You know what they say about when you assume something, right? You make an ass of you and me. You have no way of knowing what people know or don’t know, and vice versa. But someone makes an assumption, and before you know it, a perfectly reasonable question or conversation turns into a minefield of outrage and misunderstanding.
On the surface this one is a no-brainer: just stop assuming. Easier said than done, of course. Are you tired, hungry, rushed or already annoyed about something? You bring all that to the table. And so does the other person, whether it’s your spouse, child or co-worker.
Go back to basics to avoid communication mayhem. Here are my top three strategies:
#1 – Take five. If you feel an outburst coming on, excuse yourself and take a few minutes to think about what you really want to say, or ask.
#2 – Empathize. Try to imagine why this is so important to the other person.
#3 – Stop talking and start listening! You can’t listen with your mouth going. Ask for information and clarification before you react and respond.
The most common reason for relationship difficulties is in how people speak and listen to each other. Get these basic skills down, and watch everything change.
Fern Weis is a Parent Coach and Family Recovery Life Coach. She works with parents of teens and young adults who are going through difficult situations, from the homework wars to addiction recovery, and all points in between. Fern helps parents release guilt, end enabling, and confidently prepare their children to thrive and be successful through life's challenges. FernWeis.com | 201-747-9642