Communication Breakdown: not just a Led Zeppelin songLos Angeles Post-Examiner

Communication breakdown: Not just a song by Led Zeppelin

So my fiancé applied for a new position within his company, and we’ve been anxiously waiting to hear back if he got the job. Earlier this week, he attempted to give me an update about it. It went a little bit like this:

Fiance: I heard a little bit back about the job today.
Me: Really! What did you hear?
F: They talked to one of the guys I work with.
Me: Talked to him about what?
F: Just asked about me.
Me: What did they ask?
F: I don’t know.
Me: Did you ask him?
F: Nah.
Me: Well what did he say about you?
F: I don’t know.
Me: You didn’t ask him what he said?
F: Nah.
Me: Well did he say if he thinks you might have it?
F: No.
Me: Do you know when you might hear back about the position?
F: Not yet.

And so on.

Even if I used all of my words, hand motions and facial expressions, I still would not be able to convey the level of frustration I felt during this conversation. Because this is not the first time it’s been like pulling teeth to get information out of my dear partner.

We’ve had essentially the same conversation about everything from talking to the plumber to making plans with friends. Sometimes I’ll even get tired of asking questions and say “Can you just tell me the whole story?”

It’s not just my fiancé. As a sales manager for a roofing company, I work with six men who always keep me on my toes. They are always running around driving to site visits, walking on roofs and talking to customers, so we communicate mostly through email and text messages.

Right away you take away the advantage of hearing someone’s voice inflection, so already we are at a communication disadvantage. Add in the fact that they are busy and using the voice-to-text app on their phones and sometimes you have a total communication breakdown. I find myself constantly asking them to explain themselves, and some days I honestly think they expect me to read their minds.

Perhaps this is where the old “women talk too much” stereotype comes from. In my experience, women like to get all the details, whether you are gossiping about a new boyfriend or talking about clothes. Men can communicate with each other in grunts and are content to hear the basics and be done with it. The best you can do when trying to communicate with a member of the opposite sex is just be patient, understanding and express yourself as much as possible.

For ladies, this means maybe toning it down or accepting the answers you get without pestering with a million questions.

For men, this means using more actual words rather than grunts.


About the author

Emily Campbell

Emily Campbell is a perpetually single, 20-something girl-around-town who loves Shakespeare, old movies, Natty Boh, and of course, long walks on the beach. A sales manager by day and freelance writer by night, she was recently forced into a life of involuntary celibacy when her last relationship fizzled out over a text message. She’s tired of settling for second - or tenth - best, and she’s ready to find Mr. Right. Or, Mr. Nearly Right. No one’s perfect…which she has learned the hard (but hilarious) way. Contact the author.
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