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Curiosity Killed The Cat? No, It Can Save Your Relationship

Curiosity Killed The Cat? No, It Can Save Your Relationship

What makes a great relationship? Having things in common? Having the same goals and aspirations? The ability to keep a sense of humour in adverse times? Many things make up a well-oiled relationship but let’s get curious for a minute.

Curiosity is something we don’t often put down as a positive trait when it comes to relationships – after all, it killed the cat which indicates that sticking your nose in where it shouldn’t be will only cause a nasty shock. It’s often believed that ignorance is bliss and what you don’t know won’t hurt you, but when it comes to relationships, is this hindering your ability to bond and truly get to know each other?

Curiosity is a major part of communication between a couple and without it, it can cause us to jump to conclusions, judge the other person, and make assumptions. In essence, without curiosity we are stopping ourselves from seeing the whole picture and this causes unneeded animosity.

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Why Curiosity Paves The Way For A Great Relationship

Curiosity is how we learn. It’s how we gain knowledge of the world and the people around us – it’s how we form good relationships with others. It also brings a sense of being humble by asking the questions and listening to what a person’s response is. All this helps us to form and build close friendships and romantic relationships. Continuing curiosity is important to keep up that special bond.

1. Curiosity Increases Compatibility

Having a sense of curiosity in a relationship increases compatibility because, not only does it enhance your own self-understanding, but it also creates a mutual understanding with the other person. In other words, you are both on the same page which allows forward moving growth and open communication as well as creating intimacy between you.

If you use curiosity in the right way, then situations when, for example, your partner comes home late, won’t end in accusations and assumptions being made about why they’re late. It will create an understanding between you both that carries on into all situations therefore creating a deeper compatibility in your thinking and positive reactions.

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2. Curiosity Opens Up Your Relationship To New Avenues

Actively being curious of each other and the world around you will stop the relationship from entering into a boring dead end routine. If you are both willing to explore more of the world and the people in it, you are both more likely to explore possibilities with your relationship. Curiosity keeps your relationship exciting, fresh and open to new understandings of yourself and the other person. This gives you the chance for you to evolve together.

3. Curiosity Helps With Problem-Solving

It’s easy to make assumptions about someone or a situation and when problems arise, it’s these assumptions that can stop you from being able to problem-solve effectively. Being curious opens up a way of brain-storming and allows you to solve problems together even without realizing it. By adopting a curious nature, you open up a dialogue between you and you’re more likely to navigate away from conflict as well as strengthening your connection.

Preventing misunderstandings, arguments and resentments can all be solved by bringing that curious aspect into your relationship.

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How To Create Curiosity In Your Relationships

Curiosity is all about asking questions but make sure they are open-ended – let the other person talk, listen intently and ask other questions. Doing this will encourage the other person to do the same for you.

The key is to keep your ego in check when you ask them and by that, I mean be genuine and sincere and not asking questions in a demanding or interrogating way. An example of this would be asking how your partner is feeling even if you have an idea of what the answer may be – let them talk and listen. Your aim is to learn and grow from the information you share in a loving way.

By adopting curiosity as part of your communication, you eliminate the assumptions, the judgements we can tend to cultivate about others’ habits and behaviours, misreading situations, misunderstandings, and ultimately reduce unnecessary conflict. It’s about letting go of your ideals and being willing to open up your mindset to a different perspective – one where you don’t know everything about someone but the want to find out is ever-lingering and present.

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We are constantly growing and developing as individuals, so it’s important to keep up with each other. What may be right or wrong for you, may not be the same for someone else and it’s important to always keep this in mind. Believing the person you started a relationship with years ago still has the same feelings, thoughts and ideas is a major misconception and can cause major contention. Curiosity should always be a major factor in friendships and relationships and should be used to find out how your loved ones are changing and developing as individuals.

Curiosity may have killed the cat, but it’s time to treat curiosity as a positive way of living rather than a guarded, cautious one.

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Jenny Marchal

Freelance Writer

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Last Updated on May 21, 2019

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

For all our social media bravado, we live in a society where communication is seen less as an art, and more as a perfunctory exercise. We spend so much time with people, yet we struggle with how to meaningfully communicate.

If you believe you have mastered effective communication, scan the list below and see whether you can see yourself in any of the examples:

Example 1

You are uncomfortable with a person’s actions or comments, and rather than telling the individual immediately, you sidestep the issue and attempt to move on as though the offending behavior or comment never happened.

You move on with the relationship and develop a pattern of not addressing challenging situations. Before long, the person with whom you are in relationship will say or do something that pushes you over the top and predictably, you explode or withdraw completely from the relationship.

In this example, hard-to-speak truths become never- expressed truths that turn into resentment and anger.

Example 2

You communicate from the head and without emotion. While what you communicate makes perfect sense to you, it comes across as cold because it lacks emotion.

People do not understand what motivates you to say what you say, and without sharing your feelings and emotions, others experience you as rude, cold or aggressive.

You will know this is a problem if people shy away from you, ignore your contributions in meetings or tell you your words hurt. You can also know you struggle in this area if you find yourself constantly apologizing for things you have said.

