Talk May be Cheap, but Effective Communication is Invaluable
By Katrina L. Rogers
I’ll start this piece with some disclaimers. For starters, I am a communicator. I get paid to help people share their ideas in the most effective and best receptive ways possible. I get paid to write my thoughts. And I am the child of a mother who has a career based on the notion that talking things out improves one’s life.
With all of those things said, I am a full-fledged, unapologetic, unwavering, unyielding advocate of telling people how you feel. I don’t take for granted that this is probably difficult for a number of people, but I’m pretty sure the consequences of not sharing are more dire than what comes from sharing.
If you love someone, tell them. If you want someone in your life, tell them. If you want to explore the notion of forever with someone, tell them. If you want to be friends who cuddle naked in rainstorms with no commitment beyond that, tell them. If the thought of sharing space with the person who’s been asking you out for a decade repulses you, tell them…nicely.
I appreciate that speaking from the heart can be challenging, but I’m certain it’s a lot easier than hoping someone understands the things you aren’t willing to say. I’ve witnessed enough examples of people having different understandings of the same situation to know that not being upfront and clear about your desires, needs and expectations NEVER ends well. It, too, makes you an ass. As does labeling a situation based on what you want it to be rather than information attained via a series of conversations to establish parameters of said situation.
I also appreciate that people fear telling the truth because they don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings. While noble in intent, that approach is asinine at best. Seriously, if you think telling the truth is hurtful imagine the pain that comes from the confusion and disappointment when your person realizes they’ve been misled. Not telling the truth doesn’t make it go away, so are you really trying to spare feelings or just not deal with consequences?
Part of being a mature adult is dealing with what is, not what we want or hope or wish or pray for it to be…but what it is. It is never fair for you to be anything but authentic in your dealings with people. Plus, you very well may have complicated a situation that could have been as no-strings-attached as you wanted.
There’s also the good, old-fashioned fear of rejection. And while that probably sucks (I wouldn’t really know), the fear of “failure” should never deter you from trying. If it’s something you really want, give yourself the freedom to pursue with no hesitation and if things don’t work out exactly as you wanted, at least you know. You know the truth and you know that you can survive disappointment.
Whatever it is or whatever it isn’t, own and share your truths. And for the love of ALL things holy, NEVER have these conversations while you’ve been marinating and simmering in your feelings.
Katrina L. Rogers is the Principal of Kalaro Media, LLC where she focuses on political communications, public relations, branding and digital media. In a previous life, she worked as a columnist for a Gannett publication and a reporter for several other outlets, mostly writing about politics and pop culture. When the Spelman College graduate is not working – or thinking about working or talking about work – she’s somewhere taking full advantage of living in the greatest city in the world, New Orleans, talking smack to Atlanta Falcons’ fans and attempting to emulate the wholesome portions of Olivia Pope’s life.