“Girl, I tried to explain it to him, but he won’t listen.”
“I tried to talk to them, but they aren’t hearing me.”
Effective communication. Something we believe that we understand in the same way we believe we can land the choreography of a Broadway intensive after taking “Tap Dancing for Beginners” our freshman year of college… once.
The best communication skills come with practice and patience, trial and error. You may own as many pairs of LaDucas as you can afford, but without practice, commitment, and skill-building, they will never be more than a pair of well-made shoes. You can post all the pictures of your significant others or castmates, but without proper communication, and true relationship building, it will only ever be an Instagram post.
Effective communication, learning someone’s love language, and triggers are all keys to any long, healthy relationship.
ProTip: You can be straightforward AND tactful. Anyone who constantly steps on toes and crushes spirits for being “blunt” isn’t just being real – they’re assholes.
Things like time and place, wording, the relationship you have to the person, those things matter.
— Bignatius Macintosh (@BlackAngryCynic) January 4, 2021
So, what can you do to master becoming a better communicator in all of your relationships?
Read for Fun
Read outside of social media. Read plays, novels, a thought piece, anything that will expand your vocabulary and provide context. The more words you know, the more accurate you will be able to communicate how you are feeling and be able to ask for clarity when you don’t understand.
The English language is living and different words can mean the same things but have opposite connotations. (Think: influence VS manipulate). There are a plethora (see what I did there) of words, you may have yet to encounter.
Bonus Tip: Ask a castmate for recommendations to add to your reading list. This will provide you with an opening to continuing the conversation in the future (relationship building), plus it may give you an insight into who they are as a person. If they recommend all murder mysteries, immediately put them on your A-team. They’ve come prepared and ready to survive anything that comes their way.
Find the Root of the Issues When They Arise
I want to choose myself over and over until it comes automatically
I want to work on myself physically mentally all of that
I want to be more intentional with every relationship I’ve formed
— Black with a touch of Sirius 🔅 (@Tsar_amongKings) January 1, 2021
If you seem to keep having petty arguments with the same person, figure out the common denominator. Yes, it’s annoying that your roommate put a dish in the sink when you finished cleaning the kitchen… in between shows… on your two-show day… and the dishwasher is open and available for dirty dishes. The disrespect. Yes, it also pisses you off when they cancel 30 minutes after they were supposed to meet you somewhere. Overall, you have to remember, petty arguments can be the cause of a bigger issue, which may be that they do not respect your time. Developing the conversation from the root, versus a list of events streamlines the discussion.
Fun game to try: Next time they lock themselves out of the apartment, tell them you’re coming, but first, go to the latest Broadway has reopened (hear us, Lord!) open call, make friends with strangers, sign in, but don’t audition, and then head to the apartment to let them in. Waste. Their. Time. This is why I don’t have friends. Petty Betty Me.
Remove the Use of Pointed Language
Now… we all know THEY did it. We all know YOU had nothing to do with it because you would never! However, they (incorrectly) see themselves as perfect, too. So, avoid using words like “you”. Instead of saying, “you need to work on this” try, “we can make these changes together”.
Sidenote: “We” means “you,” but that’s between us.
Not Everyone Deserves You
Listen to me.
You are a two-bed, two-bath on 9th, and 23rd, first floor, with outdoor space, and no neighbors above you at less than $1000 a month. You are a unicorn. You are one of a kind. You DESERVE!
Learning how to communicate can be exhausting, which is why the effort is not to be given to everyone. It’s best to pick and choose who you are going to exert this energy on. I only have these types of conversations with people I enjoy and want to keep in my circle, honestly. Others can exit stage right, or better yet, I’ll bow out.
This is a good start that can be applied across the board with roommates, castmates, and potential love interests, but when it comes to a full-blown romantic relationship… well… that’s a story for another day.