Example 3

You have an issue with one person, but you communicate your problem to an entirely different person.

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The person in whom you confide lacks the authority to resolve the matter troubling you, and while you have vented and expressed frustration, the underlying challenge is unresolved.

Example 4

You grew up in a family with destructive communication habits and those habits play out in your current relationships.

Because you have never stopped to ask why you communicate the way you do and whether your communication style still works, you may lack understanding of how your words impact others and how to implement positive change.

If you find yourself in any of the situations described above, this article is for you.

Communication can build or decimate worlds and it is important we get it right. Regardless of your professional aspirations or personal goals, you can improve your communication skills if you:

  • Understand your own communication style
  • Tailor your style depending on the needs of the audience
  • Communicate with precision and care
  • Be mindful of your delivery, timing and messenger

1. Understand Your Communication Style

To communicate effectively, you must understand the communication legacy passed down from our parents, grandparents or caregivers. Each of us grew up with spoken and unspoken rules about communication.

In some families, direct communication is practiced and honored. In other families, family members are encouraged to shy away from difficult conversations. Some families appreciate open and frank dialogue and others do not. Other families practice silence about substantive matters, that is, they seldom or rarely broach difficult conversations at all.

Before you can appreciate the nuance required in communication, it helps to know the familial patterns you grew up with.

2. Learn Others Communication Styles

Communicating effectively requires you to take a step back, assess the intended recipient of your communication and think through how the individual prefers to be communicated with. Once you know this, you can tailor your message in a way that increases the likelihood of being heard. This also prevents you from assuming the way you communicate with one group is appropriate or right for all groups or people.

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If you are unsure how to determine the styles of the groups or persons with whom you are interacting, you can always ask them:

“How do you prefer to receive information?”

This approach requires listening, both to what the individuals say as well as what is unspoken. Virgin Group CEO Richard Branson noted that the best communicators are also great listeners.

To communicate effectively from relationship to relationship and situation to situation, you must understand the communication needs of others.

3. Exercise Precision and Care

A recent engagement underscored for me the importance of exercising care when communicating.

On a recent trip to Ohio, I decided to meet up with an old friend to go for a walk. As we strolled through the soccer park, my friend gently announced that he had something to talk about, he was upset with me. His introduction to the problem allowed me to mentally shift gears and prepare for the conversation.

Shortly after introducing the shift in conversation, my friend asked me why I didn’t invite him to the launch party for my business. He lives in Ohio and I live in the D.C. area.

I explained that the event snuck up on me, and I only started planning the invite list three weeks before the event. Due to the last-minute nature of the gathering, I opted to invite people in the DMV area versus my friends from outside the area – I didn’t want to be disrespectful by asking them to travel on such short notice.

I also noted that I didn’t want to be disappointed if he and others declined to come to the event. So I played it safe in terms of inviting people who were local.

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In the moment, I felt the conversation went very well. I also checked in with my friend a few days after our walk, affirmed my appreciation for his willingness to communicate his upset and our ability to work through it.

The way this conversation unfolded exemplified effective communication. My friend approached me with grace and vulnerability. He approached me with a level of curiosity that didn’t put me on my heels — I was able to really listen to what he was saying, apologize for how my decision impacted him and vow that going forward, I would always ask rather than making decisions for him and others.

Our relationship is intact, and I now have information that will help me become a better friend to him and others.

4. Be Mindful of Delivery, Timing and Messenger

Communicating effectively also requires thinking through the delivery of the message one intends to communicate as well as the appropriate time for the discussion.

In an Entrepreneur.com column, VIP Contributor Deep Patel, noted that persons interested in communicating well need to master the art of timing. Patel noted,[1]

“Great comedians, like all great communicators, are able to feel out their audience to determine when to move on to a new topic or when to reiterate an idea.”

Communicating effectively also requires thoughtfulness about the messenger. A person prone to dramatic, angry outbursts should never be called upon to deliver constructive feedback, especially to people whom they do not know. The immediate aftermath of a mass shooting is not the ideal time to talk about the importance of the Second Amendment rights.

Like everyone else, I must work to ensure my communication is layered with precision and care.

It requires precision because words must be carefully tailored to the person with whom you are speaking.

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It requires intentionality because before one communicates, one should think about the audience and what the audience needs in order to hear your message the way you intended it to be communicated.

It requires active listening which is about hearing verbal and nonverbal messages.

Even though we may be right in what we say, how we say it could derail the impact of the message and the other parties’ ability to hear the message.

Communicating with care is also about saying things that the people in our life need to hear and doing so with love.

The Bottom Line

When I left the meeting with my dear friend, I wondered if I was replicating or modeling this level of openness and transparency in the rest of my relationships.

I was intrigued and appreciative. He’d clearly thought about what he wanted to say to me, picked the appropriate time to share his feedback and then delivered it with care. He hit the ball out of the park and I’m hopeful we all do the same.

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Featured photo credit: Kenan Buhic via unsplash.com

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