Communication, baby

Its funny.

You major in a degree called communication, but in reality, you know nothing.

You take intercultural communication, mass communication, communication theory…

It all seemed pretty silly at the time. One professor talking about “saving face” and another about peeling the layers of someone’s onion.

Most people major in communication because they couldn’t think of anything better.

Not me.

I was one of the few lucky ones who actually knew what they were doing in college almost right off the bat. (After I figured out I actually wanted to go to college, anyway.)

That was journalism.

That magical one word: journalism.

The art and science of writing, reporting and communicating all the crap that happens in the world so other people can learn about the day’s or moment’s events and join the global conversation.

But I don’t need a degree to tell me I don’t know jack when I hit the real world.

All one needs is a romantic relationship; a significant other; a boyfriend, girlfriend, husband or wife.

So much of a relationship relies on keeping the conversation going. Just like a reporter converses with a reader through his/her words, a boyfriend must communicate to his girlfriend with a different set of words — the spoken kind.

Well, more often anyway.

I can write more eloquently than I can talk.

Putting my fingers on the keyboard gets my brain churning in a way that allows me to gather my thoughts and get them “on paper” in a comprehensible way.

But the spoken dialogue can be the biggest challenge.

“That’s not what I meant!”

“I didn’t say that!”

“You take that back!”

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

Its a never-ending series of statements that reflect two people trying to communicate to each other. To say something that the other understands, to phrase something lightly or delicately, bluntly or plainly. The real trick is to say what you mean without getting under the other’s skin.

I’ve learned more about communication in the past three years with my girlfriend than I could in any classroom.

Same could be said for everything — most true trades are learned outside the classroom. But as someone who studies language and follows all the newfangled ways we humans communicate, I’m always surprised by how much I learn.

Always trying to meet in the middle, find a place where two people can agree is a truly challenging thing.

Especially when the conversation between a serious twentysomething couple spirals into the taboo: marriage, kids, moving in together, etc.

How do two people from totally different backgrounds with similar values but opposite timelines maintain?

Through one way and one way only: communication.

Say what you mean and mean what you say. Apologize when you’re wrong or when you said something mean. Stand up for what you believe in, but always be willing to compromise. Because, without that, there’s nothing.

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