Bypassing: according to Dr. Joseph DeVito, bypassing is a pattern of miscommunication that occurs when the speaker and listener miss each other with their meanings.
Bypassing is caused by many things.
Causes can be physical noise in the environment, the medium we choose to communicate with, the words we choose, varying cultures, psychological/attitudinal barriers and just variety in perception.
Let me explore all of those with examples.
Say you are at a race track and loud cars are whizzing by at different intervals and they are loud! You are trying to carry on a conversation but you are fighting this very distracting noise. Words get lost and you have to make guesses about what is being said.
You are talking on a cell phone and the connection is weak and you can’t get all the message due to the poor reception. That’s a problem as you miss parts of the message.
Words get used in conversation that can trigger responses in other people. My wife absolutely hates certain words and if people use them around her, she will get upset and stop listening or at least get distracted away from the message. Additional problems are caused by differences in vocabulary comprehension. Some people have a strong knowledge of a large number of words while others don’t have that. Words can be used which cause bypassing due to complex vocabulary vs. a weak vocabulary.
Cultural misunderstanding can be common in communication. My daughter-in-law is from Colombia, South America and some of the expressions Americans use can be very confusing to her. “You do the math,” “I want take out tonight” and “heads up” are expressions we use without problem but she is often confused by little short-hand talk like this.
Bypassing can also be caused by attitude or psychological barriers. Mood often interferes. Say I have a sleepless night and that is followed by a grouchy day. My wife asks me to do a job for her and I grumble. That is more of my mood talking than how I really feel about her.
Perceptual differences are the last problem because we all don’t see the world the same. Essentially, what is important for one person may not be important for another. Additionally, we literally don’t see the world the same. It could be our angle of sight, our comprehension of the situation or even our ability to see, hear or smell reality. Some of us have sensory deficits.
Dr. Chapman knows all these potential reasons for bypassing occur but his prime focus is bypassing caused by not understanding the love language needs of your partner.
He states, “If my primary love language is words of affirmation, then I will tend to use words to express my love for my wife. I am giving her what would make me extremely loved. But if that is not her primary love language, words will not mean what they would mean to me.”
What can we do to get beyond this problem?
What can we do to get our conversation bubbles to overlap?
Here are the short answers: find out what your love language preference is. If you have not taken the free profile, take it and learn the love language that you like. It is easy to do at http://www.5lovelanguages.com/profile/ .
Find out what your partner’s love language preference is. Can you get them to take the profile? That’s the quickest route. However, some people don’t want to participate for a multitude of reasons. If there is a problem with your partner not wanting to take the profile, you have to pay attention to how they express themselves. What do they complain about most often and what do they request most often? These simple questions can yield clues to their love language preference.
This week, we will explore what we can do to help make our circles overlap, rather than bypass.
When you stop and think about it, it’s a wonder anyone understands another.
Let’s not let different love languages be the problem for bypassing.