“We’re talking at each other instead of to each other. Each person seems like they are waiting for their next chance to talk, when they should be listening.”
This is reminder of the notion of drive by debate, the Jackal versus Giraffe styles of communication mentioned by Marshall Rosenberg, of Nonviolent Communication, and the NVC movement. However, I wonder about what real difference there is between “at” and “to” instead of “with” which seems to have greater connotation of synergy and Giraffe style communication. Both “at” and “to” seem to indicate an implicit heirarchy between the participants, which may not be the intention. It’s tempting to view communication as linear, from the speaker to the listener, but it’s more accurate, I believe, to view communication as a feedback loop. Even in the instant, a person speaking is being provided with many clues they can use to change their delivery and content based on the response of the listener, not to mention the amphimorphic, cyclical and systemic nature of communication within a relationship over time.