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Jeff Tannen

Jeff Tannen is a Psychotherapist and Clinical Hypnotherapist. For over two decades he has treated all issues of mental disorder. He is known for workshops and groups in the Los Angeles area. Jeff has written on men's topics for several local magazines and has been a guest on local radio.

Communication That Matters

So many times as a clinician I have heard ‘he or she doesn't really hear me or pay attention’

This can be true for both men and women. The problem is this has taken a period of time for things to get this way. If you think back to when you first got to know each other, didn’t you put your best foot forward and extend yourself because you wanted to make the best impression? You listened carefully so that when you responded you would say something really meaningful and pertinent to what you just heard. You spoke more from feelings.

Years later it seems like simple communication has broken down. One thing is certain; right off the bat: Two people that have fallen in love and grown together have done so because one of you is literal person and the other is inferential.

If you really think very hard about this you will more than likely see that your mate is a different person than you? In fact, he or she is your opposite. This is of course theory yet it makes all the difference in the world because one partner is career seeking and that these energies occupy a great deal of what is always on their mind either foremost or lurking behind close by. The opposite of a career seeking person is one who is defined by the majority of their energies being devoted to building and or maintaining a relationship or the relationship driven partner.

In theory, one of the partners in a primary relationship, usually the relationship oriented partner tends to extract the ‘literal; content of what they hear, while the other partner tends to hear the ‘inferential’ content of what is being said.

Literal is just that. When you say the sky is blue, that is a literal statement. If you are an inferential type you may be thinking yeah but what about the storm that is approaching, this is an example of an inference. It infers that it may be blue skies now but there is another message within the message.

This may seem clear enough, however, when you put two people together that hear one thing and the other hearing only other things there can be a problem.

For example If someone understands what is literal such as   I love you but his eyes are not looking directly into yours, it is no longer literal because there is another message—his eyes don’t show the love. Conversely if a person says I love you to the inferred then the inferred may be drawing another meaning —-I love you only when or if or I only love at certain times but not always.

This may seem complicated but it is not. Another example of literal and inferred may be if someone is told they are invited to a party. The literal person may think “great, when is it and start mentally picking out what they will wear. The inferred person may think “hmmm what if there’s no one there for me to relate to or what if I get tired and don’t feel like staying”

So much for the literal and inferred crash course. Next time I will talk about how to cut down on the common problems that arise when two people try to communicate and always feel worse for even trying to do so. Keep talking happy talk— till next time 
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