There’s a secret every missionary learns and mission prep just can’t teach it. It’s a super-awesome-secret that the best missionaries figure out pretty early on their missions, but most missionaries learn this secret through hard times, big trials, and rough patches. And I’m sure you’d prefer avoiding them. (You really would, I’ve been there).

Before I left on my mission I didn’t really get this. I thought I was a pro because I’d grown up with brothers and sisters and I was the oldest But until I’d lived with someone (and I don’t mean a one night sleepover with a few friends), I just didn’t get it.

So what is this one must-know secret every missionary should master before entering the mission field?

It’ actually really simple: companionship is all about communications, including missionary companions.

In this day of digital discussion, we’ve all found a way of communicating with people we’d rather not talk to face-to-face. We reply six hours later and give them the one-liner private message on Facebook, or in a text, or on iMessageor Viber.

But what do you do when this person is standing right in front of you? What happens when they do something you don’t agree with or like? What if they really irritate you? Like a companion who walks really slow, never lets you talk, makes you consistently late, or drinks that refreshing can of ice cold ginger ale you were saving in the back of the fridge as remedy for a bad day.

You can’t just ‘block’ them, hide them from your timeline, or ‘thumbs down’ their activities. It’s all face-to-face and sometimes that can be hard. Without talking, these negative feelings towards your companion can churn up and leave you without the spirit.

So, what’s the trick to better communication? Here are some tips to help you learn how to avoid some simple communication problems in the mission field, at home, or anywhere:

1. Seek to Understand

First try and understand that your companion might not have been brought up the same way as you and that they might do things differently to attain the same results. My mission president always told me. “Take the best and leave the rest”. Their culture, language and food maybe different than yours. It’s just different, not wrong. Appreciate their differences and try to learn from them.

2. Talk openly (Like the white handbook states)

Read full article at Mission Geek.