Taken from the book Your Family God’s Way: Developing and Sustaining Relationships in the Home by Wayne A. Mack
This is the level of clichés and impersonal, automatic statements. Level 1 communication consists of conversation starters. “Good morning.” “Hello, how are you?” This type of communication is a smooth, pleasant, cheerful, efficient, and non-involvement method of dealing with people and may be ignored or received by the person you are communicating with. We all participate in Level 1 communication.
This is the level of reporting facts or information. At Level 2 communication, “a person shares little of himself; he is merely functioning as an objective reporter.” It is an efficient, non-involvement method of transmitting information to people. When a husband tells his wife what happened at work that day and she tells him what she did at home, they are functioning at Level 2. “Relationships will remain superficial if conversation goes no deeper than this.” We all participate in Level 2 communication.
This is the level of “imparting ideas, evaluations, or judgments, or inviting another person’s analysis of certain facts or events.” Conversations at Level 3 usually begin with: “In my opinion…,” “I think that…,” “In my judgment…,” “What do you think about…” Level 3 communication “promotes the development of intimate, satisfying relationships.” Some people seldom enter into Level 3 communication “because they want to protect themselves or others from pain, or because they are intimidated by disagreement of any kind. As long as they keep their opinions to themselves, no one can say: ‘That’s ridiculous! I don’t see why in the world you could ever think that way.’ And as long as they don’t ask for someone else’s evaluation or ideas, they will not receive advice that they don’t want to hear. To these people, it seems much better to keep their opinions and ideas to themselves. That way, they don’t run the risk of offending others or being rejected.”
This is the level of “appropriately acknowledging and expressing our real feelings.” Level 4 communication is the “deepest dimension of truthful communication.” We “acknowledge what we are feeling – both the positive and the negative, the pleasant and the not-so-pleasant – to ourselves, to God, and to each other.” We appropriately express “a wide range of feelings, including compassion, joy, sorrow, concern, and anger.” “Healthy, mature individuals are in touch with their emotions and are not ashamed to admit them to God and others. Healthy, mature individuals use their emotions not as weapons to inflict wounds on others, but constructively. And they encourage us to do the same.” Level 4 communication is a requirement for friendship and romantic love. Many people are incapable of, or refuse to enter into, Level 4 communication.