Communication and Expressing One’s Needs

 

A friend of mine was telling me about his honeymoon and the fight that was caused on the way there:

 

The two were married in an arranged marriage.  They didn’t know each other much before the wedding.  He brought her to Canada and planned their honeymoon driving around the province showing her around.  He was a truck driver who enjoyed long drives and was used to driving long distances without stopping.  

On the first day of their drive, after they had been on the road for a few hours, he asked his new wife if she was hungry.  “No,” she replied.

They stopped for gas a while later and he asked again if she was hungry.  “No,” she replied.

Later on the drive, he asked her once more if she was hungry.  “No,” she replied.

When they got to the hotel for the first night of their honeymoon, she was furious!  She had been hungry for hours and he hadn’t stopped for food anywhere along the way.  

He didn’t understand her anger because he had asked her multiple times if she was hungry.  

She explained, “I should not have to tell you what I want or need.  You are the husband.  It is your job to make these decisions, not mine.  You should have known that I was hungry after so many hours!”  

She had expected that he would stop for food, even if she said she wasn’t hungry.  

 

Their story demonstrates the importance of communication and voicing one’s needs.  I believe in the importance of taking responsibility for oneself, one’s emotions, and one’s needs.  No one else can truly know what another person is thinking.  Yes, some needs can be anticipated, but if someone asks you what your needs are, share them.  The other person may need some guidance in order to better support you.

 

If you never ask, you’ll never know…

 

Direct communication is often effective, but the problem with it is that by voicing one’s needs, some people may see that person as demanding or intimidating.  Some people who hear another’s needs feel obligated to meet those needs, and feel pressured simply by hearing those needs.  The person expressing his/her needs may only be voicing their needs, without expecting others to meet those needs.

Those who prefer direct communication often take for granted that other people will do the same.  This can result in missing social cues where the direct message is not the intended message.  This can be frustrating for all involved.

There are many communication styles that work for different people.  Some styles are more difficult for some people than others. Learning different communication skills and styles can be one way that we can better understand each other, including our partners, friends and family.

We may not always agree with each other, but when we understand the other’s perspective, it is a lot easier accept.   

 

 Nothing brings down walls as surely as acceptance.

– Deepak Chopra

Comments are closed.