, 20 March 2013


There are a number of reasons why speech is one of the first things we learn when growing up. Not only is it the most common way of understanding one another, but it's also the driving force behind conversation, clarity and negotiation. While most modes of communication are direct and clear as day, there are some that are just way too convoluted with unnecessary complexities. You'll find these in most romantic relationships where miscommunication and misinterpretation are often to blame for the previous night's senseless fight. No matter how big the argument or how much you may think it's over, verbal communication is a must, especially when it comes to conflict resolution. 

“I’m fine! It's nothing! I don't want to talk about!" Translation: "I'm fucked up, insecure, neurotic and emotional! It is something although I'm not entirely sure what it is yet and of course I want to talk about it but not with you!" Anyone involved in love's treacherous dance for two will eventually come across the "f" bomb and when they do, ten to one they won't know what to do with themselves. It's one of those unfortunate situations and the ultimate catch 22; if you poke the bear hard enough, it's only going to get angrier and more withdrawn, but if you leave your partner to their own devices, you're the asshole that didn't care enough to make it work. It's a no win situation.

Men may be from Mars and while a lot of their habits may seem alien to us, mind reading is not one of their forte's. It's a fact that girls are far more perceptive and verbal about their relationship needs than guys are, so is it really fair to keep them second-guessing our every word and action? Instead of just being up front about the issue at hand, we choose to complicate the situation with a number of contradictory retorts. "I suppose so", "do what you want," I'm F.I.N.E.!" It's bad enough that men and women speak entirely different languages at the best of times, but to confuse each other with loaded statements is just a waste of everyone's time.

One of the most cynical people I know had managed to find herself in a long(ish) distance relationship after a long dry spell of bad dates and Chinese take out. Shar met Adam, a single divorcee father of two, at an accommodation conference in Johannesburg about six months ago and had been dating him ever since. She was over the moon to finally meet an emotionally and financially stable guy that could appreciate her for the high powered independent woman that she was.

Things were going great although the constant traveling back and forth was beginning to become a bit of a bore. At 35, Shar was in no position to waste precious time and had wondered why the topic of their future had not come up yet. Was Adam simply in this relationship for the fun of it or did he intend on taking it to the next level? Shar so desperately wanted him to DTR (define the relationship), but alas it never came. Her frustration was beginning to translate in non-verbal messages and after weeks of feeling that her emotional needs were not being met, she decided it was time to throw in the towel. A care-frontation was seriously in order. 

"Let me break it down for you Shar; men can fix cars, talk formula one till their balls are blue and even get the logic behind a blood sport like boxing, but when it comes to figuring out the emotional needs of a woman, it's like a deer in headlights. It's time for some serious T to the 4th power H. Time to talk to him! Wake up! He's not going to figure it out on his own. He would've by now. While you're busy sending all these crazy mixed signals, he's busy trying to plan his escape. It would be wonderful if they figured it out on their own but like a puppy piddling on the paper for the very first time, guys need to be told and taught these things. You need to communicate my friend." And just like that, another relationship had been saved.

In the battlefield known as relationship valley, non-communication can be just as fatal as weapons of mass destruction. Long silences, sub-textual looks and undertones, irrational mind games. It's a malicious minefield out there, a constant cataclysmic combat where male and female linguistics often cross fire. It's a war of words where language is used to manipulate, agitate and complicate the lives of so many couples. Instead of just raising the white flag on misguided meanings, talking openly to your partner might just save you the anguish, pain and emotional expense of yet another failed relationship.

When it comes to communication, why the fuck are we so afraid to speak our mind?

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