The very first thing to do is to take an honest look at yourself and make sure that you are open to learning. If you find that you are angry, you are blaming, you’re defensive, stressed or closed, or that you have an agenda, you will need to calm down and shift your intent from controlling to learning, or you may decide that this is not a good time for you to talk. Say something like, “I’m feeling too frustrated right now to talk about this. How about we try again in half an hour?” Now disengage, focus on doing some inner work to get open and caring and to go back and try again.
As you check in and are open, the next thing to do might seem simple, however, it can be incredibly challenging for most of us. You need to fully accept (100%) that if you are stuck in communicating, the other person is not open and that there is nothing you can do about it. We have no control over whether another person chooses to be open, closed, caring, uncaring, controlling or accepting.
Having accepted (100%) your lack of control over the other person’s intention, and 100% accepted that you cannot resolve anything when one person is closed, you’ve done all that you can control to encourage communication and, can now take loving action on your own behalf.
You now take a healthy action and say something like, “We seem to be stuck in our communication right now. Let’s try it again in half an hour.” Take note that you are not accusing the other person of being closed, which would be a form of control. You are merely stating that you are stuck.
The challenge now is to keep an open heart so that when the other person is open, you too are also open. This means that you walk away with love rather than anger.
However, if the other person never opens up, you need to accept that there is no way of resolving anything with that person. There’s an old proverb which states: you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink. The definition of this old proverb is: you can give someone an opportunity but you can’t force that person to take that opportunity.
You’ve made a noble effort to resolve a communication issue that is still unresolved. You now need to be open to learning how to take care of yourself in the face of that truth.
Are you get stuck with someone and can’t communicate? What do you usually do?
- Shout angrily to intimidate the other person into hearing you and/or agreeing with you?
- Walk away or hang up the phone?
- Talk louder and faster trying harder to get your point across?
- Cry in frustration?
- Give in and just listen quietly to the other person?
- Withdraw your love in the hope of punishing the other person into hearing you?
- Reach for a drink or food to avoid your feelings?
What happens with you emotionally with your relationship when you do any of these things?
What happens is that you and the other person become distant for a while until things calm down, but it may be some time before you and that other person (e.g. a friend, child, parent, co-worker, partner) feel comfortable talking with each other or being around each other again.
Is there a better way to approach the situation when you can’t communicate?
When two or more people are open to learning about themselves and each other good communication and conflict resolution flow naturally. This means that it is more important to you to learn from the situation than it is to be right.
It is impossible to communicate effectively when one person is not open to learning. What eventually happens is that the person that keeps on trying and trying becomes more and more frustrated since there is no way the person that is not open to learning will ever hear or understand why he/she is closed to learning.