I’ve thought a lot about the word “quality” in recent months: Quality in tools and lumber. Quality in friendships and love and following through. Quality in communication. Trying to remain a quality human being after the important qualities that comprise a quality human being have been stripped away by the state. What exactly is quality thought? It seems a disappearing exercise in American life. A while back I experienced two exchanges with people that were not quality. One was immature. The other utterly one-sided. I must share some responsibility for these poor-quality conversations. I keep trying to improve the quality of my communication in conversation, but often the means of contemporary communication undermine that ability. How long has it been for many people to have a simple face-face communication without agenda. Just listen and see where it goes. Perhaps the listening will lead to a change of mind. Being overasssured in conversation does not lead to quality communication. It leads to not listening. So why even bother with communication? Why is it in some conversations a person has to jump right to an opinion? Like when a writer pitches an idea for a character in a story to someone who doesn’t write and that person interrupts and tells the writer who and what the character should be, right down to the gender and race. Why not let the writer fully describe his idea and ask questions? Getting someone to answer questions often ends up improving quality communication. It doesn’t have to be an interrogation. There is a difference.
My favorite non-starter for quality communication: “Well, you didn’t reach out to me so that makes it justified that I didn’t reach out to you.”
I believe the pace of our modern living is also eroding quality communication. So many people seem absent of any basic presence. I am lucky that a month or so ago I met someone who excels in quality communication: returning calls, writing letters, listening, asking questions, a text of kind thought or reflection every now and then. In combination, this person’s ability to exercise quality communication has substantially improved my life. I can only hope I am doing the same for her. I’m still learning but feel I am getting better.