From the Unsaid to the Over-said

Is there such a thing as too much communication? I’d like to go all sexist and say, “I think not, but then again, I am a woman.” But seriously, is there such a thing as too much communication? Can you over-express yourself?

I have known no communication lead to misinterpretations of silences and/or frustrations. I’ve known little communication to do pretty much the same.

Recently, I have had two very important and unrelated conversations with two men. They were each in a situation where they needed to sort out something in their relationship with an important person in their lives. But, out of habit or fear or confusion or willingness to open up, they chose silence. After egging them to talk about it (let’s say a lot of egging, by their standards) they finally opened up. The result from these conversations was, “I am glad I talked, I feel so much lighter.”

I have known communication to help, almost always. Even if it leads to confrontation. Even if it leads to huge rows. Even if it starts of with miscommunication. Even if the tone is all wrong.

I am talking about healthy, functional relationships or at least those that have potential to be so. Not relationships where one party isn’t interested in communication at all.

No one said it is easy. But it works.

You communicate more to get rid of the miscommunication. You apologise for a wrong tone and continue with the issue at hand. At this point then, does it become too much? Can there be too many words?

Have you noticed how even the most non-communicative of people are willing to “talk” when things aren’t going well? What about the times when things are all hunky dory? When there is no trouble in the relationship?

Trust and love are considered the foundations of any relationship. But, I think communication comes before that. How are you going to know there is trust or love if it were not communicated? In this context, the communication isn’t necessarily verbal. Actions speak louder than words and all that. But then again, actions can be misinterpreted too or not interpreted at all. They become invisible to the receiver, “taken for granted” of sorts. So, do you fall back on words?

Do you have to hear “I love you.” to know that you are loved? Isn’t there a chance that if you haven’t heard the words, it is because the emotion doesn’t exist? Does an-“I love you”-a-day make you feel more loved? Do too many “I love you”s make the words lose their meaning?

Turn the above paragraph around in your head for a father-daughter or a brother-sister or a best-friends relationship. How does it pan out?

Turn it around once again to not be about “I love you”s. But, just conversation. Conversation in which you get to know the other person a little more. I have found out more about my best friend of 20 years and myself from conversations. There’s always something more to know about people you are genuinely interested in.

Personally, I love the conversations that have no purpose. Wandering thoughts of two people have brought clarity on many occasions – opened small windows into myself. They reach out to some beauty somewhere even if what they expose isn’t exactly flattering.

But, none of this can happen if there is a worry of “too much” communication. Like with anything else, some “over”-communication can be irritating while others can be some of the best random conversations ever. And of course, one person’s annoying is another’s joy.

I guess it is macho to deal with your confusions by yourself and not express. But it is amazing to have a fellow traveller. Or two. Or three.

What if that number becomes 150, or basically who ever is willing to chat with you on your facebook friend list? Then, has it become too much communication? Oops, for me it has. Because I find myself judging such people.

Like all things in life it comes down to balance. Then? Whose balance is it? Mine or yours? Or hers who is not sharing it with 756 friends but only with 150.

The gorgeousness of silence will always remain, the charm of the unsaid is undying. But, between the romance of wordlessness and the fear of too much communication, are we losing out?

The thing is –
Few or no words have done harm uncovered, unsaid. Worse, they have left emotions unexpressed.
There’s always more to say, for there are always things unsaid. The delightful silence ain’t going nowhere.
How much harm can extra words do? Can the harm not be healed with a few more words?

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