My father, Scott Felten, leads a marriage group with his wife, Barb, at Veritas Church. He was so kind as to share with us some knowledge about the five levels of communication.
Third Level of Communication
Opinions- At this level we reach the real potential of conflict in our relationships. Here is where we express our opinions, our thoughts on the subject. We take in facts, we process them in our brains to formulate our own expressions on the subject. Here is where we can reach a wall because while clichés are dismissed and the facts are outside the relationship, Opinions are within the relationship.
Examples: I like the Republican Party better.
I don’t like art.
I think the “Twilight” movies were great.
Ford trucks are the best.
My style of parenting is better than yours.
You need to talk to me more.
We should spend our money this way.
Each of these puts the relationship at risk – because it may or may not line up with the other persons opinions.
However, really it is not that opinions in and of itself are risky – it is how both sides respond to those opinions. If the conflict is done right, then we can get to the next level of communication and this is a good thing. If the conflict is done wrong, then we will likely retreat to talking about facts or clichés. And this leads both sides to isolation. And this is the risk to relationships.
The bottom line is that opinions are good. We should all have them. If our relationships are good, we can process the conflict well and get in deeper communication with the other person. Next time you have conflict, remember that the rewards of doing it the right way will grow your relationship!