Communication without Comprehension means da-da


So… Derrick (formerly known as New Dude) and I were having a conversation the other day. He was in his home office on his speakerphone and I was running around like a crazy person picking up stuff for the remodel of the guest room (whole other post people). The point is, we got around to talking about our plans for the Fourth of July weekend. I indicated that BougieSis was coming into town and it was BougieMom's birthday so I had a few family things to do. He said he was heading to San Diego for a golf weekend with his boys.

Then he paused and said, "Are you cool with that?"

I paused because my first thought was, "Why wouldn't I be?" I was surprised he phrased it like that and I wondered how much I was allowed to ask. I used to be the lone girl invited along to boys' weekend and what I saw wasn't pretty. The wives and girlfriends left at home would not have been amused to see what I saw. So I wondered – what kind of boys' weekend was it? Who was invited? Was there anything I needed to be worrying about? But again, we're brand new so I'm not sure what to ask and how to phrase it without it coming across as a demand for a definition of our relationship… if we're even ready to call it that.

But before I could decide what to ask, I heard his friend Vince say, "Bruh – are you asking her permission? She's got you on lock like that? You are whip-" Derrick pushed the mute button. Le Deep Sigh. Vince, who lost his girlfriend because he wanted to search for something better, was chock full of commentary. Can I pause for a second and say I'm already not feeling the Vin-Man? Okay… moving on.

"Hello?" I said into the phone.

"Sorry about that." I heard a door being slammed in the background. Apparently, he put Vince out.

"No problem."

"Listen. I was just making sure you didn't have something else planned for us over the holiday weekend."

"Okay, no – I didn't plan ahead."

"Okay, well I'm heading out Thursday and I'll be back on Monday, can I see you when I get back?"

"Sure."

"And feel free to call me if you want to, anytime. I mean anytime. Don't worry about the hour."

I laughed, "I will do that."

He laughed, "Please do."

"You do the same."

"I don't want to interrupt your family weekend or any other plans you might have."

Ooo-kay. "I don't have any other plans until you get back. I'll be chilling with fam."

"Well alright then. Talk to you later." He hung up.

Two minutes later he called back, "In case I'm not being clear – I'm not seeing anyone else. Not planning on it, okay?"

I laughed again, "I got it and ditto."

"You know I think we're on the same page but I had to assume you heard what I was saying. Unfortunately I've been in a relationship where I swore I said the sky is blue and the person heard me say grey."

"And I've been in relationship where I swore I heard grey and they thought they said blue."

"So it's a blue sky."

"Clear and blue."

He quoted a movie we watched the other night (I can't remember what it was). "Good talk."

"Good talk."

After I hung up, I got to thinking. What a difference phrasing makes. The difference between "Boys' weekend, see you when I get back" and what I heard was huge. The difference between me saying "Why do you think I have other plans?" and what I said was huge. And I wondered if this isn't what mature relationships are supposed to be about. Not just communicating but finding the most effective way to communicate to get a point across. It was a light bulb moment. Everyone always says "Communication is the key" but perhaps we'd be better served saying "Effective communication is the key." Otherwise we're just talking and nothing is being said.

Just my random thoughts, what say you? Have you had instances where you thought you got your point across only to find that the main idea was completely missed? Is effective communication the single most important key to successful relationships? Business, personal, familial? The floor is yours.