Get To the Point! The Challenge of Communicating With Patience

I have the patience of Job, while my husband…let’s just say he has the patience of a lit stick of dynamite. That quality is not to be shunned, though. He has huge “right now” faith, and no problem exercising it. Where I labor long, he gets the job done. Where he rushes, I plan. It’s a balance. We are growing with one another each day and learning each other in the process. One place where our varying degrees of long-suffering shows up is in the way we communicate.

Casper often uses the phrase “Show me the baby” in describing his communication preferences. He describes this as getting to the point, with no pregnancy, labor, and delivery. I have an appreciation for this, as time is my treasured possession. However, I also operate a bit differently. Everything I do and the operation of most of my gifts requires exposition and exploration. It informs my compassion, how I approach learning, etc.

Both ways of thinking have their place, but I have recently come to a deeper revelation about why skipping the details impedes our communication in some instances.

The Point of It All

Where Point B is “the point,” and Point A is the detail:

The “show me the baby” ideology requires an implicit assumption that what comes before Point B is irrelevant. Now, if you’re a mind-reader, just ignore this. If you’re not, like the rest of us, stay tuned. If a person starts talking, and you immediately wish they would get to the point, you are really discounting a word you’ve never heard – a thought that hasn’t even left the person’s mouth yet.

The “knowing” is at Point B; the “understanding” is in what comes before it. Have you ever gone to fix something and realized you didn’t have the right tools? Or been misdiagnosed by a doctor who failed to ask enough of the right questions or let you describe the entirety of your symptoms? When you don’t have enough of the backstory, you can only respond to what you see. Game of Thrones is a bad example (that ending was terrible!), but the series finale means absolutely nothing if you haven’t seen the 75 or so episodes before it. The same is often true of dealing with human beings. Understanding what came before the matter at hand can give us clues as to how to approach it and what the person really needs.

We ultimately forsake deeper connections and hidden gems found in the journey. How much more do you learn about a person when you ride together versus when you meet them somewhere? (Full disclosure: I have no intention of applying this literally, LOL, but I digress.) Journeys offer more opportunities to build than flying to the destination. The close quarters of a conversation are the perfect grounds for growth together. But let’s be honest. This requires a genuine desire to build relationships and a willingness to be inconvenienced that most people just do not have.

If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to far, go together.

African Proverb

Let’s face it: sometimes we just don’t have time to converse with one another all day. Those of us who tend to be more verbose must be sensitive to when the details are not necessary to accomplish the goal. The introvert in me admittedly cringes when I’m ready to go and someone has diarrhea of the mouth. However, we must acknowledge that the answers we seek and do not find often lie in the “labor and delivery” we don’t want to sit through. It’s a missed opportunity. Where possible, let’s slow down and listen to understand and speak to share.

Are you a “get to the point” person, or a “give me the details” person? Why? Tell us below!