Something I notice is how people transmit information, thinking they’re effective and diplomatic, when in fact the mode of delivery muddles the message sending all parties into assumption land. This week I address one of the most basic elements of human life: communication. Because the reality is, practically all conflict arises in relationship, and relationship is created in communication.
Let me break it down: there are only 4 ways we communicate.
At any point in time we’re delivering either a:
Pretty straightforward when you think about it, but many times people unknowingly use one mode when they’re intending another. This is grounds for conflict. Why? We’re left having to interpret the message, inevitably leading to crossfire.
“I see there are dishes in the sink.”
Translation: “Can you please take care of your dishes in the sink?”
“You’re always out with the girls.”
Translation: “Can you spend the evening with me?”
“This is the 6th time you’ve called me today, mom.”
Translation: “Please limit your calls to once a day while I’m working.”
“Are you sure you want to do that?”
Translation: “You’ve asked for my input – I think this is not in your best interest.”
Classic passive-aggressive behavior is confusing statements for questions and requests. Many times we’re disappointed and confused in relationships because we’re not entirely direct in what we transmit. Unintentionally, we do this to either manipulate an outcome or protect someone from their own feelings (we’re assuming they will have).
There is nothing either wrong or right about the way we communicate, but observing what type you choose for the message you intend can make a big difference in ensuring effective communication.
Next time you’re left stumped by a conversation gone haywire, check and see if what you’re needing to make is a request instead of a statement, a question instead of a demand, or a statement instead of a question. Steer clear of silent expectations and forge ahead clear, deliberate, and on purpose.
Amy Eliza Wong is a life coach, writer, and speaker in the Sacramento, CA area committed to helping people figure out what makes them tick so they can finally live with joy and real purpose. Learn more about working with her.