Friday, August 8, 2008
SAY WHAT YOU MEAN?.... Sounds easy, huh? Saying what you mean is more than choosing your words and stating them. Words, after all, have at least three meanings: what you mean, what the listener thinks you mean, and the dictionary definition(s). One way to be clearer about saying what you mean is to think about your message from your listener’s perspective. I remember at a work training being asked to 1)listen to what the other has to say. 2)repeat back exactly so they can tell you hear 2)state your case. I have seen this work in ANY relationship....friend, significant other, co-workers, famiily.
SO...how do you MEAN WHAT YOU SAY? I am sorry but this 'common sense' principal...ain't so common folks. In order to mean what you say, you have to be very firm and certain about what message you are trying to communicate. If your message sounds like your waffling about on a topic, and you’re not, you are unfairly misleading your listener. This is no time for passive aggressive communication, hinting about hoping someone will “get” what you really mean. (sadly, I have been guilty of this in the last few weeks and in journaling yesterday realized I gotta get better about this)
I have been tested on this specifically with a friendship.....I am afraid to say what I mean with this person because honestly, the friendship has changed and I think I can see where it is headed. When you pour yourself into something (the both of you) and you end up not really getting what expected in the end....well...to be point blank. IT SUCKS.
I learned a little lesson this past weekend about the differences in communication patterns between certain types of people/friends. My absolute best bet was to bite the bullet, let go of all those touchy-feely conversational props, and just be blunt....yet in the end, I could not. I actually watched myself having a conversation that is NOT the way I communicate AT ALL. I passive-voiced myself when in all truth, I was deeply hurt.
I’m not advocating being heartless about it. Which is tough because I communicate in the black and white for the most part. I am an all or nothing person except when I can sense the super-sensitivity and don't know how to communicate the pain in such a way that would put someone on the defensive.
It's tough. I am learning.