It’s a bit ironic when someone tells me I need to communicate more. I’m a communicator by trade! lol. Seriously, do we need me talking more? Even I get tired of talking.
It was recently brought to my attention that even though I’m a communicator, I sometimes forget to communicate with people who are close to me. All day long I gather information. Information on work, influenza, community needs, pageants, info for my Bachelor’s degree, how my children are faring in society, and so much more that it’s not even worth thinking about because I won’t stop thinking. Honestly, a few years ago I would have said that I’m the most mellow person ever but lately I’m so Type A that I worry about my health. Wow, I’ve gotten off subject (I do that a lot).
So I gather information. This action makes me feel empowered; I know more about myself and my community. And honestly, gathering information gives me a sense of control about my world. Sometimes I don’t realize that other people, especially those in my immediate circle, need information as well in order to have that same sense of control. It’s a basic concept that I learned many years ago, when I first started studying Crisis and Emergency Risk Communication. When people are put into an unfamiliar setting, there is a primal urge to gather information so they are in control and can make healthier decisions. So if, as communicators, we take away information, we add to the panic a person feels when experiencing something unfamiliar. At this point I could go on and on about communicating in an emergency but what I really want to do is bring this to a more personal level.
I’m reminded of how it feels to be waiting on communication, whether it is from the doctor, an agency, my friends or even my children, and I realize that it can be frustrating. Just because I’m aware of a situation (like how to make a 72 hour emergency kit) doesn’t mean that someone else is as clued in. Communication with a spouse,* family and friends is more important than many of us realize. Because communication=a sense of control. Everyday I wake my son up with a weather report and a schedule. “Carsten, it’s Monday morning. You are going to school and I’m going to work. The sun is shining and boy is it warm already. Let’s get up and find some shorts to wear.” Honestly, I do that. Why? Because my son has anxiety disorders and he needs to feel in control of his surroundings by knowing exactly what is going to happen that day.
My point is, if someone close to you expresses a need for more communication, don’t immediately take offense (like I may or may not do) and realize that they have an internal need for something more. Help those around you make good decisions by providing information. Don’t be afraid to communicate. If all else fails, call me. I will communicate for you.
*disclaimer: I don’t have a spouse. In fact, I divorced 2.