Communication for the common man

I can’t comment on all relationships everywhere, or all men and women everywhere, but I have observed this one phenomenon which I find hilarious and depressing. I can speak from experience.

The girl will be upset with the guy. But instead of bringing it up, she will keep quiet and wait for the guy to mention it. But the guy will miss it. It’s inevitable that he won’t pick up on the signals.

She will tell herself it’s because he’s oblivious or that he doesn’t care. This is not the case. In this instance she’s playing the game Chicken with the relationship.

If you want to co-ordinate, you need full knowledge with the other player. You cannot co-ordinate with someone who is intentionally sending mixed signals.

The whole point of being in a relationship is co-ordination. The whole point of co-ordination is that you have mutual knowledge. Mutual knowledge is where you know something, and the other person knows that you know it, and that you know- that they know you know. Etc. The earlier up in this chain that this knowledge breaks down, the less coordination there is and the more hilarity and depressing it is.

If you want something, with the consent and cooperation of your partner, you need to let them know. If something is bothering you, don’t be afraid to speak up. Don’t be surprised when it isn’t fixed. If you want to wait for someone else to fix your problems, don’t be upset when they take their time. If you want someone to understand you pain, don’t be afraid to show it. I guarantee that you will be misunderstood if you purposefully withhold information, and you will not get what you want.

Communication is a full contact sport. It’s a positive sum game. Both people can be better off if they want. Or one person can be better and one person can be worse. Or they can both be worse off. If you are purposefully not speaking up, you increase your chances of winning at the expense of another, and of losing at the gain of the person you are mad at.

My advice is to be vocal, early and often. It might be painful in the short term, but it’s worth it.