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The Gaps In My Conversation


A chasm exists between us and others. It’s called communication. We sit down for coffee or a meal and talk we try to find places to relate, to connect in a way that feels real. As we connect, it encourages us; the more we feel heard and understood or feel we can hear and understand. Did I really hear them? Did they really hear me? Sometimes that gap widens to a point we feel it. Maybe a circumstance like a new job, or a shift in values or a fresh perception. The gap could have already existed, and we didn’t know it until we dug deeper. 

The temptation to judge people on the far side of my chasm is immense. I recommend my book on Loving Enemies to help you develop healthy foundations for navigating the gullies and chasms that divide us. To build on kindness when the gaps between myself and others feels too wide. 

Working in constant cross-cultural contexts like I do, I always have at least one hand tied behind my back when I step into the ring for a bought of tough communications. It’s difficult to accept that we are all disabled at a certain level, and semideaf to others communications signals. Recognizing the deficit is better than keeping it like a pet skeleton in the closet. Loving those different from us should be a lifestyle we are unashamed of be it workplace, school, home or casual friendships. The more you understand others, the better you will be understood.

Practical steps: 

  1. Recognize you only see and hear in part. You are never the master communicator and always the master learner. 

  2. Pay attention to what others are saying. Pause your own ideas, maybe cross your fingers to avoid forgetting a good idea but stay focused on the other person in the conversation. 

  3. Enjoy people, discovering who they are and what makes them tick. People will be more patient with you misses when they know you’re enthused about who they are.