I know I live in southern California, but Sonja hates feeling chilly so we have radiant heat going in the house. The problem with the radiant heat in our place is that it cranks up really high and starts cooking us like we’re living in a sauna.

So the guy who fixes the heat came by the other day and finally looked at the thermostat. He said that the problem is that the thermostat is not communicating with the heat, i.e., that there is a communication breakdown between the two.

It’s interesting. If you really look at the way life is, it is a series of communication breakdowns.

Here you are just standing there wanting to approach a woman. Even though you do everything right — you observe, and you walk over and say something great — she may not respond to you the way that you imagine.

She doesn’t respond the way you want her to respond, so there then is a communication breakdown and you don’t know what to do next. Your brain is like a computer, and it starts firing off all sorts of things, but really it’s just a communication breakdown.

Communication breakdowns happen between people and things every single day. It could happen during the first approach, it could happen between two people in a relationship, and it could even happen with the water heater not communicating with the thermostat.

When it comes to communicating with people, though, you need to listen in order to avoid communication breakdowns. You need to listen to everything going on around you.

If it’s your first approach, you need to listen to every verbal clue that’s around you. You need to be observant, open, and talk to her based on something that’s going on around you. Then you need to listen very carefully to what she says so that you can react.

If you are not truly listening, there will be a communication breakdown and you won’t know what to say. It also means that you are approaching that woman just hoping that some words will come out of your mouth to say to her.

When you do this, you are no different than the thermostat that is not communicating with the radiant heat. You’re no different than when you’re on a Mac and that wheel of death spins because the Mac is not communicating with whatever program it’s trying to open.

The key to avoiding communication breakdowns in life is to listen — every time you talk to someone. I don’t care if it’s on your first approach or if you’re in a relationship.

Here’s a great exercise for all you to do. Take a look at somebody with whom you are in conflict. It can be anyone from a relationship partner to a co-worker to a family member.

The next time you speak with that person on the phone, record the conversation and listen to it after the call is finished. Then you need to learn what your part is in the communication breakdown that is taking place between you.

You can also do this with emails between you. Read an email exchange in which there is conflict between you and someone else and find where the communication breakdown occurred.

Who is to blame? It’s always right back at you.

This is going to really help you communicate better all the way from the first approach to long-term relationships. Life is just a series of communications, and without listening you are going to have a constant series of communication breakdowns.