I've Been There

Communication tip #3

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Here’s a third example of when communication goes wrong between Georgia and her friend Ashley.

 

And then some tips for how they could have communicated better as friends.

 

WHAT HAPPENED

Georgia has a seven month old son Lachlan.

Recently her best friend Ashley found out that she’s pregnant. Georgia and Ashley are talking about it.

 

Georgia:So what did your parents say? 
Ashley:Mum just sort of sighed, asked if I was keeping it.
Georgia:

Oi do you remember when I told my parents and my Dad went round to Nathan’s and abused the crap out of him? 

Ashley:Yeah, Dad didn’t really say anything. Made me feel bad. 
Georgia:My Dad lost it! You should have seen what Lachlan did today. Crawled right under the coffee table for his book and wouldn’t come out. You’ve got to get some of these things for the corners of the furniture. Actually you can probably have a lot of my stuff. Only if you want it, some people like new stuff.
Ashley: So I’ve got to figure out how long I’ll stay at school for. I don’t know if it’s worth staying until I have the baby or just leave now… 
Georgia:  (interrupts) well it’s pretty hard to go back once you’ve got a kid. I should know. 

 

When something big is happening to us we sometimes just need someone to listen. This helps us feel supported and like we’re not alone.

 

Georgia wasn’t really paying attention to what Ashley was saying and seemed to be more interested in talking about herself than listening to what Ashley was going through.

 

Georgia could have done a few things differently to make sure Ashley felt supported

 

Georgia:   So what did your parents say?
Ashley:  Mum just sort of sighed, asked if I was keeping it.
Georgia: Did she say anything else?
Ashley:  Just like if I was planning on staying at home and everything. She wasn’t filthy mad, but it wasn’t like she was over the moon.
Georgia:What about your Dad?
Ashley:He didn’t really say anything at all. Made me feel like crap.
Georgia:How awkward. Are you alright? I’m here for you if you need me.
Ashley:I’ve got a lot of stuff to deal with. I’ve got to figure out how long I’ll stay at school for. I don’t know if it’s worth staying until I have the baby or just leave now. I don’t know.
Georgia: You’ll be right. I’m here if you need me.

 

Listening is pretty simple but we still have to make an effort to pay attention, not get distracted and not interrupt.

 

Good listening means asking questions, making sure you understand what the other person is saying and trying to imagine how they feel.