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Say What? [Mini Relationship Tip]

Remember that game as a kid, “Telephone?”

You sit in a circle, and one person whispers a word or phrase into the ear of the person next to them.  Then each person in turn whispers it to the next. Then last person says out loud what beat-up, garbled version the word or phrase has become.

Your communication ever feel like an adult’s version of that kid’s game –  but not that funny?

Well, there’s what you heard, and then there’s what they said.

What you hear is often a far cry from than what person intended.  Since language is an approximation, we all interpret the same words in often vastly different ways. Stopping to clarify in this way can save you so much of the pain that comes from the build-up of repeated misunderstanding.

So, when that Someone says what’s on their mind, before you agree, disagree, judge, retort or respond, repeat it back, as you heard it.

Something like, “If I got that right (repeat back what you heard)” or “What I heard was (repeat back what you heard). Did I get that right?”

You may even need to check, “Let me see if I got all of that?” or “Is there any more you want to say about that?”

And (for extra bonus points!), validate their experience. Something like, “You make sense because….”  “I can see how you could see it that way.” “I can see what you are saying …” or “I imagine that you could also be feeling…”

(You’re not saying that you feel the way they do, you are simply saying you understand what they are feeling.)

This might feel counter intuitive, but try it out. It may just steer you clear of a pile of painful misunderstanding.

So, this week, Say What?

Say what you heard, and see if it’s actually what they said.

And don’t forget to leave your comment (look for the “Comments” link at the top of the page)!

Enjoy, LiYana

PS: How do I love your comments? Let me count the ways. Your comments row my boat gently down a stream. Your comments give peace a chance. Well, at the very least, your comments make my day, so go ahead!

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