Good and bad communication

I’m sure I will regret sharing this story, but blogging is about authenticity, and authenticity is often about telling real, dumb stories. When I was in middle school, I have a distinct memory of liking a girl, a lot. During this process of this crush, or dating, or “going out,” or whatever we called it at the time I had a sleepover party with some buddies. And surprise, our topic of conversation was this girl. Somewhere within the immense wisdom being shared in that room, someone suggested that I should call and serenade this young lady to display my love for her. Great idea, right? But what song to sing? Spin Doctors’ Two Princes didn’t seem like a great option, so we settled on Brian Adams’ song I do it for you. Great choice, right? Here are some of the key lyrics for those that might not appreciate this song off hand:

Oh your can’t tell me it’s not worth tryin’ for

I can’t help it there’s nothin’ I want more

Yeah, I would fight for you,

I lie for you

Walk the wire for you, yeah, I’d die for you

You know it’s true

Everything I do,


I do it for you

For anyone unsure at this point, a great sentiment for a middle school boy, but a total lie. I doubt I would have died for that girl; I might have walked a wire though, that sounds kinda fun! Well, I called the girl, sang the song (it was beautiful by the way), and the stunned silence on the other end of the line confirmed it was the right move. I can’t quite recall what happened next, but I can tell you that romance didn’t last long, and that’s probably a good thing.

I sang to this unsuspecting young lady to communicate my love to her. And, I’m pretty sure that communication failed miserably. I wanted to communicate love, but I’m pretty sure what she took away from that encounter was a feeling of awkward obsession. I wanted to communicate passion. I’m pretty sure she got weirdness. I wanted to communicate that I was devoted to her. I think she realized I was devoted to an idea, and to impressing my friends.

My communication failed because it was bad communication. I can look back on my middle school self now and laugh at that experience, but I have to wonder, how am I communicating badly today that my sixty-year-old self will look back on with regret?

I want to be more thoughtful in my communication, more intensional and more clear. I want to be sure that I communicate the important things to the important people around me, not with silly songs (sorry Brian Adams) but with words and actions linked together by purpose.

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