I have a degree in communication from Spring Arbor University. I know that many people pursue higher education more for the opportunities it can provide than for the actual learning, but I am a weirdo. I love to learn, and when I chose to pursue an education in communication it was because the whole topic fascinates me. There really isn't an area of life in which communication does not play a part. I learned many interesting things in my communications program. One of the lessons that has stuck with me throughout the years, is something we learned in a class that mainly discussed communication in relationships.
The concept that resonated with me is called "nexting". Basically, the concept of nexting is a reminder that there is nearly always a next time for every communication situation. No matter how badly a communication situation went, I can always take the time to think about it and make plans for how I can do it better the next time. I have used nexting to fix a lot of difficult relationships in my life.
There are some people I just seem to conflict with. They rub me the wrong way, or I rub them the wrong way, and things just deteriorate when we interact. What I have learned, is that when I take time to think about a particularly difficult encounter when communication fell apart, I can often see how I contributed to the difficulties. I am ALWAYS able to improve my relationships by "nexting" - and making a plan for how I will interact the next time I meet that individual.
For example, I decide I won't let someone's bluntness, or apparent rudeness derail me from the topic we are trying to discuss. Or maybe he/she is a person who always brings up the past, and I allow myself to be dragged into old arguments or hurts. Or maybe he/she seems really cold and aloof, and my instinct is to respond equally cold and aloof. Those are all situations I have been in, and it helps when I decide that next time I will respond, react, or reply differently.
It really does work. I have become friends with one particular individual who always used to make me feel crazy. I had to be willing to assess myself, and put the time into making the situation better, but now we are friends. I suggest we all start nexting. There is almost always a next time, and we have the power to change it.