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How I Forced Myself to Become Better at Communicating


Have you ever heard that infamous phrase about nobody being an island? So did I on about a million occasions, and I never once believed it for the longest time. I thought that everybody kind of existed in their own little vacuum and was simply communicating with one another when they were talking. What I never realized, though, was the fact that you can talk for hours and never say anything at all.

Perhaps the biggest myth about communicating in any kind of relationship is that if you talk to someone, you’re communicating with them and being open. The moment I realized that this was a lie I had told myself for years was the first step to change, but what I didn’t realize back then was that I didn’t really want to change.

The only reason I’m able to have healthy relationships with people now is that I forced myself to get to where I am today.

Defining a Relationship

Now when I hear the word relationship I think of anytime two people are together for any reason, but it wasn’t always like that. I used to sort of delude myself into saying that if you weren’t romantically linked with people you didn’t really have to work on a relationship with them. It might have been something of a carryover from my teenage years.

After all, that kind of lie is an excellent excuse to tell yourself if you don’t really want to have to work on communicating better with your parents.

About five years ago, I ended up out of work due to some downsizing at my old job. I thought I’d call up some of the other people I knew from the workplace and see how they were doing, though my real intention was to try and weasel my way into a new position that way. It turns out that people I saw every single day didn’t care about me one iota. In fact, the people I talked to all the time forgot who I even was!

You might be surprised to hear it, but I don’t blame them. After all, I never actually communicated with any of them.

Falling fallen this low is what finally forced myself to become better at communicating and ultimately I became a life coach on the side because of it.

Forcing Myself to Improve

The first thing I knew that I had to do was properly define relationships as any meetings between two people. In fact, our relationships are so often defined by the huge groups of individuals that we collectively know. Once I got this down, it became obvious to me that you can, indeed, say a large number of words without ever making a point.

I’d forgive you if you said the next part was cheesy. Each time I met someone for like a week afterward, I made sure to actually greet them and say something meaningful. How many times do you actually think about asking people how they’re doing? The fact that you probably just spit out that you’re fine indicates you don’t give it any thought.

Of course, you don’t want to turn into some kind of drama queen who then turns around and starts answering that question with a whole laundry list of problems you’re having. That’s even worse, and it’s another lesson I learned the hard way.

Eventually, though, I ended up in a much better place to actually communicate with other people whether I realized it at the time or not.

Finding a New Career without Networking

I think that one of my biggest challenges still remained. Namely, I was still looking at self-improvement as some stupid way of getting ahead in my career as opposed to being a better person. We’re all so obsessed with networking and building up a huge group of friends these days that we don’t actually focus on becoming friends.

Just like relationships need to be redefined, so does the word friendship. The reason I ended up in the position I’m now in is because I wanted to help people learn the same lessons I have.

Only, I hope that nobody else will have to do it the hard way!

David Smith